Super Bowl Predictions: Patriots vs. Falcons

Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu of the Atlanta Falcons answers questions in Houston during a press conference about the National Football League Super Bowl 51 on Monday Jan. 30. (David Phillip/AP Photo)

The Atlanta Falcons are looking for a Super Bowl win—something they have yet to do in their 20 years of existence. Quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will face off against quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston on Sunday Feb. 5 for a fierce game of football. 

Although most fans of the game are looking for a Falcons win, the chance that their wishes will be granted are not looking too hot. For starters, the Patriots have gone to six Super Bowl games—winning four of them—since the Falcons last went to the Super Bowl, losing to the Denver Broncos in 1999. The American Football Conference has been known for producing franchise teams that dominate the game for decades at a time, whereas the National Football Conference tends to produce teams that are good for only one season. Exhibit A: the Carolina Panthers. 

If the Atlanta Falcons are going to take their team to the promise land, there are many things they must do and execute flawlessly. First, Atlanta must score on every single drive. For those who don’t know, the Falcons defense is not particularly the best. In the regular season alone the Falcons ranked 25 in the league in terms of yards given up per game. In comparison, the Patriots defense checked in at No. 8. 

The postseason defensive stats also indicate an incredibly stronger New England defense, further supporting the fact that Atlanta cannot afford to make any empty drives. If there is anything that the Falcons lead the Patriots in, it’s offense. With Ryan and receivers like Julio Jones, Atlanta’s offense has been explosive not only in the regular season, but also in the postseason. This combination proved dominant when the Falcons annihilated the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship game.  

The great thing about postseason football is that anything is possible. Yes, the Patriots are favored and Brady is difficult to beat—but that is where football’s X factor is so important. If they knew who would win, they wouldn’t play the game, and Ryan is just the man to pull off the upset against one of football’s greatest rivalries. 

Based on their firing offenses and the ever so important “X” factor, I see a 37-33 Falcons victory.

Assistant sports editor Chris Coyne contributed reporting to this article.