Sunday 18 February 2018 / 02:05 PM


With Super Bowl LI right around the corner, much of the NFL spotlight is on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. The 31-year-old is playing the best season of his life with an NFL rating of 117.1 (his second-best is a 99.1 in 2012).

The last time the Falcons were in the Super Bowl was 1998, and that was a completely different team than the one that will line up for the big dance almost two decades later. This time around, the Falcons have an offense that is downright destructive.

For as dominating as the Falcons offense is, I don’t think they have been receiving the amount of credit they deserve. Sure, if they win the Super Bowl, we’re going to have the same commentators that were praising Aaron Rodgers as being the best quarterback in football suddenly claiming Matt Ryan as the messiah.

We have been watching the Atlanta Falcons play the best football they ever have, but will it be enough to take on the mighty New England Patriots?

What gives the Atlanta Falcons the edge is actually being constantly snubbed the entire season. The Patriots are expected to win because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s legendary Super Bowl history, but are they hungrier than the Falcons? There are few teams out there that are have more desire than the Falcons and are remotely competitive. The one team that could have knocked the Falcons out of the race was the Cowboys, and they got embarrassed by the flash in the playoff pan that was the Green Bay Packers.

Having an arsenal of offensive weapons like Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Taylor Gabriel sure help Matt Ryan to work his magic, but it’s undeniable that Ryan himself possesses enough talent to be able to turn around a lackluster team into a competitor.

Ryan seems to have made it a lifelong mission to torch defenses. He’s playing dynamic can be traced all the way back to his gangly, skinny college days at Boston.

“Freshman year, Matt was this skinny dude we used to make fun of – scrawny, super-pasty, Irish Catholic-looking dude,” Ryan Poles, Matt Ryan’s college roommate and left guard, said.

“His image was always of this fragile kid. But on the practice squad, when we were giving a look to the first-team defense, his goal was to absolutely torch them.

“It would drive the defensive coaches nuts. They would have such a horrible feeling going into the game because Matt was ripping them apart. And as he started getting confidence, he’d be talking crap during practice.”

So what happens when this kid goes through the highs and lows that the Atlanta Falcons have gone through in almost a decade since Ryan was drafted, and ends up in the Super Bowl against arguably the best team in NFL history?

He’s got something to prove.

Matt Ryan will be on prime-time, and he has been playing like a man possessed all season. I say this as someone who has been saying the Patriots will win Super Bowl LI since the start of the season: the Atlanta Falcons are the biggest threat out of any team in the league.

We know of the New England Patriots to be an amazing team across the board with Tom Brady being a shiny, permanent fixture on the offense, but the Atlanta Hawks just might have an even better offense. The Patriots are the favorite, but if the Falcons’ season is any indication we might be in for a big surprise come Sunday.

Expect to see a high-scoring game that showcases some of the best offensive teams the NFL has seen duking it out.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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