GMIM #15: Super Bowl picks

Welcome to another installment of Good mourning, it’s Monday! This weekly blog looks to cover various topics in the news, along with personal stories or encounters from the past week at home and work to help you through your first day back at work (unless you don’t work). Hopefully my seven followers like this and share this to make it eight. Enjoy…

Super Bowl LI

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We sit six days away from what companies without rights call “The Big Game” and folks, it should be a doozie. As I’ve stated previously, I’m no football expert. I’m just your average shlub sitting in the office, writing for an audience of 16 people at best. So my opinion does not matter. Regardless, you’ll read it anyway and wonder, “geeze, who is Zach picking for the Super Bowl?” Well, allow me to dive right into the swimming pool of hot takes and uneducated predictions.

Matty Ice and the Atlanta Falcons

The last time I had this much interest in Matt Ryan was when Boston College was sitting at No. 2 in the college football standing back on November 3, 2007. A decade later, BC smells and the Falcons are in the Super Bowl.

Being a Patriots fans, I haven’t paid much attention to the Falcons (mainly because they play in the NFC and they usually aren’t on nationally). The offense speaks for itself, as they have effortlessly torn through numerous defenses this season. The Atlanta defense is what intrigues me. Vic Beasley lead the league in sacks with 15.5 and all I’ve heard is how it’s a young and promising group. They were able to hold A.A. Ron Rodgers scoreless for much of the NFC Championship game, so that says a lot in itself.

New England’s Brady Bunch

Are you enjoying the cheesy names? Me neither, but whatever.

Tom Brady will play in his 7th Super Bowl…in case you weren’t aware. The biggest complaint locally is that the Pats haven’t played any real opponents through the regular and postseason. This should be the team’s biggest challenge, but New England should be able to match-up well against Atlanta.

Despite not having Rob Gronkowski, that Pats have been able to hold their own and win games in convincing fashion, even if it’s against team like the Jets. The offense has had some minor mistakes, but the defense has looked just fine. They’ve played their assignments and been able to get the job done.

Such analysis, much focus

To emphasize again: I am not a football guy and will never claim to be. With that said, here’s the breakdown of the game.

For the Falcons to win, they’ll need to expose the Patriots sometimes shady secondary. Historically, the Pats have played soft on third down and long situations and given up a lot of dumb first downs. Atlanta doesn’t need to feed Julio Jones the ball; they just need to effectively distribute passes to all receiver. All are capable of putting up big numbers in this game. If the run is there, the Falcons need to take. Don’t try to outsmart Bill Belichick; just do what will work. On defense, zone won’t be the answer. If anything, play zone in the secondary/deep to prevent any big plays and have everyone else man up. As I mentioned for the AFC championship, having a linebacker fake blitz/man and spy on Tom Brady’s passes over the middle will be effective in helping stop the short 6 yard passes to Julian Edelman and company. Clog the line to prevent the Patriots running backs from ripping 6-8 yard rushes. You know, football stuff.

For the Patriots, the passing attack and offensive scheme has worked brilliantly this season. with Chris Hogan’s emergence in the playoffs, rookie Malcolm Mitchell’s good first season, and the vets doing their part, there’s no one receiver ho stands out as the “go-to” target, and this should create issues for the Flacons defense. The Flacons may have the two-headed monster at running back, but the Patriots have three in LeGarrette Blount, James White, and Dion Lewis. Each has their own niche: Blount the bruising back, White the receiving back, and Lewis who can do it all.Although it may be easy to predict a run coming with Blount in the backfield, the various packages and running schemes can cause issues for opposing defenses. Most importantly however, is the offense needs to win the time of possession battle. Bleed the clock and give Matt Ryan as little time as possible on the field. On defense, the Patriots cannot give up give passes and runs. Sounds simple: double cover Jones, etc. But this will only lead to big runs. New England has to play effective man, which won’t be an easy task. If the Patriots can get to Ryan effectively and quick, they’ll have an easy time with the receivers; otherwise, it’ll be a long Sunday.

Verdict

When this match-up was officially set, I was convinced the Falcons would win this game. I felt the defense was underrated and the offense was too good. But with more “film study” and “analysis,” I think it’s safe the say the defense vs. offense match-ups between the two teams favors the Patriots. Yes, the Falcons offense is awesome, but I don’t see the Patriots defense struggling as much as the Falcons D vs New England.

When it comes down to it, this game will come down to coaching. Not that Dan Quinn is a bad coach, but Bill Belichick is simply decades ahead of Quinn. Bill was able to shut down the Buffalo Bills as defensive coordinator with the Giants, he held the Greatest Show on Turf to 17 points, and minimized the Seahawks attack two years ago. Belichick will do it again come Sunday.

Patriots 30  Falcons 24

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