The key defensively for the Falcons will be generating a pass rush to disrupt Tom Brady. Vic Beasley has been a force to be reckoned with off the edge but the real key will be generating an interior pass rush to move Brady off his spot and out of the pocket. If the Falcons are able to slow down the Patriots offense it will be because they were able to make Tom Brady uncomfortable without having to blitz.
On offense the Falcons must be able to run the ball effectively. With two weeks to prepare Bill Belichick will surely have a game plan designed to slow down Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons passing game. The Patriots rush defense has been very good all year but if the Falcons can establish a strong run game early on and force the Patriots to commit to stopping it, they will open up the passing game for there big play offense.
They key for the Patriots offensively will be to establish the run game. If Legarrette Blount and Dion Lewis are running the ball effectively early on it will open up the passing game for Tom Brady and help the Patriots to expose the Falcons weak pass defense. It will also allow the Patriots to control the tempo of the game and keep the Falcons high powered offense off the field.
Defensively for the Patriots the key will be to make sure Julio Jones doesn’t kill them. As shown against the Packers Jones can absolutely dominate a game with his elite size and speed, if the Patriots can limit Jones they have a chance to slow down the league’s top offense.
The Patriots will control the tempo of the game with Legarrette Blount. This will open up the pass game and make the Patriots offense almost impossible for the Falcons to stop. I think the Falcons will score their points and keep the game close, with a big game from Tevin Coleman especially. In the end I see the Patriots defense making a stop to win the game.
Prediction: 34-30 Patriots