• Matt Scher, Zach Sturgill

Down, Set, Hut - Super Bowl Time Comet sports team disagrees on Feb. 5 outcome

The Atlanta Falcons will hoist up the Vince Lombardi trophy at the end of the night this Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

There, I said it. The Falcons, although inferior in strength in defense compared to the New England Patriots, have an offense that will fare well in an offensive showdown between Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidates Tom Brady of New England and Matt Ryan of Atlanta.

The Falcons have never won the Super Bowl in the previous 50 years of the team’s existence, with only one appearance in Super Bowl XXXIII in January 1999, losing to the Denver Broncos 34-19 in Miami, Florida. Contrary to New England, the city of Atlanta’s fan base is hungry for an unprecedented achievement in the franchises’ 51-year history, a Super Bowl championship.

Ryan, in his ninth season as the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, posted the best season of his career in 2016, including career highs in multiple statistical categories, where he registered 4,944 passing yards, 38 touchdown passes, 117.1 passer rating and completed 69.9 percent of his passes. In addition to his career highs, Ryan threw only seven

interceptions in 2016, the fewest of his career, according to pro-football-reference.com.

In addition to Ryan, the offense boasts of superstars such as running back Devonta Freeman and wide receiver Julio Jones. Freeman is coming off of his second consecutive season with 1,000 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. Jones has dominated the league with three consecutive seasons of 1,400 or more receiving yards according to pro-football-reference.com.

Jones’ dominance goes beyond the regular season and into the playoffs. In the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship, the Falcons obliterated the Green Bay Packers’ defense with Jones recording 180 receiving yards on nine catches, according to pro-football-referenece.com.

The Falcons had an easy time shutting down Green Bay’s potent offense led by Aaron Rodgers for a 24-0 lead at halftime in a 44-21 win on Jan. 22. Rodgers finished the regular season by “running the table” to win the NFC North division title, looking unstoppable until facing the Falcons. The Falcons ability to shut down Rodgers looks encouraging if they can duplicate that success against the Patriots this Sunday.

The Falcons defense is led by linebackers Vic Beasley and Deion Jones, cornerback Robert Alford and safety Ricardo Allen. Beasley is coming off a 2016 season in which he led the league with 15.5 sacks. Also, Jones led the team with three interceptions and recorded 75 tackles this year. The defensive secondary is led by Alford and Allen who both have two interceptions on the season and were a part of the stellar defensive play in the NFC Championship game against the Packers according to pro-football-reference.com.