Super Bowl 51 Picks Super Bowl 51 Predictions: New England Patriots 16-2-0 (-3) VS Atlanta Falcons 13-5-0

Super Bowl 51 Predictions

Chris Ransom Last Updated: February 1, 2017.

1. New England Patriots 16-2-0
2. Atlanta Falcons 13-5-0

Chris Ransom's Pick

Heading into Super Bowl Sunday everyone went 1-1 during Conference Championship week. I still lead and am now 167-99 despite after going 3-1 in the divisional round. Tanya Holmes is 1-1 and if we pick the opposite teams on Super Bowl Sunday and she picks the winner she would end up winning the tiebreaker over me. As a result she's now 166-100 only one game back. Oren Shiri is now in third place with a 163-103 record. Jason Bantle is 162-104 on the year and if he and Oren pick opposite teams then Jason would finish ahead of Oren if the team Jason picked won. Jesse Lucas is gonna finish in fifth at 161-105 on the year, but he correctly predicted 61 percent of NFL games this year.

Why the New England Patriots Will Win: New England needs to play well defensively in order to win. With the leagues lowest scoring defense the chess match will be Julio Jones VS Malcolm Butler. Butler will limit Jones to under 100 receiving yards, but Jones will have a receiving touchdown in this game maybe two. I also think Logan Ryan at boundary cornerback along with Eric Rowe in the nickel, Justin Coleman at dime, Cyrus Jones at quarter, Patrick Chung at strong safety, and Devin McCourty at free safety will do just enough defensively for New England to win. The Patriots also have Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner, and Jordan Richards for depth at safety.

Offensively, I think Tom Brady will have enough time in the pocket. Both of these teams are stacked offensively yet both teams are okay, but not great pass rushing. I think Vic Beasley will be double teamed by the right side of New England's offensive line so Atlanta's defensive tackles have to take some chances and get after Brady at different times throughout the game otherwise Tom will carve Atlanta since the trio of Robert Alford, Jalen Collins, and Brian Poole is at a huge disadvantage against wide receivers like Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and Danny Amendola. Brady also has Martellus Bennett at tight end plus three different running backs in Dion Lewis, James White, and LeGarrette Blount. Tom Brady has 8 different targets to throw to and that's excluding his best one in Rob Gronkowski.

Why the Atlanta Falcons Will Win: Matt Ryan has an abundance of weapons. Devonta Freeman plus Tevin Coleman in the backfield. You got Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Justin Hardy, and Tony Gabriel at wide receiver. Atlanta may be four deep at wide receiver, but New England is 5-deep at cornerback plus they have depth at safety plus their 15.7 points allowed per game is the best among defenses in the entire NFL. Seattle and Denver tied for second behind New England with 18.6 points allowed per game so New England's defense has been superior to every team in the NFL all season with Seattle being the only team to beat Tom Brady straight up this season.

No NFC team was four deep at cornerback this year unless you count Atlanta who had Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Jalen Collins in the nickel, and Brian Poole in the dime. If Atlanta had Trufant at full health I'd strongly consider picking them to win this game, but his absence should be the difference.

Sure Seattle has the Legion Of Boom, but they dealt with injuries throughout the year. Dallas had cornerback depth, but their guys got torched by Aaron Rodgers. The only team that Atlanta played during the regular season that was 5-deep at cornerback and had good safety depth who they defeated 23-16. Atlanta defeated Denver 23-16 in a game where Paxton Lynch started. The other contest was a 29-28 loss where Atlanta lost on a two point conversion play to a Kansas City Chiefs team 4-deep at corner.

Atlanta is going to need at least 30 points to beat the Patriots, but I'm expecting this game to be a shootout with New England being the team that wins the turnover battle while New England is the team that gets penalized the most. The magic number for Atlanta is 33. Atlanta lost only one other Super Bowl which was Super Bowl 33 Elway's last game. Atlanta has also scored a minimum of 33 points in every game since the December 4th loss to Eric Berry on a two point conversion. Denver scored 34 in that game which is ironic since Atlanta hosted Super Bowl 34 the following year. Now Atlanta is about to open up a new stadium and their only way they can win is if they can score 33 or more points while limiting the Patriots to under 33 points.

Prediction: New England enters as a 3 point favorite. The minimum bet is $125 dollars, the maximum bet is $145 dollars with the average gambler betting around $135 dollars on this game. The over or under on this game is 59.5 points. I am taking New England to win and cover in overtime because its really difficult for me to pick against the Patriots with them being the deeper team in terms of depth at both receiver and cornerback despite Atlanta having arguably the leagues best wide receiver in Julio Jones. Only two other Super Bowls were in Houston and an AFC East team won both games. The Miami Dolphins won Super Bowl 8 in Houston before the Patriots won it in Reliant Stadium 30 years after that. Now New England is back in Houston facing the Falcons.

I'm going to predict that this game will be such a blowout in the first half that New England leads 27-3 at halftime. Then a power outage like the one in Super Bowl 47 delays the halftime show for an hour. Then Atlanta goes on a 30-0 run in the second half getting 30 points within 25 minutes to take the lead. The Patriots tie it at 33 and miss a game-winning extra point sending the game to overtime. The game ends with Atlanta winning the coin toss in overtime and Eric Rowe returning a pick 6 99-yards for a touchdown exactly like the one Malcolm Butler had in Super Bowl 49. Okay, maybe Super Bowl 51 won't be that epic, but the Patriots fan in me hopes it is.

Final Score Patriots 39 Falcons 33 OT

Who Everyone Else Picked

Tanya Holmes Oren Shiri Jesse Lucas Jason Bantle

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