Wondering who takes home the Lombardi Trophy? You’ve come to the right place to find out
Houston, we have a Super Bowl!
Although, apparently, no one in the city is interested in the fact that the NFL‘s biggest game is being played there. If this internet poll is be believed — and I believe all internet polls — 86 percent of the people in Houston will be avoiding all the Super Bowl festivities this week.
— Tell Tiffany KHOU (@TiffanyKHOU) January 30, 2017
The easiest way to fix that lack of enthusiasm: Send me to Houston.
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s a brilliant idea, CBS needs to fire up the corporate jet and get Breech to Texas,” and I completely agree with that.
Of course, I won’t be on a corporate jet — I’ll be flying coach, most likely in the last row, and probably next to a crying baby — BUT I WILL BE IN HOUSTON for the week, which means now is the perfect time to start following me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, or all of them. I also check MySpace once a month.
You’re definitely going to want to follow just so you can see the $50 selfie I take with Johnny Manziel.
This trip should be interesting, and that’s basically because I know nothing about Houston, except that Hilary Duff, Beyonce and the Undertaker are all from there. And yes, that’s my dream foursome for dinner. If I see them around town, we’re all definitely going to the nearest barbecue place. Also, if I see Matt Ryan, there’s a 100 percent chance I’ll be challenging him to an arm-wrestling rematch.
— John Breech (@johnbreech) January 30, 2017
That picture is from eight years ago, and based on how badly I crushed Ryan, it’s no surprise it took him this long to get to a Super Bowl. I’m guessing he had to ice his arm every night for years before he fully recovered from the beatdown I gave him.
Actually, that’s the #AlternateFacts version of the story. The truth is, I am to arm-wrestling what the Browns are to football.
Anyway, if the past is any indication, this should be an exciting week. The last time the Super Bowl was in Houston, Janet Jackson’s breast made a cameo appearance during the halftime show. I’m not saying Lady Gaga is going to try and top that, but she did wear a meat dress to an awards show one time, so anything’s possible.
— Project Monsters 🏈 (@projetomonsters) December 30, 2016
Weirdly enough, the Falcons might have actually topped Janet’s “wardrobe malfunction” the last time they were in the Super Bowl. In January 1999, Falcons defensive back Eugene Robinson was charged with soliciting a prostitute after getting arrested THE NIGHT BEFORE THE GAME.
All Robinson had to do was wait 24 more hours and then no one would’ve cared if he got arrested. Well, his family probably would’ve cared, but the arrest likely wouldn’t have made national headlines.
Basically, if Falcons players can make it through the week without getting arrested or soliciting a prostitute, they’ll be in better shape than they were the last time they played in the Super Bowl.
So what’s going to happen in the game?
Let’s get to the pick and find out.
Actually, before we get to the pick, you’re definitely going to want to click over and check out the Super Bowl picks made by our other NFL writers here at CBSSports.com. We have two guys who are undefeated so far in the postseason, and there’s a 50 percent chance I’m going to use their picks next season.
First, there’s Jared Dubin, who’s basically robbing Las Vegas with his picks. Dubin is 10-0 against the spread this postseason, which is a good thing because he lives in New York and the only way to afford rent there is by winning every bet you make. The good news here is that Dubin can now afford February rent.
If you’re not impressed by Dubin, then maybe you’ll be impressed by Pete Prisco, who’s 10-0 straight up in the playoffs. All that time watching film has finally paid off for Prisco, who watches so much that he sometimes watches film of himself watching film. I think he also once watched film of himself watching film with Matt Ryan.
With Matt Ryan going to the Super Bowl, it reminded me of this piece we did, the granddaddy to all film sit-downs. https://t.co/VPMxh8LSNO
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) January 23, 2017
Alright, enough talking about those guys, let’s get to the pick.
Super Bowl LI Pick
New England (16-2) vs. Atlanta (13-5) at NRG Stadium in Houston, 6:30 p.m. (Fox)
One year ago, fans in Atlanta were so upset with Kyle Shanahan they wanted him fired, and the only reason I know that is because someone took the time to make a petition.
It wasn’t just one fan who wanted Shanahan fired: There were 1,935 signatures on the petition, which is basically half the Falcons’ fan base. ZING.
I arm-wrestled Matt Ryan once, so I’m allowed to make that joke.
