Super Bowl LI Staff Predictions

Which team does our staff think will win Super Bowl LI?

Though our algorithm drives our official game picks, we've got a lot of opinions here at numberFire -- we have a staff full of people who think they know what's going to happen during Sunday's Super Bowl.

We've got people who want their predictions out there, too.

So that's what this is. I asked our staff members (myself included) who they thought would win this year's Super Bowl, what the score will be, who the Super Bowl MVP will be, and why they thought that way.

Since there are a lot of submissions (27 in total), here's a rundown of the overall choices:

Super Bowl Winner: Patriots (15 votes) over Falcons (12)
Average Score: 30.85 to 30.04 (so we'll say 31 to 30).
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady (9), Matt Ryan (8), LeGarrette Blount (3), Chris Hogan (2), Julian Edelman (1), Julio Jones (1), Taylor Gabriel (1), Devonta Freeman (1), Dion Lewis (1)

Staff Picks

JJ Zachariason, Editor-In-Chief
Winner: Patriots, 34-30
Super Bowl MVP: Chris Hogan
Reasoning: I have a hard time seeing the Falcons being able to pressure Tom Brady, which should give him enough time to exploit a weak secondary. And New England's ability to limit the big play could make the Falcons' offense look mortal.

Jim Sannes, Staff Writer
Winner: Falcons, 27-24
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: The Patriots' defense hasn't faced a quarterback as other-worldly as Ryan yet this year. The Patriots' offense has taken a step back without Rob Gronkowski, and that may be enough to put the Falcons over the top.

Brandon Gdula, Editor/Writer
Winner: Patriots, 24-20
Super Bowl MVP: LeGarrette Blount
Reasoning: New England will need to put some points on the board to outperform one of the best offenses in NFL history, but they can rely on the ground game to wear down a vulnerable defense and limit Atlanta's offensive chances.

Matt Musico, Editor/Writer
Winner: Patriots, 34-27
Super Bowl MVP: Chris Hogan
Reasoning: Hogan was involved in New England's offense more than ever in the AFC Championship game. With the Patriots' ability to play to their opponent's biggest weaknesses, he has a chance to be front and center on the game's biggest stage.

Austan Kas, Editor/Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 30-27
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: If the Patriots can contain Vic Beasley, which I believe they'll sell out to do, Tom Brady should be able to carve up the Falcons' secondary and lead New England to a win in a high-scoring affair.

Sam Hauss, Projections Associate
Winner: Patriots, 31-27
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: As good as the Falcons' offense is, the Patriots are just simply the more complete team. It's hard to imagine the Falcons' defense slowing down Tom Brady, and I think the Patriots' defense will be able to make more plays than the Falcons'.

Tyler Buecher, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 34-31
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: The Falcons have arguably one of the top-10 offenses of all time, and we should see them continue to click on all cylinders in the year's biggest game. This game could very likely turn into a shootout and turn into one of the highest-scoring Super Bowls we've seen in quite some time.

Justin Rau, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 31-30
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: The arm of the probable NFL MVP to go along with a dynamic backfield duo will prove to be too much for the Patriots' overrated defense -- a defense that has yet to see an arsenal like this one.

Joey Keys, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 34-27
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: The Patriots' run defense should be enough for Tom Brady to edge Matt Ryan in the battle of offenses, securing his fifth Super Bowl victory.

Stephen Kurucz, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 31-28
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: The last time Brady was in the Super Bowl, he threw for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns against a stellar Seahawks D. With two weeks to prepare, expect Brady to exploit a weak Falcons' secondary.

Matt Blair, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 41-38
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: The Falcons' offense will continue their historic success and surprise the Pats in a shootout. Matt Ryan will do his best Tom Brady impression and lead the Falcons to a last-second field goal to win it all.

Stan Son, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 27-23
Super Bowl MVP: LeGarrette Blount
Reasoning: The Falcons had the third-worst rush defense in the NFL according to our numbers, so the Pats will pound Blount to control the game and keep the Atlanta offense on the sidelines. With two weeks to prepare, Belichick will figure out the keys and tendencies of the Atlanta offense to limit them.

