Feb. 14, 2017
Falcons Offense has edge over Patriots in Super Bowl LI
Looking ahead to Super Bowl LI, the fans seem to have gotten the match up that they wanted.
A pair of potent offenses ready to rack up the score.
Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan.
The Evil Empire of New England, against the young Rebel Alliance of Atlanta.
Based off experience, you would think that New England would be the favorite.
But the underdog Falcons may have the firepower to take down New England, winning their first championship in franchise history as their offense is reminiscent of early 2000's St. Louis Rams teams, more affectionately known as “The Greatest Show on Turf”.
I know its high praise, but bear with me.
One reason those Rams teams were so successful was their receiving core. Led by Issac Bruce and Tory Holt, St. Louis receivers would terrorize opposing secondaries, seemingly racking up big plays at will.
With Julio Jones, the most dominant receiver in football, alongside Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel, the recipe for success is eerily similar. Jones was first in the NFL averaging just over 100 yards per game, while Sanu and Gabriel have risen to the occasion for the Falcons, with a combined 192 yards and two touchdowns this post season. Jones further is averaging 110 yards a game through his five career post season starts. That's the highest average of any player who has appeared in two games.
And that isn't even getting into the backfield.
Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman pose a whole different challenge to opposing defenses. It's true that neither of these guys is Marshall Faulk, but as a tandem they are nearly as dangerous.
Just ask Seattle and Green Bay.
Not only can Freeman and Coleman run between the tackles, (Atlanta was fifth in the league in rushing yards from scrimmage with 1,928, and third in rushing touchdowns with 20) but they pose a whole other threat as receivers out of the backfield. The two combined for 85 receptions for nearly nine hundred yards and five touchdowns this season.
Then there's Matt Ryan.
Ryan has a chance on Sunday to solidify himself in NFL immortality with his first Super Bowl win. The Boston college recruit ranked second in the league in passing yards this season, behind only Drew Brees. Come Sunday, it will have been two months since Ryan last threw an interception.
Ryan has tossed seven touchdowns and no interceptions this post season. The other six QB's to throw more then six touchdowns without a pick all won the Super Bowl. Further Ryan holds the longest streak in NFL history, throwing three touchdown passes in four consecutive playoff games.
What does that mean for the Falcons offense?
Atlanta has scored a touchdown on its opening drive in its last eight games. In the last 15 seasons, no team has had a streak longer than five.
With his leadership and statistics through the regular and post season, Ryan is essentially a lock for the MVP.
Take that Tom.
Jones, Sanu and Gabriel may not be Bruce and Holt.
Matt Ryan may not be Kurt Warner.
And the Falcons offense may not be as flashy as the 2000's Rams.
But they are pretty darn close. And that's a problem for the Patriots.