— John Breech (@johnbreech) January 31, 2017
It’s a good thing Falcons fans don’t make the front office decisions because the team’s choice to keep Shanahan paid off big time when he put together the world’s most unstoppable offense.
If you forget about the fact that Shanahan almost lost the team’s playbook for the Super Bowl on Monday, then he has had a nearly perfect season. But yeah, he almost lost the team’s playbook.
SHANAHAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING MOSEYING AROUND WITH OUR PLAYBOOK CMON https://t.co/zy17eJYLlW
— Kyle Maurer (@kmaurer1) January 31, 2017
Not losing the playbook six days before the Super Bowl is pretty much the first thing they teach at coaching school (I think), so I completely understand why that guy is tweeting in all caps.
Of course, what if Shanahan lost the playbook ON PURPOSE?
If you’re trying to out-Belichick Belichick, it would be a classic first move.
It’s a brilliant plan if you think about it: Shanahan “accidentally” loses the Falcons’ playbook, then it “ends up” in the hands of the Patriots, who then get accused of stealing it, AND BAM, we have another cheating scandal on our hands. Roger Goodell would probably suspend Tom Brady for life and ban him from the country.
Fortunately for Patriots fans, none of that’s going to happen because someone returned Shanahan’s missing backpack, which supposedly contained the Falcons’ offensive game plan. Speaking of the Falcons’ game plan, I’m not really sure who you’re supposed to stop, and it doesn’t seem like Belichick is sure, either.
Bill Belichick on Falcons ‘You can’t stop one guy. They’re very well-coached. Shutting down one guy isn’t the answer’
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 31, 2017
From a defensive standpoint, Belichick loves to shut down one guy, but he clearly has something different planned for the Falcons, which is smart, because shutting down Julio Jones literally does nothing. Jones had 40 yards or less in four games this season, and the Falcons went 4-0 in those games and averaged 34.8 points.
Even with Belichick devising a perfect game plan, I’m still not sure the Patriots can shut down the Falcons’ offense.
Sure, the Patriots had the best scoring defense in the NFL this season, but I feel like that had something to do with the fact that they faced Jared Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick (twice), Colin Kaepernick, Matt Moore, Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Landry Jones and whoever the Browns started at quarterback in Week 5.
If you asked me to make a list of quarterbacks who will never win an MVP award, every single one of those guys would be on it.
As for the Falcons, the thing about their offense is that it led the league in scoring even though they played three of the NFL’s top five defenses (Denver, Arizona, Seattle). Basically, the Falcons were able to put up points on anyone.
Super Bowl LI will mark the seventh time in NFL history that the top scoring defense has gone up against the top scoring offense, and if history is any indication, the Falcons should forfeit because the top-scoring offense is just 1-5.
One of the times that the league’s top defense won came in Super Bowl XXV when the Giants beat the Bills 20-19, a game that I’m only mentioning because Belichick designed the game plan. Belichick also designed the defensive game plan when the Patriots shut down the high-flying Rams in February 2002. Basically, Belichick can shut down anyone.
Of course, Ryan isn’t just anyone. The Falcons quarterback is an MVP candidate who just happens to be having one of the best postseasons of all time. In just two playoff games, Ryan has thrown seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions, which is a ridiculous hot streak. In NFL history, there have only been six quarterbacks to throw at least seven touchdown passes with zero picks during a postseason and all six of them won the Super Bowl.
That doesn’t mean the Falcons can’t lose, it just means hot quarterbacks are nearly impossible to beat.
On the Patriots’ end, their high-flying offense might have some trouble with the Falcons. Remember that whole thing about the NFL’s top scoring offense being 1-5 in Super Bowls against the NFL’s top scoring defense?
Well, one of those offensive losses came in Super Bowl XLVIII when Falcons coach Dan Quinn put together a Seahawks game plan that shut down Peyton Manning‘s Broncos in a 43-8 Seattle victory. This was a Peyton Manning who was still close to his prime, too, and not the gimpy Manning who barely made it through the 2015 season.
If anyone can design a defense to slow down Tom Brady, it’s Quinn. Another thing that can slow down Brady is THE FIRST QUARTER. In the what might go down as the weirdest oddity of Brady’s postseason career: The Patriots quarterback has never led New England to a single point in the first quarter of a Super Bowl. Seriously. He has played in six Super Bowls, and the Patriots have scored zero points in the first quarter of those six games.
