Right out of the gate I am not buying into the experience and been here before theory. These guys are grown men and professionals who are on TV all the time, in video games and basically have played in tons of big games during their careers. So what if New England has played in the Super Bowl numerous times? It is not like the Patriots have a track record of dominating performances in the Super Bowl. Are they going to reflect on all the close games (4 by 3 points, 2 by 4) or needing the miracle INT vs the Seahawks? I do not think the Patriots can stop the Falcons potent offense for four straight quarters. Math nerds say 4 yards is the magic number to average on 1st down to keep the drive alive and the Atlanta Falcons average 8.10, the highest in the NFL. When ranking opponents by defensive strength, Atlanta played the second toughest schedule in the NFL but still finished second in yards at 415.8 and put up 33.8 points per game and so far have averaged 40 in the playoffs. Even if we concede and say the Patriots stop Julio Jones, the Falcons are too deep for that to effect their offense. The Denver Broncos came at Atlanta with this approach and kept Julio Jones to only 2 catches for 29 yards, but Ryan just went to Coleman who put up 132 yards and Sanu (averaged 14.3 on 3 catches). Don’t forgot Matt Ryan set an NFL record this season tossing touchdowns to 13 different players.
When looking at the Super Bowl total, I lean on the UNDER. Close to 70% of early public action is on the OVER, but Pinnacle is at 58.5 OVER +102 and UNDER -113 despite 71% of their action on the total on the OVER (click for latest Super Bowl Odds). People are not giving the Falcons defense the respect they deserve, mainly because their defensive stats are skewed because Atlanta usually leads early and going into the 4th quarter. Atlanta gave up over 9 points in the 4th qt on average this season, while the league average is under a TD. Why the 4th quarter? Well, garbage time equals garbage stats. Atlanta was up over a TD at the half on average and scored 8.6 points in the 3rd vs 3.9 for their opponent (thus extending the lead), so 4th quarter garbage yards and points (for example they were up 42-0 on Rams going into 4th and won the game 42-14) are misleading when just looking at the box score.
Johnny Detroit’s Super Bowl Pick: Atlanta Falcons 27 and New England Patriots 24
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