Falcons and Patriots set to showdown in Super Bowl LI

Four time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady faces off against potential NFL MVP Matt Ryan.

Photo illustration by Grant Aden

Four time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady faces off against potential NFL MVP Matt Ryan.

After 20 weeks of emotion and passion, ups and down, the 2016 football season nears its final conclusion: Super Bowl LI.

The annual athletic extravaganza will feature the New England Patriots led by four time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady facing off against the Atlanta Falcons and potential NFL most valuable player Matt Ryan.

“It will be a shoot-out, Atlanta’s offense is rolling and Tom Brady always makes the Patriots offense good no matter who he is throwing the ball to, so I expect it to be a high-scoring game,” senior Chris Williams said.

To reach the Super Bowl, the Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game 36 to 17. In which, Brady threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including two to wide receiver Chris Hogan

“Specifically what went wrong was our defense, our cornerbacks were just not marking up on the Patriots tight end and the free safety was not quick enough on his feet,” lifelong Steelers fan, freshmen Matthew Loaney said. “Then offensively, Le’veon Bell getting hurt was a big blow to our offense and their mindset. So basically our defense was just caught on their heels and offensively we just couldn’t do enough.”

Likewise, to reach the Super Bowl, the Falcons defeated the Green Bay Packers led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers 44 to 21 in the NFC championship game.

“My parents are from Green Bay and so they raised me to be a huge Packers fan. I did not think we were going to win, the team was very hurt, we had 15 people that were injured going into the game and then the first play of the game someone got hurt again,” senior Nick Wotruba said. “I was pretty upset, pretty sad, pretty angry. The Packers had a lot of missed opportunities, they could have had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, but they got zero.”

Entering the Super Bowl the Falcons boast the league’s highest-scoring offense, while the Patriots command a defense that was in the top 10 of defenses during the regular season.

“I am looking forward to it because I would love to see the patriots lose, not just because they beat the Steelers but I not a big fan of the way they play, how with them cheating in the past couple years and stuff like that,” Loaney said. “And then the Falcons have not really been great for a while, so I would love to see them get a title for their organization.”

The game will be played in Houston, TX in NRG stadium on Feb. 5.

“I think it’s going to be an offensive battle, I think each team is going to score a lot of points, each defense is no match for the opposing offense. So it’s just going to come down whose offense performs better,” junior Zaven Nalbandian III said. “I’m predicting 38 to 35, New England. With the MVP being Tom Brady. I expect him to have a big day and their passing game with receivers like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.”

Tom Brady will be participating in the seventh Super Bowl of his career, the most recent of which was back in 2015, when the Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28 to 24.

“I think it’s going to be a really close game, but I think the Falcons are going to pull it out,” Loaney said. “Maybe by just a touchdown or so because their offense is so powerful, likewise the Patriots offense is also. But I think the Falcons are really going to rise up occasion and finish the job.”