Super Bowl LI: Ebony Bird Staff Predictions And Analysis

Jan 31, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; General overall view of New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons helmets at NRG Stadium prior to Super Bowl LI on Feb 5, 2017. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 31, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; General overall view of New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons helmets at NRG Stadium prior to Super Bowl LI on Feb 5, 2017. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The writers here at Ebony Bird give their predictions and analysis for the big game

Super Bowl LI is this Sunday and all around the internet you experts giving their predictions and analysis for the big game. The writers here at EbonyBird.com thought they would do the same and give their Super Bowl input.

Do not worry, even though we are a Baltimore Ravens blog, there will be no bias against the New England Patriots (Maybe just a little).

Joe Schiller: Expert

This is a tough one for me. As much as I want the New England Patriots to lose, I do not think it is going to happen. That being said, I think this is going to be a much closer game than people expect.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense have been on a tear this season. They have put up big numbers and are not a one dimensional offense. The passing game gets most of the credit with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been a two-headed monster in the backfield. Both are also effective in the passing game as well. The Falcons defense has been highly underrated this season and played fantastic against Aaron Rodgers and company last week. Vic Beasley is quietly having a great season and he will provide pressure on Tom Brady.

As great as the Falcons are, they do not beat Tom Brady. He has the ability to turn normal players into superstars. With Rob Gronkowski out, Brady is relying on receivers like Julian Edleman and Chris Hogan. Keep in mind Edleman played quarterback at Kent State and Hogan played 4 years of lacrosse at Penn State. The receivers are like the island of misfit toys and they get the job done every week. The defense has played very well, especially against the Steelers in the AFC Championship. The duo of Malcom Butler and Logan Ryan are very solid. They are going to have a great match-up with Julio Jones and the rest of the Falcons receivers.

It’s going to be a high scoring game and I think it will hit the over (for all you gamblers out there). Tom Brady will lead his team down the field and set up a Gostkowski  game winning field goal.

Prediction: 34-31 Patriots

MVP: Chris Hogan

Feb 2, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan answers questions during a press conference at Westin Houston Memorial City Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 2, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan answers questions during a press conference at Westin Houston Memorial City Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Schisler: Expert

It is too easy to fall into the narrative that the Patriots have such a wealth of Super Bowl experience that they will have an advantage. They may seem like a Goliath type of a team, but I am not willing to cast the Falcons as David. The Falcons are not underdogs, rather they are equals. When you look at the Atlanta Falcons, you see a team that is explosive. They can attack every inch of the field, horizontally and vertically, which will pressure the Patriots defense. They have a superstar in Julio Jones. The Patriots can try to stop Jones all they want, but the Falcons had 13 players catch a touchdown pass in the regular season. The Falcons have too much speed to be stopped, even by the number one scoring defense in the NFL.

A prediction in this game almost seems silly. This game is destined to come down to one final possession, and no prognosticator has the skill to predict who will have the ball last. The match up favors the Falcons though. The Falcons defense has gotten better every week of the season; their pass rushing has been a real factor in their success. I think they can hit Brady and rattle him just enough to slow the Patriots down. Neither team will have a surplus of stops, but the Falcons speed on both sides of the ball will make them victorious.

Matt Ryan is not Tom Brady, but he doesn’t have to be. He has weapons, a good offensive line and a phenomenal offensive coordinator in Kyle Shanahan. This is a battle between the Falcons offensive guru, and the Patriots all-time great game planner Bill Belichick. I think the Falcons have too much fire power to be stopped. Give me the Falcons.

Prediction: Falcons 35-28

MVP: Matt Ryan

Feb 1, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at a press conference at the JW Marriott Galleria in advance of Super Bowl LI. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 1, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at a press conference at the JW Marriott Galleria in advance of Super Bowl LI. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Brooks: Contributor

A top-notch defense taking on a high-powered offense always makes for an intriguing match-up. The Atlanta Falcons’ offense, lead by Kyle Shanahan, has found its rhythm. Matt Ryan is having a Flacco-like performance during their playoff run and Julio Jones is a monster that cannot be stopped. But the Patriots are always going to be good. They have been there before and head coach Bill Belichick always has a plan to stop any offense. Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are playing excellent, and Devin McCourty is still having stellar play at the safety position.

As much as it hurts us Ravens fans, Tom Brady and the Patriots are back in the big game. Their offense is also clicking even without one of their best weapons, Rob Gronkowski. Legarrette Blount is a bruiser and Chris Hogan is playing the best football of his career. But the Falcons are also figuring out things on the defensive end. After not playing to its potential to start the year, they have better in the latter half of the year. Vic Beasley is a fierce pass rusher, and the secondary, even without Desmond Trufant, is playing up to par lately.

The Patriots will come out slow, but the Falcons will do the opposite. They will stay hot on offense while the Patriots feel their opponent out. But we’ve seen Brady come back before. The 2014 Divisional Playoffs against the Ravens is a prime example. And I think this game will be a near replica of that game. The Falcons will have the lead a couple times, but the Patriots have been here before. They know how to bounce back and they eventually will. Tom Brady will lead his team to victory once more for his 5th super bowl victory with a stellar game.

Prediction: Patriots, 38-31

MVP: Tom Brady

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