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Super Bowl 2017: Predictions for the Falcons and Patriots

NFL: Super Bowl LI-NFL Experience Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons play each other in Super Bowl XLI on Sunday. That’s two days from now, when we’ll either have yet another Tom Brady Super Bowl win, or a *shudder* first Falcons Super Bowl. Gah.

Stephen White is convinced the Falcons will win. If you want some in-depth analysis of both teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and a lot of GIFs, read his piece. It’s outstanding.

I’m probably leaning his way, but I’m not convinced yet. Bill Belichick has a knack for coming up with specific, successful game plans for specific opponents. In fact, this game seems reminiscent of 2002’s game between the Patriots and then St. Louis Rams, when the Pats completely stifled a previously dominant offense with a gameplan that mostly focused on taking running back Marshall Faulk out of the game.

That could work for the Patriots this year too. The Falcons rely on Julio Jones, obviously, but the running backs are key to that strategy: they provide pass protection and dumpoff options at the same time, and finding ways to take them out as options for Matt Ryan could go a long way toward stopping the Atlanta offense.

Still, I’m thinking that won’t be enough to stop Julio Jones. So I’m going with a Falcons win, 28-21. What about you?