It will be the Atlanta Falcons against the New England Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl.
For the Patriots, the path to the Super Bowl has never been easier. For the Falcons, the NFC promises to be a dogfight, figuratively speaking of course.
Let’s start with the AFC where only three teams have a chance. The Texans, Raiders and Dolphins all crawl into the postseason with backup QBs and are not contenders.
The Raiders are in the worst shape of all as rookie Connor Cook will get his first NFL start in a playoff game against the Texans. QB Derek Carr’s injury has sent the Raider offense spiraling. That’s not good news for a team that wins with offense.
The Texans bring their own QB questions into the wildcard game and will start Brock Osweiler. The main difference here is the Texans are used to winning without a QB. They have won the AFC South two straight years despite having miserable QB play.
The Patriots will only have one tough game to reach the Super Bowl, that being the AFC Championship against either Pittsburgh or Kansas City. I like Kansas City to reach the AFC Championship because the Chiefs have been brutally consistent the second half of the season, with the exception of losing to a much-improved Titans team.
In the NFC, I think every team has a legitimate shot to reach the Super Bowl with the exception of the long-limping Lions. A wildcard team and No. 6 seed, I don’t see any scenario where the Lions could win three straight on the road to win the NFC.
The Cowboys have been spectacular all season despite having a rookie QB and rookie RB. The Packers are surging and have won six straight since getting shellacked by the Titans in Nashville.
The Giants won their last two Super Bowls after making the playoffs as a wildcard team and say they can do it again. I tend to think otherwise because QB Eli Manning seems to be entering the unsteady stage of his career.
Seattle is always pesky, mainly because the refs let the Seahawk DBs push and grab receivers all over the field. Other teams would draw game-changing pass interference penalties for the same plays, but Seattle never seems to get flagged.
The team I like to win the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons, boasts the best offense in the NFL after scoring a league-high 540 points. That’s 71 points more than the next highest team and 176 points above the league average.
The Falcons average a league-best 6.69 yards per play behind QB Matt Ryan, who tossed 38 TDs to just 7 interceptions and posted the best QB rating in the NFL.
Will the Falcons have enough to squeak past the Patriots for their first Super Bowl title? Absolutely! Besides, it’s too boring to pick New England.