"I think it’s going to be a classic NFL game. I believe that the Patriots have a number of advantages. The 21 players with previous Super Bowl experience, the head coach with all his experience and expertise, also after a bye week. But also they have that guy, and that’s Tom Brady. And if you don’t like Tom Brady, you just don’t like excellence.
His ability to be able to block out everything in the biggest year of his life - and to me, I go back to… he gave us a little glimpse the other day. He’s just a regular man like the rest of us. When he talked about his mother, his mother being ill, and this was the only opportunity that his momma was going to get a chance to watch him play.
Now I’m a ball player, and I come from a single parent home. Not the kind of home Tom Brady [came from], but I’ve talked to enough athletes - and that’s why for years, all we’ve seen guys say is on TV, whenever they get on TV, from high school to college, what do they say? ‘Hey momma.’ Because every young man that I’ve ever met, they were always playing to make their mother happy. And today, I think that that mother, and that chip on his shoulder, it makes a difference.
I’m going with the Pats 26, Dirty Birds 24."
Michael MadridMichael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Atlanta over New England, 35-30
I’m taking the Falcons. I’m taking the Falcons in a close one. I’ve got the Falcons, 35-30.
"We saw what the Chicago Cubs did after 108 years. We saw what LeBron and the Cavs did, bringing a championship to the city of Cleveland after 54 years.
So after 51 years, the Atlanta Falcons will bring the second championship to the city of Atlanta.
The way they’re going to have to do it, they’re going to have to stay away from negative plays on first down. They can’t be good on third down, they must be great. And when you get into the red zone, you’ve got to score touchdowns instead of kick field goals.
I love how… ‘man, you give coach Belichick two weeks to prepare…’ Well what do you think Kyle Shanahan and Dan Quinn was doing. Playing Yahtzee and Pinochle? They’ve been preparing too! They meet and practice also.
But the pressure is immense on Tom Brady because he’s going for history. You remember last time they were going for history? They were 18-0. He was the MVP. And the weight of the world, you could see he played with that weight."
Dale ZanineDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: New England over Atlanta, 32-20
"I said before the season started that Tom Brady was going to win this Super Bowl and be Super Bowl MVP. And I feel even better about my preseason prediction at this very moment.
I’m going New England 32, New England 20. And I’ve got to tell you, my prediction is solely based on No. 12 for New England.
A little perspective. Step back from this. New England is a three-point favorite, and yet New England has no pass rush and Matt Ryan conducts the most explosive we may have ever seen in this game? And Atlanta has three more talented receivers, faster receivers than Tom Brady does.
But wait a second, New England’s still a three-point favorite? Tom Brady is 39 years of age. Wait a second, New England is still a three-point favorite over the high-flying Atlanta Falcons? I’ts all because of Tom Brady. He has the weight of the NFL world on him and he’s going to stand up to it and live up to it. And he will be the MVP but he will have some help from the X-factor I’ve told you all week. LeGarrette Blount will unleashed between the tackles tonight."