NFL

Football Insiders Super Bowl LI Predictions

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The Super Bowl is finally here and history will be made as the Atlanta Falcons will either win their first Lombardi Trophy or Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will re-write the record books with their fifth.

We are expecting a good game between the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense in the NFL, and despite the expected competitiveness, we are all leaning toward one side.

Without any further ado, he is the Football Insiders’ Super Bowl Predictions:

Charlie Bernstein–

Although we have the leave MVP in Matt Ryan against the greatest quarterback ever in Tom Brady (yeah, I’m saying it), I see this game being a lot lower scoring than many imagine.  New England is going to take away big plays to Julio Jones and force the Falcons to be patient with the running game.  I don’t believe Matt Ryan is going to be able to string together several 11 or 12 play drives and finish with touchdowns.  At least not enough to outscore Brady and company, who thrive on the underneath passing game.

Truth be told, I think Atlanta has a better football team and a lot of matchups in their favor.  But I simply can’t trust Ryan in the biggest spot and I picked the Patriots to win the Super Bowl prior to the start of the season.

Patriots 21, Falcons 17. 

Devon Jeffreys–

This year’s Super Bowl pits the team we all expected to see from the AFC against a bit of a surprise from the NFC. Few were giving the Falcons a chance to make it this far, even after a great regular season. I personally always had the Dallas-Green Bay winner ticketed for the NFC title and never gave Atlanta a second thought. But it’s time to put credit where it’s due. The Falcons are on an incredible run and their offense is performing at a level we’ve rarely seen in NFL history. Matt Ryan went from quarterback on the decline to no-doubt MVP in four short months and Atlanta’s offense will put on a show on Sunday. All that said, I’m going to doubt them one more time. The Patriots have one of the best defenses Atlanta has seen this year and two weeks to prepare, which is more than enough for any Belichick outfit that’s not facing the Giants. If their third-ranked run defense can slow Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, it will make things significantly more difficult on Ryan to do what he’s done all year. On the other side of the ball, Atlanta’s defense has holes that can be exposed and it’s hard not to expect Tom Brady to complete his revenge tour with an epic performance that forces Roger Goodell to hand him his fifth Lombardi Trophy, and probably his fourth MVP award as well.

New England 31, Atlanta 24

Mark Gunnels–

While Atlanta has one of the most potent offenses in recent memory, Bill Belichick is dangerous to go up against when he has two weeks to prepare. Also, with New England’s ability to take away opposing offenses best threat, I think it will slow down Matt Ryan and company just enough.

New England 31, Atlanta 24

Andrew Garda–

Vegas has it right- this is not going to be the usual high-scoring Falcons game- which doesn’t bode well for Atlanta.  I think the Patriots will use LeGarrete Blount early and often, wearing down Atlanta’s defense, so in the fourth quarter, they will be too gassed to make the one big play they need to.

Patriots 28, Falcons 24. 

We have a clean sweep, as everyone on the staff believes that the Pats will win another Super Bowl.  With that in mind, last year all but one of us picked the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50.  That didn’t work out so well.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.