By halftime of the NFC Championship Game -- the Falcons led the Packers 24-0 on their way to a 44-21 victory -- we wondered to a friend what the line for Super Bowl LI would look like should the Patriots be the opponent. Based on the Falcons' playoff dominance, first over the Seahawks and then the Packers, we guessed they would be four-point favorites in Houston.

Our friend, who knows a lot more about gambling than us, laughed. No way -- the Patriots (who stomped the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game) would be favored, probably by three or four points. Turns out, he was right; the line opened at New England -3 and that's where it has remained for 13 straight days.

Part of that is Vegas isn't so much interested in getting the line right in the predictive sense, but in getting the most wagers on both sides. But beyond that, there are reasons to be apprehensive about the Falcons' chances -- it starts with Tom Brady, who remains one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, despite that four-game suspension to start the 2016 season or his advanced age (39). Then there's the truism about giving Bill Belichick an extra week's preparation, which complicates things terribly for every opponent not named the Giants.