Atlanta A Top Dog For Super Bowl LI?

Atlanta Falcons fans cheering for team

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 5:04 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 5:04 PM UTC

The playoffs have been quite chalky for those who bet on NFL football with the favorite 8-2 SU and ATS. Does that mean the Atlanta Falcons are in big trouble for the Super Bowl?

Not necessarily, since the NFL odds only have them as a three-point underdog and before the playoffs started, I discovered speculation lines had them at +6 if they were to face New England in the Super Bowl.

In sticking with the theme of this article, here is the case for Atlanta to cover and possibly beat the Patriots in Houston.


Is Atlanta A Potential Top Dog?

They certainly can be and here is what they have to do. Matt Ryan deserves to be the MVP and he did not slow down one iota in the playoffs, with Atlanta posting 36 and 44 points. In fact, this offense is scalding hot since losing to Kansas City, in averaging 39 points per game in their last six.

It is well known Bill Belichick defense's top priority is to take away the opposing team's top weapon and in this case, it is Julio Jones. Let's assume New England does this and several other teams have to a degree focused on Jones and limited him. However, Mohamed Sanu has been coming up big time for the Falcons and actually, I will be looking for his numbers on prop bets as a play in this contest.

Two other keys for Atlanta, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman caught 85 balls in the regular season and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been brilliant in getting them the ball and they will find holes to attack the Pats. In addition, you probably have noticed neither Seattle or Green Bay hardly put any pressure on Ryan and if they happen in this contest. Atlanta will put up the points.

On defense for the Dirty Birds, real simple, collapse the pocket up the middle and attack Tom Brady. In both of Brady's Super Bowl losses, the New York Giants were on his legs and all around him. If Atlanta accomplishes this, they have a real shot.


Do They Actually Stand A Chance?

My belief is Atlanta will have success in moving the ball from time to time. but for NFL picks, my preference is New England and here is why. The Patriots 3-3-5 defense is built to prevent touchdowns. They can match up with opposing offenses, even Atlanta's, and force opponents to kick field goals. The Falcons defensive improvement has been the ability of the offense to build leads which force the opposing team to get out of what they do offensively. I have a difficult time thinking the Dirty Birds will run away and hide from New England.

Offensively, look for the Patriots to exploit Atlanta conceding 4.6 yards a carry and if they walk a safety up to help, look for TE Martellus Bennett or whoever is slot receiver to the side the safety would come from to be like many McDonald's, open all night.

My early inkling is New England wins another Super Bowl by six points.


Free NFL Pick: New England Patriots -3Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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