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Why the Atlanta Falcons Can Reach the Super Bowl


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Hey guys, back with another article for you. What an awesome season and as always, thanks for reading! B)

http://profootballspot.com/nfl/news/nfl/nfc-south/atlanta-falcons/why-the-atlanta-falcons-can-reach-the-super-bowl-r3245/

The Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints, 38-32, on Sunday and secured the second seed in the upcoming NFC playoffs. This, obviously, means the Falcons will have a first-round bye and are guaranteed at least one playoff game in the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, now 11-5, has missed the playoffs each of the last three seasons, but have a renewed energy and confidence under head coach Dan Quinn that could propel them into Super Bowl LI. So here are three primary reasons why the Falcons could be primed to eventually punch their ticket to Houston:

1. The Brotherhood

Quinn has connected with the team and, in turn, the players have connected with each other. A deep bond was formed when Quinn brought in Navy SEALs to lead the Falcons through exercises in the offseason that have sharpened their character and unselfishness.

The players have talked about this connection all season long and each player wears a "Brotherhood" shirt underneath their uniform during each game. The team has a never quit attitude and have shown that they will fight for each other. The brotherhood is something that can't be taught or bought, it simply has to be forged in adversity and this team is the only one in the NFC that has it. 

2. The Prolific Offense

The Falcons offense scored the most points in the NFL this season (541). As if that isn't dominant enough, the unit averages 10.8 points more than the league average of 22.7.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has so many weapons, you may not have even heard of some of them. You know wideout Julio Jones and the two-headed backfield of running backs Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman. Most defenses playing against Atlanta have also learned of the names Aldrick Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy, or Levine Toilolo.

In fact, the offense is so deep with weapons that it now owns the NFL record for having 13 different players catch a touchdown pass in the same season. Ryan will finish with an NFL-best 117.1 passer rating to go with the highest yards-per-attempt figure (9.26) ever by a quarterback with 400 or more passes in a single season. 

Here is the bottom line, no defense in the NFC playoff picture is good enough to slow down Atlanta, especially in the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome. That is a recipe for high flying victories. 

3. Opportunistic Defense 

Atlanta never been known for having a very good defense, but this unit has begun to take big strides under the defensive-minded Quinn.

For starters, they have the most productive pass rusher in the NFL in Vic Beasley Jr., who lead the league with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. Additionally, the unit as a whole intercepted 13 passes and forced 17 fumbles in the regular season. They are young, fast, and have the talent to make game changing plays.

Rookie linebacker Deion Jones posted 108 total tackles and three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Rookie safety Keanu Neal posted 106 total tackles and forced five fumbles. Both of those players are candidates for defensive rookie of the year and have changed the dynamic for this defense to a hard-hitting and playmaking unit.

 

Josh Schultz is a staff writer for Pro Football Spot's Atlanta Falcons Coverage. Follow Josh on twitter @draftblackboard and on his Facebook page: Josh Schultz, Pro Football Spot.  

#RiseUp 

Edited by SnellingSomethingGood
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20 hours ago, SnellingSomethingGood said:

Hey guys, back with another article for you. What an awesome season and as always, thanks for reading! B)

http://profootballspot.com/nfl/news/nfl/nfc-south/atlanta-falcons/why-the-atlanta-falcons-can-reach-the-super-bowl-r3245/

The Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints, 38-32, on Sunday and secured the second seed in the upcoming NFC playoffs. This, obviously, means the Falcons will have a first-round bye and are guaranteed at least one playoff game in the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, now 11-5, has missed the playoffs each of the last three seasons, but have a renewed energy and confidence under head coach Dan Quinn that could propel them into Super Bowl LI. So here are three primary reasons why the Falcons could be primed to eventually punch their ticket to Houston:

1. The Brotherhood

Quinn has connected with the team and, in turn, the players have connected with each other. A deep bond was formed when Quinn brought in Navy SEALs to lead the Falcons through exercises in the offseason that have sharpened their character and unselfishness.

The players have talked about this connection all season long and each player wears a "Brotherhood" shirt underneath their uniform during each game. The team has a never quit attitude and have shown that they will fight for each other. The brotherhood is something that can't be taught or bought, it simply has to be forged in adversity and this team is the only one in the NFC that has it. 

2. The Prolific Offense

The Falcons offense scored the most points in the NFL this season (541). As if that isn't dominant enough, the unit averages 10.8 points more than the league average of 22.7.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has so many weapons, you may not have even heard of some of them. You know wideout Julio Jones and the two-headed backfield of running backs Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman. Most defenses playing against Atlanta have also learned of the names Aldrick Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy, or Levine Toilolo.

In fact, the offense is so deep with weapons that it now owns the NFL record for having 13 different players catch a touchdown pass in the same season. Ryan will finish with an NFL-best 117.1 passer rating to go with the highest yards-per-attempt figure (9.26) ever by a quarterback with 400 or more passes in a single season. 

Here is the bottom line, no defense in the NFC playoff picture is good enough to slow down Atlanta, especially in the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome. That is a recipe for high flying victories. 

3. Opportunistic Defense 

Atlanta never been known for having a very good defense, but this unit has begun to take big strides under the defensive-minded Quinn.

For starters, they have the most productive pass rusher in the NFL in Vic Beasley Jr., who lead the league with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. Additionally, the unit as a whole intercepted 13 passes and forced 17 fumbles in the regular season. They are young, fast, and have the talent to make game changing plays.

Rookie linebacker Deion Jones posted 108 total tackles and three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Rookie safety Keanu Neal posted 106 total tackles and forced five fumbles. Both of those players are candidates for defensive rookie of the year and have changed the dynamic for this defense to a hard-hitting and playmaking unit.

