NFL

Five narratives heading into Super Bowl LI


Written by: Ronnie Vaughan – Staff Writing Intern (@AyePaisano)

Patriots Falcons, Super Bowl 51. I’m sure you have heard of it by now, if not, get with the program.  With this blog I want to run through a few narratives to look out for in this game. Now let’s dance.

| Is Matt Ryan an Elite Quarterback?

Well I think he is an elite talent with a very strong arm but he has been known in the past (ACC Championship Game, plentiful 7-9/9-7 seasons) to come down to earth when the spotlight is on.  The Falcons team this year is something else with the amount of offensive weapons at his disposal.  The man hasn’t thrown an interception since November which should worry Falcons fan a tad bit. To answer the question, yes he is an elite talent but he has not had that “Career Win” to hang his hat on yet.  

| Is Brady going to go down in history as the best QB to ever play the game?

All bias aside, why isn’t he? Haters will say he is a “system quarterback” but he still makes so many adjustments pre-snap that the argument is diluted.  He has worked with so many different receivers that you can’t argue that his receivers “made him”, ya know? Others might say it’s all Belichick and to some degree yes a lot of it is Bill but Bill isn’t out there on the field executing perfection since 2001.

Brady’s work ethic goes unmatched, I mean look at the film of Brady running the 40 back at the combine and now take a look at his bob-and-weave in the pocket this season.  It’s amazing how much work that man puts in.  To answer the question, I say yes but I also did not get to watch Montana play so I’ll leave the rings to do the talking when the time comes.

| Is Dan Quinn the reason Pete Carroll’s Seahawks were great?

Here is something that I came up with.  Dan Quinn leaves the Seahawks and their defense did not look the same over the last 2 years compared to the historical season the Hawks had back in 2014-2015.  By no means am I saying they were bad, because that would make me a fool, they were still really good.  

Sure they lost Earl Thomas to injury this season but as an avid NFL DFS player, I saw myself more than ever taking players against the Seahawks and producing great lineups.  They were not great against the run nor were they “shut down” necessarily in the air.  Is Dan Quinn a better coach than Pete Carroll?  Well, he’s gonna have to lead Matt Ryan to his first win over the Patriots ever for that to even be in discussion.  

| Is Malcolm Butler a TRUE shutdown cornerback?

In my humble opinion, he is a great corner but not a “shutdown” one and that purely because of the Cover 2 scheme that the Patriots defense runs.  Should Malcolm Butler be strictly on Julio Jones? Hell no, because that’s what the Falcons and Matt Ryan want you to do.  That only opens up more opportunities for Freeman/Coleman out of the backfield and guys like Sanu, Gabriel and Robinson to chunk up yards and make splash plays.

 Butler will play a good amount on Julio, but I imagine it will be later on in the game to confuse Matt Ryan.  Is he “good” enough to shadow Julio all game, of course, but Julio will get his as he did against “shutdown” corner Richard Sherman earlier this season. To answer the question, no he is not but he is a top-five corner in the league and he fits our defensively scheme perfectly and that’s what matters in the long run.  

 | Will the Patriots not only win, but cover the spread for the best ATS season in NFL history?

My biased pick – Pats slaughter the Falcons and Matt Ryan throws three interceptions.  My unbiased pick – Pats and Falcons exchange blows back and forth through the first few possessions, Patriots score before going into half and then again right after half (in classic Patriots fashion deferring to the 2nd half).  

The Patriots begin to pound the rock with Blount after Matt Ryan makes a terrible mistake.  Clock starts to be churned down more and more as the Falcons feel pressure to make a splash play but cannot get it done.  Patriots 34- Falcons 27.  So yes, I do believe the Patriots will win and cover the -3.5 spread I have here on my book.     
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