Atlanta Host: This Is Not a 27 PPG Defense

Chris Dimino is pretty confident that the Falcons will beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, and if you want to know why, just look at what Atlanta did to Green Bay in the NFC Championship. 

“Look, (the Packers) were the hottest team in football,” Atlanta’s The Fan host said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Eight straight wins and Green Bay was scoring every bit as much as 35 a game, and (the Falcons) were up 31-0. It’s only the second time in Aaron Rodgers’ career, by the way, that he was down 31 points at any point in a football game – and that happened in January. Think about that. That’s how crazy that got.”

Atlanta ranked just 27th in scoring defense (25.4 points per game allowed) during the regular season, but the postseason has been a different story. The Falcons have held Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers in check and beat the Seahawks and Packers by a combined 39 points. 

“If you look at the Falcons’ defense, you go, ‘This defense is not good enough to win big games,’” Dimino said. “Well, that’s not the same defense.”

Indeed, for all the talk about Atlanta’s offense, the defense has been impressive. Falcons fans can thank Dan Quinn for that.

“Quinn wanted his Kam Chancellor, and he got it in Keanu Neal,” Dimino said. “This defense is not the same defense it was for the whole season. They knock the football loose, they hit you now, and you know another one is coming later. At the end of the day, I don’t know if they’re going to actually just swamp that team the way they did Green Bay, but I’m going to tell you this: If you watch Tom Brady bitch and moan when he thinks he’s not getting a call and you want a Vegas prop bet, take the 2.5 and over that Tom Brady is either lying on the ground or getting his ass up complaining to a referee because he was hit. Dan Quinn plays the game of, ‘Find a strike zone, hit a guy so hard that he knows another one is coming, and if the football ends up on the ground, even better. This defense is not a 27-points-a-game defense. I swear to you it’s not.”

Dimino believes the Falcons, who are three-point underdogs against New England, will beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

“I’m going to tell you: Everybody was excited for the Seattle game, and I said, ‘What are you excited about this one for? They’re winning this one,’” Dimino recalled. “I was so confident in the Seattle game. I almost got myself nervous I felt so good about it. I won’t go there with New England, but I’m telling you this: I almost am nervous how good I feel about this team playing New England. Everybody says, ‘Well, Belichick doesn’t lose these type of games.’ Well, he has. He has. Tom Brady’s lost these type of games. They’ve got six Super Bowl appearances. All six have been decided by four points or less. That’s the thing: New England hasn’t killed anybody in the Super Bowl. They don’t steamroll anybody in the Super Bowl. They don’t pick you up, throw you down a flight of stairs and do it again. Four points, six times. 

“My big question,” Dimino continued, “is going to be 4th-down-and-a-yard-and-a-half on the 46, second quarter: Is Dan Quinn going to be the same guy he’s been all year, which means go for it? I think he is, and I think that’s going to tell his team that everything they did leading up to this point, it’s just another football game. You’re not supposed to be able to say that with this many rookies, this many second-year guys, but it’s just going to be another football game for these guys on Sunday. I really believe that.”

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