This is the ultimate matchup: the best defense (Patriots) vs. the best offense (Falcons). The immovable object vs. the unstoppable force.
I believe the game will come down to this: how the Falcons’ D fares against legendary the Patriots running game. One has to figure that legendary QB Tom Brady is going to get his, but if RB LeGarrette Blount gets going (he led the league in rushing TDs, you know), Atlanta will not win. Period.
But stopping Blount would not only make the Patriots one-dimensional, those Falcons pass rushers could pin their ears back and come after Brady without having to blitz.
Furthermore, Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn, a former defense coordinator under Pete Carroll in Seattle. Those defenses play man-to-man, with their safeties playing zone. Brady would have a much harder time succeeding against Atlanta’s D in that scenario.
Given that may be easier said than done, and despite the plethora of weapons the Falcons have on offense, I like the Patriots in this one. They’ve been there, done that. Bill Bellicheat is practically money in the playoffs.
I’m sorry Matt Ryan, but in order to BE the man, you’ve got to BEAT the man. Until that happens, it’s Brady – and everyone else…
Patriots 27, Falcons 23 (damn, I hope I’m wrong…)