After 256 regular season games and three weeks of thrilling playoff action, we are just about one week away from the big game. We have seen young superstars emerge, some teams ascending from the ashes while others fell off badly, historic offensive numbers being put up and two electrifying Conference Championship games ending in controversial manner. However, after all the drama we have seen over these last five months, we end up with the Super Bowl favorites from the preseason squaring off on February the 3rd. On one side we have the Patriots, who have dominated the league, making it to the final game in half of the last 18 seasons, and on the other is a team in the Rams that went 4-12 just two years ago and hasn’t made it there since 2001. That was when these two squads faced off against each other, featuring the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ under MVP Kurt Warner as two-touchdown favorites against the defensive-minded Pats with some first-year starter at quarterback named Tom Brady. With New England winning the game on a last-second field goal, this launched one of the (if not the) greatest dynasties in American Sports history, led by what is widely considered the best quarterback-head coach combination ever, while the Rams would go on to win just two playoff games until this season. Here we are 17 years later – the most dominant team in the NFL over that stretch facing off against a young bunch in the L.A. Rams that many look at as the most talented squad. Jared Goff as the youngest quarterback ever to start a Super Bowl versus the oldest one in Tom Brady. The youngest head coacher ever to start a Super Bowl in wonderkid Sean McVay against the old master in Bill Belichick. The Rams versus the Patriots Part II.
This was a unique matchup. While New England went into the AFC playoffs as the number one seed and favorite to win it all, Philadelphia took on the underdog role throughout the NFC race, with the opposing team favored in both games at Lincoln Financial field. Despite earning the top seed in their respective conference as well, not many people believed that backup Nick Foles would be able to match MVP and five-time champion Tom Brady in the big game. All the analysts talked about how Philly’s defensive line would have to harass Brady throughout the game, to keep the score low and give them a chance to win the game. Yet, 74 points and, an all-time NFL record for any game, 1151 total offensive yards later, it was the Eagles hoisting the Lombardi trophy with Foles being named Super Bowl MVP. How was this possible?
The NFL season is coming to an end and only game is left to play. To determine the 2017 NFL champions. On the AFC side the Patriots come in with a league-best 14-2 record and advance to the Super Bowl for the seventh time in the Belichick – Brady era. The Falcons will represent the NFC after finishing the regular season with a 11-5 record and will make just their second ever appearance in the big game. Both teams are led by their MVP candidate quarterbacks Tom Brady and Matt Ryan in a matchup of New England’s number one ranked scoring defense and Atlanta’s number one ranked scoring offense. It’s the AFC vs. the NFC. It’s Patriots vs. Falcons.
Here is my gameplan for both squads and a prediction for the final score:
Now six weeks into the season we have a pretty good picture of all 32 NFL teams. Sure, you never know what will happen over the rest of the year, but I tried to rank them by the way they’ve played so far and factor in how they’ve improved since the season started or what they can still get better at. As of right now the list looks like this:
Every NFL season brings new surprising underdog-stories and disappointments. After three weeks the standings look a lot different to how analysts predicted them to be and there have been a bunch of things going on around the league that not a lot of people saw coming. Here are some of them:
The first game of the 2016 season is only two days away and so I tried to predict everything coming up, starting with the top three candidates for each NFL award, the seedings for both the AFC and NFC, the Super Bowl matchup and a couple of other predictions.
The big game is just over a day from now and for this special anniversary in San Francisco I wanted to do a little preview. So I determined the keys for both teams offensively and defensively, predicted the final score and the game’s MVP. As a bonus I added a bold prediction.