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2017 NFL Superbowl 51 Predictions
Updated: October 2017

When the AFC champion New England Patriots take the field on Feb. 5 in the Super Bowl 51, they will be making history. In facing the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, the Patriots will be competing in a record ninth Super Bowl. Both Dallas and Pittsburgh had also been to eight such games. The Patriots 36-17 victory over the Steelers in the AFC title game gave the franchise a ninth trip to the NFL’s ultimate game. A number of other interesting facts are related to Super Bowls and this one in particular, Super Bowl 51. Here’s a look.

Since this is an odd-numbered year, the NFC representative will be the home team. That means the Falcons will wear their home red jerseys. New England will wear white. The team wearing white jerseys has won 11 of the past 12 Super Bowls and white-clad teams are 32-18 overall.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have the opportunity to win his fifth Super Bowl. Currently, he is tied with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, who each won four during their careers. Some quarterbacks have had much less success in Super Bowls like Buffalo’s Jim Kelly who lost four times. Oakland’s Rich Gannon made it to Super Bowl XXXVII but threw a record five interceptions. His Raiders lost to Tampa Bay.

This year’s Super Bowl will likely be one of the most watched television programs of the year as it has been for the past several. The first two Super Bowls, known then as the AFL-NFL World Championship, were not even broadcast in real time. At one point, it was believed that the film of the games had been copied over to film soap operas, but the footage was found and preserved.

The Super Bowl winner will have much to cheer about. The team will have earned a Lombardi Trophy. Each year, the trophy is manufactured by Tiffany & Co. at a cost of around $25,000. The trophy is constructed of sterling silver with a regulation size football sitting on top. The Lombardi Trophy weighs in at seven pounds and stands 22 inches tall. Players will also have something to cheer about when they receive their winning game check - $107,000. Losers can let out a much smaller cheer at $53,000. Winners and losers would likely cheer a little louder had they chosen baseball as a career. The World Series winning Cubs received $512,000 per player while the losers, the Cleveland Indians, each received a check for $261,804.

The Falcons are this year’s underdog opening at +3. Should QB Matt Ryan and Atlanta pull the upset as Denver did a year ago, it would give New England another place in the Super Bowl record book. The Patriots would tie the Broncos for most Super Bowl losses with five. One record that surely will not be broken at Super Bowl 51 is the all-time attendance record. NRG Stadium in Houston, where this year’s game will be played, has a seating capacity of just over 72,000. There is no chance that the paid attendance will come close to the record of 103,985 that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV.

One thing fans will definitely see plenty of this year is offense. Ryan and Brady were two of the top QBs in the league this season. Ryan led the NFL with 4,944 yards passing. Brady, who missed the first four games of the season due to the whole Deflate-gate ordeal, finished the regular season with 3,554 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. He set a franchise record in the AFC title game with 384 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Pittsburgh. Ryan has been just as good, if not better, with 730 yards and seven touchdowns in the postseason. The difference in Super Bowl 51 will likely be the play of both teams’ defenses.



The Patriots was the best in the NFL in terms of scoring during the regular season. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia (a rocket scientist, yes, for real) and head coach Bill Belichick patched together a unit that allowed just 15.6 points per game. In the postseason, New England gave up 16 to Houston and then held high-octane Pittsburgh to nine points before a late fourth-quarter touchdown and two-point conversion made it 17.

The Falcons, on the other hand, are one of the NFL’s poorer defenses in terms of statistics. They were 25th in total defense, 28th in pass defense, and 27th in scoring defense. One bright spot was defensive end Vic Beasley who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks. Atlanta will have to pressure Brady somehow and slow down the Patriots running game if they are to have a chance. Historically, when very good offenses face very good defenses in the Super Bowl, the old adage is usually true:

 

Defense wins championships. As a result, picking this year’s Super Bowl winner is easy…
New England 27, Atlanta 17

 

New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons

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+130

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Odds to win the 2017 Super Bowl 51
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The 16 teams that have made the NFL playoffs begin their trek toward a Super Bowl title this weekend. While the favorites may appear to be Dallas in the NFC and New England in the AFC, anything can happen. Here’s a look at a few possible scenarios.

