Monday, January 23, 2017

Hey, look, we got us a Super Bowl

And, as feared, it's the Patriots vs. Falcons.

The Team Everyone Outside New England Is Sick To Death Of, vs. The Team That's Really Fun To Watch But That No One Outside Atlanta Really Cares About.

So we've got that going for us.

Not much in the way of surprises yesterday, except for how much extra the medical crew at the Georgia Dome got paid for hauling off all those wounded Packers. Haven't seen that much carnage since Verdun. And the ones who escaped unscathed looked as if they were suffering from shellshock. Dropped passes, a delay penalty on a kickoff, Jordy Nelson at one point gesturing helplessly as if he were unsure what the play was ... it's been a long time since the Blob has seen a team that was so clearly mentally unprepared to play a big game.

Couple other observations:

* The Falcons looked frighteningly unstoppable, but that perception must be tempered by the fact they were playing against a skeleton crew. When you're down to essentially special teams guys at DB, which the Packers were, Julio Jones is going to look like Superman and Mohammed Sanu is going to look like Batman. So as good as Atlanta's offense is -- the best in the NFL this year -- yesterday wasn't a true metric of just how good.

* Ditto the Patriots. As others have noted, what the Steelers play defensively dovetails neatly with what Tom Brady excels against. And so of course he did. And of course he did it, in the usual Patriot way, by turning a face in the crowd named Chris Hogan into, well, Julio Jones. Sure, people in New England know who Hogan is. But outside New England, he doesn't exactly leap to mind when you start listing the league's marquee wideouts (Jones ... Antonio Brown ... Odell Beckham Jr. ... Chris Hogan. Um, no).   For all anyone outside New England knew, Chris Hogan was driving a cab in Southie last week.

Proof once again that Belichick, and Brady, can turn anyone into a star. And, in the Super Bowl, they won't be the depleted Packers, who by the end Sunday were gathered around Aaron Rodgers like the last remnant of the 7th Cavalry gathered around Custer above the Little Bighorn.

The Falcons are talented. They're faster than the starting field at Indy. But they are also very young. Seven of their starting 11 on defense are rookies or second-year players.

And so the Blob's early, early, surely-too-early prediction for Super Bowl LI turns on this calculus: A bunch of kids who've never been there, plus a head coach (Dan Quinn) who's never been there, vs. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

I think we know how that comes out. Patriots win.

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