Eight writers at The Inside Zone have shared their opinions on Super Bowl 51 featuring the young red hot Atlanta Falcons, taking the on the New England Patriots dynasty. 5 of our writers have the Patriots winning while 3 have the Falcons lifting the Lombardi Trophy. Tweet @TheInsideZoneUK your prediction including the score and MVP.
Tom Like, Editor-In-Chief
This is the sixth time in Super Bowl history that the no.1 scoring Offense faces the no.1 scoring Defense; the Defensive team won 4 of the 5. The Patriots mantra of ‘Do Your Job’ won’t be enough for Bill, Brady and co. as they will have to keep pace with a historic Falcons Offense.
This Falcons team is the highest powered Offense the Patriots have faced in the Super Bowl. Atlanta averaged 33.8 points per game this season; the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’, 2001 Rams only averaged 31.4. The Patriots love to play with 5 Defensive Backs (3x Safeties) against opponents Base Offenses and routinely bring only a 3 man rush (25%) on pass rushing plays. New England like to back up 8 and force teams to try and find holes.
The problem for Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick? Matt Ryan has shredded teams deep all season long and is the best QB against a 3-man rush by a significant distance. The Patriots will also be tasked with trying to stop the electrifying Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the run game. If the Patriots can limit the damage on 1st down, they still face the prospect of only bringing 3 against this GREAT Falcons O-Line. Matt Ryan will have all day to find either Julio, Sanu, Gabriel, Tamme or Coleman open in space. Brady could be playing from behind for most of this game allowing Atlanta’s young, athletic and fast Defense to pin its ears back and make plays on the ball. I believe this Atlanta Falcons team is one of destiny, and has the playmakers on both sides of the ball to derail the Tom Brady Revenge Tour, 34-27 in Houston. Look for Atlanta’s ‘supporting cast’ to consistently gash the Patriots in this one.
Nick Dunkeyson, Senior NFL Writer
One major thing that attracted me to the NFL is enforced parity. I fell out of love with round football because of predictability (then Leicester happened, but exceptions/rules). So the idea of a league that should enforce a level playing field is great! Another thing I disliked about round football – whiney, nippy, sneaky sods as head coaches/managers. Y’know, like Jose Mourinho. So you can imagine why I’m not rooting for the Patriots. Incredibly dominant, and a head coach it’s impossible to like as a human being. Alas, New England will win. The Patriots have the minds and player versatility to gameplan for everyone, and to exploit any weakness. Their defense will up the physical, blocking the run-game, reducing the play-action threat, and then jamming receivers at the line. Atlanta just won’t be able to get going. It will be grimly efficient, not much fun to watch for the neutrals, and that will be that. Ho-hum.
Alex Williams, New York Giants Writer
The New England Patriots- Im going the best defense over the best offense as history has favoured defense in the Super Bowl. The patriots will win because they are by far the most balanced team in the NFL, across offense, defense and special teams. The Patriots defense could potentially stifle the high powered Falcons offense, but even if they don’t, Brady has enough firepower of his own to keep pace with Ryan&Co. I just can’t look past Belichick and Brady. Prediction: 31-24. MVP Legarrette Blount
Thomas Willoughby, Atlanta Falcons Writer
The Falcons have had an insane season, don’t get wrong, but I feel if anyone’s going to nullify this offense it’s Belichick. The man is an absolute master at game-planning, although he’ll have his work cut out for him against Kyle Shanahan. The Patriots haven’t come up against anything close to what the Falcons are, and it’ll all come down to who can figure out who the quickest, I feel. While better, this Falcons defence is still pretty raw, and could be picked apart by Brady, so it’ll likely come down to whether the Patriots can stop the Falcons offense enough times. Pats win a close one, 35-31.
Thomas Ritchie, Denver Broncos Writer
So, another enthralling NFL season has reached it’s climax. My Denver Broncos will not have a chance to defend their title, and instead those pesky Patriots will represent the AFC against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have had a high flying offence all year with MVP candidate Matt Ryan leading them to a Super Bowl 18 years after their last appearance. They also have a massively underrated defence, but they will be put to the test against the wily Tom Brady and co, whilst the league’s number 1 defence will go toe to toe with Matty Ice. I hate to say it, but as it was proven in the two Super Bowls my Broncos were in recently, defence wins championships and because of that I’m picking the Patriots. But I’ll be cheering on Atlanta.
Prediction: Patriots 27-21 Falcons
Perfect Pervis, Staff Writer
Against my personal feelings, I believe the Atlanta Falcons will win Super Bowl LI. Bill Belichick will do what he does well and make sure Julio Jones does not beat the Patriots defense. Tom Brady will be Tom Brady and play great the entire game. The Patriots will play a great game as many expect. The Falcons will play the BEST game of their lives on Super Bowl Sunday. I could name all the offensive weapons that will show up, but I won’t. I could name the defensive stars not Vic Beasley, but I won’t. This Super Bowl will be won by someone making the big play late in the game. Of these two teams, the Falcons are the more likely team to do so with so many explosive playmakers on both sides of the ball. Go Falcons??!? 33-31
Joel Bishop, Staff Writer
Anything can happen in the Superbowl and I think this is going to be a close game. This Atlanta team is on fire but New England are also the masters of the post-season. I see a big games for Julian Edelman (111 yards, 2 TDs) and Taylor Gabriel (97 yards, 1 TD) but a big 4th quarter for this New England defense causing turnovers doing just enough for Brady to lead the game by one score. Patriots win and Brady gets his 5th ring with the final score: 38-31
Jack Matthews, Pittsburgh Steelers Writer
I got the Falcons beating the Patriots 38-31. I think the Patriots defense is overrated statistically because they have faced so many inept offenses during the season, so for that reason I see Atlanta’s offense putting up some serious yardage. I think the running game for the Falcons will be featured a lot because I think the Patriots will try to eliminate Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Tom Brady and the Patriots will find ways to score against a pretty average Falcons defense. The lack of a dominant pass rusher will hurt New England as I see Matt Ryan getting the ball back at the end of the game and driving for a heartbreaking game winner.