An NFL season that began in the heat of September and has continued through, well, the heat of January has come down to this.
It’s the Falcons against the Patriots for the Super Bowl title.
The ride to get here has been bumpy as 2016 has knocked a few apples from the pro football cart. The Chargers said goodbye to San Diego and the Bills said goodbye to their head coach, Rex Ryan.
The Texans spent $18 million a year for QB Brock Osweiler and ended up paying $1.2 million for each of his 15 TD passes. No wonder popcorn costs so much at the game.
Both Super Bowl teams from last year, the Broncos and Panthers, failed to make the playoffs. It’s the first time that’s happened since 2003 when the Bucs and Raiders collapsed the year after reaching the Super Bowl.
The Jags showed they’re still the Jags and the Browns managed to piece together a win to avoid the 0-16 dungeon.
Speaking of the Browns, sportsbook CG Technology says it took more bets on the lowly Browns to win the Super Bowl than the Falcons. The only team to attract fewer bets than the Falcons, CG Technology says, was our beloved Tennessee Titans.
That brings us to this year’s Super Bowl breakdown. The Pats were established as early 3-point favorites with an over/under of 58, the highest in Super Bowl history.
The Falcons have scored over 30 points in 13 of their 18 games this year, including both playoff games. Atlanta put up 44 on Sunday against Green Bay.
The Patriots have the ability to make a WR out of anybody, the most recent example being Chris Hogan who announcers kept telling us Sunday used to play lacrosse. Hogan caught two TDs and the Pats scored 36 against Pittsburgh.
It’s the ninth Super Bowl for the Patriots, the most of any team. New England has won four.
It’s just the second rodeo for Atlanta, which has never won a Super Bowl. Odds aren’t in the Falcons’ corner as the Super Bowl favorite has ended up winning the game 32 of the 50 times, 64 percent.
The Nevada Gaming Control, which has been tracking wagers since 1991, says sportsbooks have come out ahead in 24 of 26 Super Bowls. All things considered, that means the gamblers have about a 9 percent chance of coming out on top.
So who’s going to win what’s expected to be a high-octane Super Bowl? I picked the Falcons over the Patriots before the playoffs began and I see no reason to change my stance. Matt Ryan and the Falcon offense are running full stride.