New York Giants
The Giants have won two Super Bowls in the past 10 seasons. Both times, they entered the postseason having to play in the Wild Card Playoffs. Both times, they had to defeat Green Bay and both times they wound up defeating the Patriots for the Lombardi Trophy. This postseason could be eerily similar. The Giants will face the Packers, a team they lost to earlier in the season, in the wild card round. New York’s defense is second in the NFL in scoring defense and the offense, with QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr., does just enough to win. The Packers are one of the hottest teams in the league right now with six straight wins to close the regular season.

 

A Giants win, coupled with the likely victory by Seattle over Detroit would send New York to top-seeded Dallas in the divisional round. The Giants have already beaten the Cowboys twice this season proving that they are clearly capable. Another upset would send the Giants to the NFC title game likely against No. 2 seed Atlanta. Three straight upsets would put first-year head coach Ben McAdoo back in the Super Bowl against the likely AFC champion, New England. And, we all know how the Giants have done against the Patriots in Super Bowls.

New England Patriots
Even without future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games, New England managed to go 14-2, win the AFC East for the eighth straight season, and get the conference’s top seed in the playoffs. New England will likely face Houston or Oakland in the divisional round. It really doesn’t matter who it is because the Patriots destroyed Houston 27-0 during the regular season and Oakland will start a rookie quarterback. Where it could get interesting is when the Pats have to face either Kansas City or Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game. New England beat the Steelers during the regular season but did so while Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger was injured.


That could make a big difference, but remember the Patriots own the league’s best scoring defense. Kansas City’s offense is not as dynamic as Pittsburgh’s, but the Chiefs beat two playoff teams, Atlanta and Oakland, plus Denver twice in the last six weeks of the season. The Alex Smith-led offense scored 29 or more points in four of those games. Still, it is hard to believe anyone beating New England in the AFC this year. Head coach Bill Belichick has proved that he may be the greatest coach of all-time with the job that he has done this year.

Dallas Cowboys
One of the heavy favorites to win this year’s Super Bowl is the Dallas Cowboys. After going 4-12 a season ago, Dallas recorded one of the best regular seasons in recent memory. After starting quarterback Tony Romo went down with an injury in Week 1, rookie Dak Prescott took over and made the job his. The former Mississippi State quarterback has played with the poise and confidence of an experienced veteran. Prescott threw for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions. He was not the only rookie to make a huge impact on the Cowboys. When Dallas drafted RB Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, they knew they had something special. Turns out, Elliott ran for 1,631 yards to lead the entire NFL in rushing. The Cowboys could not have done it without the league’s best offensive line and the Dallas defense is a Top 5 unit. The Cowboys earned the top seed in the NFC postseason and will have a week off to prepare for their first playoff opponent. It will likely be the winner of the Giants-Packers wild card game.

Dallas beat Green Bay 30-16 during the regular season and lost both of its games to the Giants this year. It would be awful hard for New York to beat the same team three times in one season. Whoever Dallas plays in the divisional round, they are in for a heavy dose of Elliott and the precision passing of Prescott. With a win, the Cowboys would advance to the NFC title game and a likely matchup with Atlanta, the No. 2 seed. Dallas has lost to the Falcons the last two times the teams have played (in 2015 and in 2012), but has beaten Atlanta twice in the playoffs (back in 1978 and 1981). Atlanta would enter the game with the NFL’s best offense, but was held below its season average in points against the league’s better defenses. Dallas is fifth in the NFL in scoring defense. After beating the Falcons, the Cowboys would most likely face the AFC favorite, New England in the Super Bowl. The last time the Cowboys won a Super Bowl was in 1996. The Patriots have won four since then. The Cowboys would finish one of the most remarkable seasons in NFL history with a victory over one of the league’s all-time best dynasties in Super Bowl 51.

 

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The 2017 NFL Playoffs are already here, and so starts the talks of Super Bowl favorites, betting odds, free picks and of course the prop bets. NFL Football remains America's favorite game because it's always full of surprises. It seems like every year a team that looks like a Pro Bowl Squad on paper winds up falling flat on their face.


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