 

Josh Schultz is a staff writer for Pro Football Spot's Atlanta Falcons Coverage. Follow Josh on twitter @draftblackboard and on his Facebook page: Josh Schultz, Pro Football Spot.  

#RiseUp 

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Cowboys-Patriots is a Super Bowl worth rooting for

Dak Prescott's and Tom Brady's teams each have earned their conference's top seeds entering the playoffs.
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  • Ian O'ConnorESPN

We are a nation of sports fans hopelessly in love with the little guy, the opponent facing trillion-to-one odds. We are always looking for the next Lake Placid, the next Douglas over Tyson, the next Jimmy V scrambling around for a hug, the next Joe Namath guaranteeing a victory over Goliath and then delivering the rock as accurately as David delivered his.

Fifteen years ago, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady knew the feeling. They were supposed to get pancaked in Super Bowl XXXVI by the St. Louis Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf, and they scored an indelible upset instead. Adam Vinatieri nailed the deciding field goal on the final play and then told his former kicking coach that night that he peeked a bit early on the follow-through, because even he needed to watch the ball's full flight into legend.

How times have changed for the New England Patriots, nobody's idea of a lovable long shot anymore. Their coach and quarterback are trying to become the first in their positions to win five Super Bowls, and the Patriots' staggering run of success (14 consecutive seasons of double-figure victories) coupled with the old Spygate case and not-so-old Deflategate case has encouraged outsiders everywhere to view them as the league's answer to a Death Star.

But it's time to go ahead and root for the Patriots to make their seventh Super Bowl appearance in the Belichick-Brady era. In fact, for those who don't have a local interest in the NFL's postseason tournament, it also makes sense to root for the top heavyweight on the NFC side of the bracket, the Dallas Cowboys, to make the short trip to Houston and meet New England in what would be the mother of all Super Bowls.

Yes, a Patriots-Cowboys matchup would pretty much nuke from memory all those alarming TV ratings stories from earlier this season. It would pit the return of the NFL's most successful team against the resurgence of the NFL's most popular team. It would pit the 2016 Brady against the player and situation that best embodies the 2001 Brady -- Dak Prescott. It would pit the Death Star against the Dallas Star, the most recognizable logo and brand in the sport.

Oh, and it would pit Jerry Jones against his own associates counseling him to spend the days before the game saying less than Belichick. What would be the over/under on ol' Jerry guaranteeing victory, or a Tony Romo appearance against the Patriots, or both during Super Bowl week -- Monday at 6 p.m.?

Either way, if you're in the business of hoping for the best game and the best entertainment, New England-Dallas is the way to go. Here are the next best Super Bowl alternatives, in order of preference:

Patriots-Giants -- If Belichick still sees David Tyree (Super Bowl XLII) and Mario Manningham (Super Bowl XLVI) in his nightmares, imagine what Odell Beckham Jr. would do to his pregame sleep patterns. It's hard to picture Ben McAdoo's Giants going on the tears Tom Coughlin's teams went on to twice beat the Patriots, but Eli Manning is still upright and still a two-time Super Bowl MVP who has no reason to fear Belichick's big-game schemes. "Postseason Eli," as offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan calls him, would need to play a lot better than Regular Season Eli to make it happen.

The Giants have already denied the 2007 Patriots a chance to finish 19-0 and go down as the greatest team ever. It would be fun watching Belichick try to slay the last legacy dragon on his schedule and finally beat the franchise that made him an up-and-coming coaching star in a different life.

If the Patriots advance to Super Bowl LI, it will mark the seventh appearance for coach Bill Belichick in the Tom Brady era. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Steelers-Cowboys -- They played a wonderful game in November, won by Dallas, and it would be fitting for the Cowboys to have to go through the Steelers to win a Super Bowl for the first time since they beat Pittsburgh 21 years ago. As much as Cowboys fans enjoyed that triumph over Neil O'Donnell's team, the two losses to Terry Bradshaw's in the 1970s still haunt those old enough to remember. Bradshaw-Franco Harris-Lynn Swann has been replaced by Ben Roethlisberger-Le'Veon Bell-Antonio Brown, but the good news in Dallas is that the rookie Prescott has already shown Staubachian intellect and poise.

The Steelers and Cowboys have won a combined 11 Super Bowls and, because of that, have immense national fan bases. The NFL would sign up for this matchup in a heartbeat.

Patriots-Packers -- A rematch of a Super Bowl XXXI seized by Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren at the expense of Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells. Belichick was a Patriots assistant back then, and the relationship he built with owner Robert Kraft, a Parcells antagonist, ultimately led to his 2000 hiring as head coach.

This game would be billed as the presumed greatest quarterback ever, Brady, going up against the current quarterback with the best physical skill set, Aaron Rodgers. Brady once told someone he thought Rodgers is so talented he would throw for 7,000 yards a season in the Patriots' system. Rodgers would have more on the line here than his more accomplished counterpart. The Packers quarterback is 33, and if he doesn't want to go down as a one-and-done champ like his predecessor, Brett Favre, he'd better act soon.

In the end, the two No. 1 seeds have extremely manageable paths to the Super Bowl. On the AFC side, only the Steelers figure to have a credible shot of winning in Foxborough. On the NFC side, don't expect Prescott to take a bye-week vacation to Cabo the way Romo did in January 2008, before the 13-3, top-seeded Cowboys lost their first playoff game to the Giants.

Dallas has one of the best rookie quarterbacks and running backs in league history, an all-world offensive line and enough veteran weapons at receiver and tight end to hang with New England point for point. The Patriots and Cowboys are without question the two best teams in football and the two most capable of staging an unforgettable show in Houston.

So local rooting interests aside, sports fans should suspend their undying affection for the underdog long enough to let this mega-collision go down. This is the right time to pull for the overdogs. A New England-Dallas Super Bowl is the best available option on the board.

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