Spread: NE +3 (o/u 59.0)
This is sizing up to be a classic strength vs. strength game, pitting Atlanta's high flying video-game offense against New England's opportunistic defense, which led the league in scoring this season. However, as the Football Outsiders stat gurus point out, the Patsies' D faced the easiest schedule of opposing offenses this year, certainly nothing at the level of what Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have done to most of their opponents all season (and they have only gained momentum in their post-season games).
But as the FO guys point out, the Falcons' defense faced mostly middling offenses throughout the season as well, and put up worse numbers throughout the season. Their improvement over the last six games still leaves them behind what New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is doing with his squad, which is solid but has no true superstars (for example, the season sack leader is DE Trey Flowers, with just 7.0 sacks).
Nor does Tom Brady have any real weapons on offense beyond WR Julian Edelman, who leads the team by far with 1106 receiving yards and just 3 TDs, and RB LaGarrette Blount, who powered 299 carries for 1161 yards and 18 TDs. We can (and do!) hate on Tommy Tuck Rule whenever possible, but the fact is that he and Belichick do more with less, year after year. With no true number-one wideout since Randy Moss, and all-world TE Rob Gronkowski out injured (imploded vas deferens) most of the season, and being suspended the first four games, the Patsies still coasted to a 14-2 regular season record with relatively little trouble or drama.
Fuck them and their spoiled masshole fans, though, and for reasons political as well as sports-related. Brady, Belichick, and team owner Bob Kraft are all shameless butt-lickers for Clownstick, and they can all go die on a fucking island together. And not a nice resort island either, more like some deserted atomic-tested atoll out in the remote western Pacific, where they can draw lots to see who gets eaten first. Our money's on the fat old bastards Clownstick and Kraft getting spit-roasted first, pitting the ageless Brady against the wily Belichick for the final Island Long Pig Showdown.
But uh, in the meantime, Sunday's game should be a good one, and fairly close, even though the last time you had a killer offense versus a killer defense, it was the biggest SB blowout evar, literally from the first play of the game. That game featured a record-setting, knockout D rightly nicknamed the "Legion of Boom," and the architect of that defense was one Dan Quinn, currently the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. I'm gonna call it right now that Atlanta's defense steps up and gets a few plays on Brady, and gives Ryan and Jones just enough breathing room to bring the Falcons franchise their first Super Bowl victory.
Predicted Score: Atlanta 37, New England 34.
[Update 2/5/17 7:40 PST: Well, hell, after making America great again in the first three quarters by rolling to a 28-3 lead, Atlanta shit the bed yuuugely, allowing the fackin' Patsies to tie it up with just eighteen seconds left in regulation, and marching right down the field in the first overtime drive in Super Bowl history, for a 34-28 victory for Team Clownstick. No, I am not consoled by the fact that I guessed New England's exact point total.
Maybe the Falcons should have campaigned in Wisconsin. I keed, I keed.
Even more fun: apparently Clownstick left his own Super Bowl party before the Patsies mounted their comeback. Sad! Also, too, does Melania have permanent Resting Hostage Face at this point, or what?]