Joseph Nammour, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 28-27
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: The Falcons excel at connecting on big plays, but the Patriots have been terrific at limiting them all season. Atlanta's pass rush isn't quite good enough to get to Brady without blitzing, and he should pick them apart by targeting the middle of the field.

Ton DelSignore, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 34-31
Super Bowl MVP: Devonta Freeman
Reasoning: The Falcons will be able to move the ball at will through the air, but it's Devonta Freeman who will secure the MVP after he hauls in seven receptions and finishes three drives with short rushing touchdowns.

Joe Redemann, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 31-24
Super Bowl MVP: Julian Edelman
Reasoning: If the efficient Patriots play keep-away and grind out the game, Atlanta's explosiveness will never really come into play. Wide receiver Julian Edelman should be a big part of that; he's averaged 12.5 targets for 103 receiving yards and 0.38 touchdowns over the last eight games.

Matt Goodwin, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 30-27
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: The Falcons' historic offense -- and considerably better strength of schedule -- will mitigate the Patriots' intangibles edge. In a close game, Julio Jones makes the difference.

Ari Ross, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 41-35
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: Nobody's stopped the Falcons' offense yet, and while the Patriots' are being hyped up as the top scoring defense, in reality, it's their soft schedule that's given them that ranking. With his array of weapons, Ryan shreds the Patriots defense, while Dan Quinn and the Falcons' defense find a way to get one key stop, leading to the Super Bowl victory.

Barry Cohen, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 31-27
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: We're looking at a high-scoring game, and I like Tom Brady against the Falcons' secondary, as he's thrown multiple touchdown passes in six of his past seven playoff games.

Anthony Amico, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 38-35
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: I'll take the chalk here. The Patriots are going to win this game on offense, and everything runs through Brady. Bonus points for the impending awkward interaction with Roger Goodell.

Blair Ames, Contributor
Winner: Falcons, 31-28
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: Both teams should be able to rack up points easily, and the Falcons have had the better offense this year, averaging over 34 points per game. I'm not expecting the Patriots to slow them down.

Joe Kacik, Contributor
Winner: Patriots, 31-27
Super Bowl MVP: LeGarrette Blount
Reasoning: The biggest statistical difference I've noticed with this matchup is that the Patriots have allowed the fewest yards after the catch in the NFL this season, while the Falcons have allowed the most.

Nik Bonaddio, CEO and Founder
Winner: Patriots, 38-24
Super Bowl MVP: Dion Lewis
Reasoning: It's the worst possible matchup for the Falcons, as they need to pressure Brady to win. And while they've got a better shot than the Steelers had at doing it, their D just isn't up to the challenge.

Amar Rao, Software Developer
Winner: Falcons, 35-27
Super Bowl MVP: Julio Jones
Reasoning: The Falcons are going to jump out ahead early in the first quarter with big plays to Julio Jones. That's new for the Patriots, who will be trying to play catch up for the rest of the game, eventually ending up short.

Matt Steedle, Software Developer
Winner: Falcons, 34-27
Super Bowl MVP: Matt Ryan
Reasoning: The Patriots have gone up against low-ranked quarterbacks all year long, and Matt Ryan will easily be their biggest test. The Falcons, on the other hand, have handled two top-ranked quarterbacks this season in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Matt Dirzulaitis, Community Manager
Winner: Falcons, 38-27
Super Bowl MVP: Taylor Gabriel
Reasoning: Despite scoring at least 33 points in each of their last six games, the Falcons offense still isn't getting the respect it deserves.

Keith Goldner, Chief Analyst
Winner: Patriots, 34-31
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: Belichick has two weeks to plan against a poor Falcons defense.

Michael Worthington, Chief Technology Officer
Winner: Patriots, 32-31
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Reasoning: Atlanta gives up too many passing yards, so Brady is going to do his thing. Hopefully the Falcons called up the Giants and asked how to stop him.