The 2017 NFL playoffs? Meh. But talk about a sweet matchup for Super Bowl LI. The Falcons are going to get another shot to win their first NFL championship, thanks to a dominant 44-21 victory on Sunday afternoon over the Green Bay Packers. And they’re going to “host” the New England Patriots, who also dominated their opponent on Sunday in a cruise control 36-15 victory over the Steelers.
The Falcons’ previous Super Bowl appearance came after the 1998 season and ended in a 34-19 loss to the Broncos.
The matchup features the best offense in the NFL (Atlanta) coming out of the NFC against the best defense in the league (New England) coming out of the AFC.
Everyone in Atlanta was pretty excited about the outcome.
And the scene was no less jubilant in New England.
The close line is a big plus, especially coupled with a historically huge over/under — which opened at 57 in some places and is already up to 60 at Sportsbook.ag and climbing there in Vegas — because it should mean we get a fun shootout.
Atlanta looked unstoppable on offense, but Bill Belichick can probably conjure up a little bit better of a defense with two weeks to prepare than whatever the Packers offered up on Sunday. Still, good luck slowing down Julio Jones.
And Chris Hogan, right? Both guys had 180 receiving yards on Sunday, with Hogan repeatedly torching the Steelers, who decided not to cover him throughout the game.
The hope here is that this game can salvage the 2017 NFL playoffs, which were largely awful. The Cowboys-Packers game was fantastic and the Chiefs-Steelers game was close. But everything else was basically a 20-point blowout that simply wasn’t enjoyable.
With the way Kyle Shanahan is calling games and the way Matt Ryan is operating, the Falcons should be able to compete with the Pats. Tom Brady and Ryan both threw for more than 375 yards Sunday, meaning even though New England’s defense limits teams to scoring, this should be a shootout.
Sixty minutes of teams slinging the ball all over the place in a close Super Bowl would be enough to make us forget about a largely boring postseason.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / NFL playoffs bracket: Postseason delivers enticing Patriots vs. Falcons matchup