The final game of the 2017 NFL season has come down to the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. 

NRG Stadium, site of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game, is pictured Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in Houston. The New England Patriots will face the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl Sunday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

NRG Stadium, site of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game, is pictured Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in Houston. The New England Patriots will face the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl Sunday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Super Bowl LI will feature Atlanta’s top scoring offense against the league’s stingiest defense. The Patriots will also bring along Tom Brady, who has a chance to break a three-way tie with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback. Atlanta is the clear underdog heading into the matchup, but their offense gives them a chance to do the unthinkable. So, who will win Super Bowl LI? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate this important question.

Riley: Julio Jones and Matt Ryan give Atlanta one of the best quarterback/wide receiver duos in the league. Then you add Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, arguably the best running back duo in the league to go along with a rock-solid offensive line. I like Atlanta’s chances behind this high-powered spread offense. The indoor setting in Houston will make the Falcons feel more comfortable and give them an opportunity to put their speed to a test. Atlanta hasn’t been stopped all season, and they won’t be stopped this weekend either.

Green: Everyone talks about Atlanta’s offense and many mention New England’s defense, but people forget that the Patriots have their own explosive scoring unit. Expect New England’s defense to hold up against Atlanta after two weeks to prepare. But the real difference will be Brady versus Atlanta’s undermanned defense. The Falcons were in the bottom 10 teams in the league in both yards allowed per game and points allowed. That won’t cut it against a rested and prepared Brady. A solid defense and a very smart and savvy offense has been a killer combo all season and that duo will prove too formidable in the championship.

Riley: Atlanta didn’t sport lofty defensive statistics during the season because their offense gave them a fairly large cushion in most games. But when the playoffs arrived they had an aggressive defensive attack that pressed passers and gobbled up sacks. Edge rusher Vic Beasley led the NFL in sacks, and it’s league-wide knowledge that heavy pressure is the best weapon against Brady and Co. The Falcons are set up perfectly to disassemble New England on the biggest stage. This could be another Super Bowl upset with the Patriots once again on the wrong end.

Green: New England gets a lot of credit as a franchise—because it simply should. The Patriots are the model organization with a coach who gets it right a lot more than he gets it wrong. New England always takes out the opposition’s top weapon, so I anticipate them limiting Julio Jones, even as crazy as that sounds. Once they do that, the sky is the limit for Brady and this offense. He’ll play with an edge knowing he has a chance to surpass Joe Montana in Super Bowl rings earned. Brady will be nearly 40 years old by the time next season starts. This may very well be the last hurrah for both Brady and coach Bill Belichick and they’ll take advantage of the moment. People picking Atlanta are merely doing so to spice things up, but we already know what will happen: New England will win Super Bowl LI.

Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley

AFRO Sports Desk