Why the New England Patriots Will Win Super Bowl LI
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
The Patriots enter Super Bowl LI coming off a 14-2 season, with two conclusive wins in the playoffs. Typically not a team that gets a lot of betting value, the Patriots were an amazing 15-3 against the spread this season, including the postseason. This year wasn't without tribulations, however, as the Pats were able to overcome a 4-game suspension of Tom Brady to begin the season, hardly missing a beat en route to gaining the top seed in the conference. They have a little extra edge this season, a chip on their shoulder as they look for their second Super Bowl title in three years. Coach Bill Belichick and Brady are looking to become the first to win five Super Bowls. If they are able to make it happen, it will be because of the following reasons:
Experience: There is a lot to be said for having been there before. For Brady and Belichick, this is far from a new experience, with this being both of their 7th appearance on this gigantic stage. They know how to thrive when the bright lights are at their brightest. The Super Bowl is a football game, but those who have been there before know it's far from just another game. In addition to playing the best team in the opposing conference, there are other elements unique to a Super Bowl experience that can make a team less-than-ideal. And New England has shown they can handle it. Sure, the Pats rotate their roster pretty actively and a lot of guys now on the team weren't even part of the Pats' Super Bowl-winning team of a few years ago. But at the top are a ton of players with the hardware to prove that they can shine in a spot like this.
Offense: The attention before the Super Bowl rightfully goes to an Atlanta offense that is diverse and the highest-scoring unit in football. New England wasn't that far off that pace, finishing third in the NFL in points scored. One thing they don't do is sabotage their own efforts, with a very low amount of turnovers and overall mistakes. It's also an offense of diversity, particularly after losing their only consistent game-changing piece in Rob Gronkowski. This postseason has illustrated their depth, first with RB Dion Lewis torching the Texans, before WR Chris Hogan lit up the Steelers in the conference title game. Leading this group is not merely a good quarterback, but a guy in Tom Brady who might be the best of all-time when it's all said and done. That's a tough package to beat.
Defense: Naturally, if New England hopes to notch yet another Super Bowl victory, their defense is going to have to be a big part of that equation. While the offense figures to be able to do their thing, they will be facing a peaking offense in Atlanta where there are any number of different players who can get you. New England can be fairly adept at taking away an opponent's star player, but with Atlanta, there are many offensive avenues to success and they won't be able to contain all of it. The old adage "defense wins championships" will have to hold water for the Patriots. And to their credit, their defense allowed the fewest points in the league this season. The way they shut down the strong Steelers' offense was a good warm-up for this matchup, where the Patriots defense will be tested like they haven't all season.
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All-Around Strength: With teams like New England, their strength is their completeness. While there might not be a single area of the game where they knock your socks off, there is no readily-identifiable area of weakness, either. They can throw the ball and run it, as well, but not to an extent that makes you forget about some of the great offenses we've seen. They can defend the pass well, but aren't infallible. Same with the run-defense. And that goes for special teams, as well. When someone asks what the Patriots are best at, one might struggle to come up with an answer. And that's not a bad thing. The Patriots are simply good at all levels of the game.
Coaching: You don't have to be a Bill Belichick fan to acknowledge he's been doing something right in his tenure at New England. It's not by accident that in a large majority of their games, they seem to have the right answers on both sides of the ball for their opponent. It will sometimes have a surgical look to it, as the Pats stress precision. The coaching is adaptable, with a knack of coming up with the right answers for all the different teams they play. They're not a team that just does the same thing every week, as they constantly tinker with their approach to produce the exact plan that will most trouble a particular opponent in a given week. With an extra week to prepare and the stakes being high, look for Belichick and his staff to come up with a good approach and if doesn't take hold as they imagined, this group can adapt on the fly. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet Super Bowl LI from the comfort of your own home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!