Super Bowl LI: Reasons Why New England Patriots Win
February 4, 2017
It’s pretty much become impossible to bet against the New England Patrtios led by “the hoodie” and Tom Brady and here’s why…
There is a notion that New England hasn’t beaten anyone on their way to football’s ultimate game. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Patriots have actually been more impressive versus tough opponents than the Falcons have been.
Bill Belichick has been to seven Super Bowls as a head coach and another three as an assistant. This is not his first rodeo. In fact, his first rodeo was 30 years ago.
His team is also well prepared for the moment. There are 21 Patriots players who have been to the Super Bowl. In contrast, only four Falcons have been this far before.
Everyone has made a big deal of the fact Brady and Belichick have been here seven times. Don’t forget Matt Ryan and Dan Quinn are making their first trip to the big dance in their current roles.
The Super Bowl and the extra week of prep are unlike any scenario in football. You can’t really know how best to handle it until you’ve had to. Advantage: Pats.
Much has been made about Atlanta’s running game but New England’s is just as good.
Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 2,482 yards from scrimmage and 24 TDs this year. The three-headed New England attack of LeGarrette Blount, James White and Dion Lewis were not far behind — 2,293 yards and 23 TDs. What's more, Blount's 18 rushing TDs led the NFL.
New England is not one-dimensional. And anyone suggesting they are is confusing this team with the one from last year's playoffs, which Blount missed because he was on the IR.
The biggest difference in the Patriots this year from the team a year ago is the play and health of the offensive line. This year's o-line is healthy and peaking in the post-season.
All five of New England’s starters on Sunday have played over 90-per cent of the team's snaps — last year no Patriots offensive lineman played over 77 percent.
FAMILIARITY AGAINST THE FOE
Brady threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns against Dan Quinn's Seattle defense in the Super Bowl two years ago. Atlanta, like Seattle, runs a vanilla base-oriented defensive scheme. They try to win not on scheme but superior athleticism and fundamentals.
The problem is Brady is a killer when you routinely give him the same looks. Subsequently, the Patriots are so schematically advanced they show you many looks to cause hesitancy and confusion.
Case in point, the AFC Championship Game versus a veteran Pittsburgh defence: Brady and the Patriots showed four-receiver sets 12 times in the first half alone. The Patriots came out in four-receiver sets just 13 times all year before that. The fact the patriots have the smartest players and an experienced signal caller allows them to win by Xs and Os alone.
Atlanta might have one of the best offenses in recent memory. But New England is one of the most balanced teams in recent memory. New England ranked in the top five in points scored per game (third overall) and points allowed per game (first) in 2016. Since 1970, teams who were top five in both have gone 8-2 in the big game.
The Patriots defense struggled to start the year, and Atlanta's offense has been humming all year long — besides which, Julio Jones might be the most talented player suiting up on Sunday.But as of today, the Pats defense might be more dominant than Atlanta's high-flying offense. As mentioned above, New England finished with the No. 1 scoring defense in the regular season (15.6 points per game allowed). So far in the playoffs they've been just as good — they gave up just 33 points combined to Houston and Pittsburgh.
The Falcons, meanwhile, finished 27th in scoring defense (25.4 points per game allowed). They've been better in the playoffs (20.5 points per game), but still not up to the level of their Super Bowl opponent.
Defense wins championships and the Patriots have the better unit.
THE UNIFORM GODS
As if all that weren't enough, the Falcons confirmed they would be wearing their red jerseys in Houston. The Patriots will wear their white jerseys. Teams wearing white jerseys have won 11 of the last 12 Super Bowls.