I was going to add something about how slow starts will kill you, but this pick has already gone on longer than an unabridged copy of the Canterbury Tales, so I’m going to end it now.
If the Falcons are going to win, they need to turn this game into a shootout, and I think they’re going to turn this game into a shootout.
Super Bowl LI pick: Falcons 34-27 over Patriots
Now the question is: Do I have any clue what I’m talking about? The answer is maybe. Here’s how I did picking these two teams this season.
Record picking Patriots games this season: 15-3 (includes 2-0 in the playoffs)
Record picking Falcons games this season: 9-9 (includes 1-1 in the playoffs)
Basically, a monkey could’ve flipped a coin while riding on a dog’s back and done as well as I did picking Falcons games this season.
— Darren Kelpin (@DarrenKelpin) September 9, 2016
By the way, if Lady Gaga comes down with the flu this week, that monkey’s agent better get a call from the NFL because a dog-monkey halftime show is what America wants to see.
Speaking of dogs, I’m taking Team Ruff in the Puppy Bowl. I’ve lost too much money betting on Team Fluff over the past few years.
— SportsLine (@SportsLine) January 17, 2017
Now that you’ve made it this far, I have some bad news: It doesn’t really matter who wins the Puppy Bowl or the Super Bowl because none of us actually exist and the universe is just a giant hologram.
— USA TODAY Multimedia (@usatodayvideo) January 30, 2017
I’ve been telling my therapist that for years, so I’m glad there’s finally some science that might back up what I’m saying.
Best pick: Two weeks ago, I predicted that the Patriots would beat the Steelers and then the Patriots went out and beat the Steelers. What I didn’t predict, though, is that the Steelers’ entire organization would implode on itself after the loss.
In the 10 days since the game was played, Ben Roethlisberger has threatened to retire, Antonio Brown is being blacklisted because he loves Facebook more than football and Le’Veon Bell, who’s about to be a free agent, wants to be paid roughly $712 million a year to re-sign in Pittsburgh, and that number is only being slightly exaggerated.
At the rate the Steelers’ offseason is going, Snoop is going to run out of weed by next week.
Snoop Dogg Using Weed to Cope with Steelers Loss … Shocker (VIDEO) https://t.co/3MLy0Nd6Jj
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) January 23, 2017
I think it’s pretty clear how this is all going to play out: Roethlisberger is going to announce his retirement on Brown’s Facebook page. That will be followed by a Snapchat video from Brown that exclusively breaks the news that Bell will be signing with the Patriots. Belichick will then confirm Bell’s signing to everyone on SnapFace. Snoop will then run out of weed and write a sad song about it that will win four Grammys.
Worst pick: If I proved one thing during the NFL playoffs, it’s that I know absolutely nothing about the Green Bay Packers. As a matter of fact, I made a list of things I don’t know anything about and the Packers are now at the top.
Things I know nothing about:
1. The Packers.
NOTE: I will surely learn more about babies over the next few years because I welcomed a new niece to the world on Jan. 23. She can’t read yet, but hi Miah! (or maybe she can read, like I said, I know nothing about babies).
Anyway, I was so bad at picking Packers games in the playoffs that my advice for the NFC title game was to literally do the opposite of whatever I did. And for the record, that’s also sound advice for life in general.
The only silver lining of completely whiffing on my NFC title pick is that I didn’t bet $28,213.60 on the Packers to win. If I had bet that kind of money, I would have written this entire story on a typewriter because I would’ve had to sell my laptop and every other possession to pay off the $28,000 in losses.
— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) January 16, 2017
The moral of the story here: Always hedge your bets. If you don’t know what hedging is, that’s a good thing because it means you’ll never end up face down in a dark alley after an ugly night of gambling in Vegas.
By the way, that last sentence could also be a metaphor for the Raiders‘ chances of moving to Vegas right now.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 31, 2017
That’s it for this season.
My contract says I’ll be back next season, so I’ll see you then, unless I move in with Hilary Duff in Houston. In that case, I might let someone else takeover here.
Straight up in conference title round: 1-1
SU overall in playoffs: 7-3 (7-0 in games that don’t involve the Packers)
Against the spread in conference title round: 0-2
ATS overall in playoffs: 5-5 (5-2 in games that don’t involve the Packers)
Final 2016 regular-season record
Straight up: 147-107-2
Against the spread: 116-129-11
All-time record picking Super Bowls at CBS Sports
Against the spread: 2-1
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