SideLion Report Super Bowl Picks

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Exterior view of NRG Stadium before Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Exterior view of NRG Stadium before Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016 season ended in extreme disappointment for the Detroit Lions, with the team losing four straight games to close out the year, including a first-round Playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. There is still one game remaining, though, as the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. Will Patriots quarterback Tom Brady win his NFL-record 5th Super Bowl by a quarterback? Can MVP Matt Ryan and the Falcons continue their improbable run with one final, Super Bowl statement? Let’s see what our writing staff had to say about the big game.

Al Stahl

Atlanta-38,  New England-35

The Patriots’ defense has been on a tear lately. They’ve given up more than 17 points just once since a Week 10 loss to Seattle where they surrendered 31. The Falcons’ offense has scored less than 33 points just once in that same timespan. Atlanta has put up points against good and bad defenses while the Patriots hadn’t stopped a good offense until last week. My gut says with two weeks to prepare, New England will have found a way to stop Atlanta. But my heart says JULIO FREAKING JONES!

-Follow Al @LethalSax

Andria Dolan

Atlanta-32, New England-29

This will be one of the best Bowl battles that NFL fans have seen in a long time. I mean, how much talent can you pack onto one field? The MVP-led Atlanta Falcons will not find an easy route to the winner’s circle here, but neither will New England. It will be a hard-fought battle that most have predicted will end in a fifth Super Bowl victory for Tom Brady, but the Patriots’ defense has to face an offense the caliber of which they haven’t seen this year and their o-line will have a tough time containing the league’s sack leader Vic Beasley, Dwight Freeney and crew. Frustration will seep in early for Brady. After all is said and done, wrecking-ball defense and spectacular offense beats solid-solid this time.

-Follow Andria @Fandria7

Jack Ozark

New England-31, Atlanta-23

I don’t know. I don’t know I don’t know. As I start writing this I have no clue who is going to win and by the time I’m done with this rant, I will convince myself of one side. A piece of me wants to see Tom Brady go in and solidify himself as the GOAT, but another piece wants to see somebody new shake it up. I feel like the Falcons need this more than the Pats, as they seem to be like the Panthers of last year. I think a lot of things went right for this team, and I don’t see them making it back, so they better make the most of it.

The biggest factor in this game is going to be Julio Jones. The guy is Megatron like, (as a Lions fan I will try and hold onto the fact that Calvin is better than him) and he can take over the game with ease. And even though he’s unstoppable, the Patriots somehow use witchcraft or something to take big names out of the game. I mean, they used it a few years ago when they convinced Pete Carroll to throw it from the one yard line. Okay, I’ve convinced myself now. This game is going to be a shootout, but I think that Tom and co. are going to take home another Lombardi trophy.

– Follow Jack @J_zark

Matt Urben

Atlanta-30, New England-27

While it seems unwise to go against Tom Brady in a Super Bowl, I cannot pick against the Atlanta Falcons after what they did to Green Bay in the NFC Championship. MVP Matt Ryan has somehow stopped throwing interceptions which has helped the Falcons become one of the most prolific offenses of all time. They remind me of those 2009 Saints, who were unstoppable on offense and made just enough plays defensively to beat the Colts in the Super Bowl that season.

Most are predicting this to be one of the highest-scoring Super Bowls ever, but New England’s defense won’t allow that to happen. Belichick will figure out a way to contain Julio Jones — slightly at least — but Matt Ryan has thrown touchdown passes to an NFL-record 13 different players this season. I see both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman making enough plays out of the backfield to give Atlanta 10-point lead in the fourth. Brady will fall just shy of coming back, and “Matty Ice” will finally live up to his nickname.

– Follow Matt @MattUrben88

Ryan O’Bleness

Atlanta-34, New England-31

I believe we are in for an exciting, relatively high-scoring Super Bowl that will come down to a last-minute field goal by the Falcons. Both offenses are explosive: Atlanta’s offense ranked second in total offense in 2016, while the Patriots weren’t far behind finishing fourth (and that was minus Tom Brady for four games).

Atlanta’s defense leaves something to be desired, though, as it was ranked just 25th. The Patriots’ defense finished a respectable eighth, but I fully expect Julio Jones to continue his playoff tear. I think it will be a neck-and-neck battle, just like the last two times the Pats played in the Super Bowl, but I think Atlanta’s offense finds just enough to pull out the victory.

Plus, I would much rather see the Atlanta take home its first Super Bowl title, rather than Brady, Bill Belichick and the scandal-ridden Patriots win it for the fifth time. But hey, maybe I’m just biased.

-Follow Ryan @RyanObleness

Tony Fischer

Atlanta-49, Patriots-45

Lions fans should be watching this game closely.  Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are what Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions could be if they add a few more pieces. As for the match-up, the Patriots enter this game with all the experience of a battle-hardened Gladiator. They have been in this situation before and they know how to win.

The Falcons have come out of now where to get to the Super Bowl this year and will undoubtedly be feeling the heat from the bright spotlight of the nation’s most-watched sporting event.

That said, Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense have been prolific this season and the Patriots defense has been banged up.  This game will be a shoot-out and could threaten any number of Super Bowl scoring records especially combined points (75 – XXIX). Falcons win. MVP: Julio Jones (3 Touchdowns, 310 yards).

-Follow Tony @TFischerTweets

Ty Finch

New England-28, Atlanta-27

Unless you live in or around the Boston area, or one of your extended family plays for the Patriots, you most likely are cheering for the Falcons in this one. Just know before you go in, the Patriots will win. It won’t matter that Atlanta’s offense is one of the best that the league has seen in 25 years. It won’t matter that Matt Ryan is the MVP, or that Julio Jones is un-coverable.

The Falcons could rack up 600 yards of total offense, force 4 turnovers on defense, and somehow the Patriots will win. That’s just what happens when you play the Patriots. They win. Life is ultimately meaningless, and we all will die someday, so why wouldn’t the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl?

The rest of the world would like to see something different happen for once, but it’s probably not going to.The rich get richer. The poor stay poor. Just remember to never count out Touchdown Tom. Don’t do it!

– Follow Ty @Finchty

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