It’s that time of the year again when football fans everywhere are gearing up for football’s biggest game. Super Bowl LI features the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons going head to head. Both teams have won decisively throughout the playoffs and are led by two of the league’s best quarterbacks. Here’s a look at what you can expect from Super Bowl LI.

Post-season breakdown:

The Atlanta Falcons have quickly emerged as a fan favorite to win this year’s Super Bowl. With the number one ranked offense in the NFL, this team looks poised to bring home its first ever Super Bowl. Atlanta is led by potential league MVP, Matt Ryan, and he has put up one of the best stat lines in recent history. The Falcons have averaged a whopping 475 yards per game on offense and have only continued to get better as they blazed through the playoffs, winning by a margin of 19 points per game. The human cheat code, Julio Jones, broke yet another 1000 yard receiving season, finishing with 1409 yards. What may be more impressive, however, is his massive average of 17 yards per catch. Atlanta’s potent passing game combined with last season’s breakout star, running back Devonta Freeman, will allow for plenty of points to be put up on the board in this year’s Super Bowl. Although, if Atlanta hopes to bring home the Lombardi Trophy they will need to step up on defense. The Falcons defense has shown vast improvements since the start of the season, but stopping Tom Brady will not be an easy feat.

The New England Patriots, and Tom Brady in particular, is no stranger to the Super Bowl. Brady has led the Pats to four championship victories and has shown no sign of slowing down. At 39-years-old, you could say this veteran knows what he is doing. The Patriots finished the season with the third best offense and the third best defense (total yards allowed). Ranking top five in both of these categories will make New England a formidable force come crunch time. The Patriots have continuously turned sub-par players into dangerous playmakers. Wide out Chris Hogan had a breakout season and has averaged a massive 22 yards per catch over the course of this year’s playoffs. Even with the absence of star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots seem to continuously find a way to win.

Keys to the game:

If the Atlanta Falcons hope to pull out a victory, Matt Ryan will need to continue to thrive as a passer. Ryan has shown no signs of slowing up, however against the Patriots defense his accuracy and ability will be tested.

Julio Jones must be a playmaker. Jones has had a great season, but he has also had six games with fewer than five receptions. Matt Ryan must find a way to get his playmaker the ball if they have any hopes of winning the game. If Ryan is able to stretch the field early, Devonta Freeman will dominate the running game in the second half.

Matty Ice has no championship experience and while he has not shown playoff nerves just yet, it will be crucial that he keeps his composure under the biggest spotlight of the year.

The Patriots on the other hand will need to stop the Falcons passing game early. If any team can do this it’s New England. The Patriots are well equipped to match up with the Falcons and if they can slow the passing game and pick Ryan off their chances of winning are high.

We expect Brady to continue spreading the field and any of his wide outs could have a break out game if the Falcons defense is not prepared.

While both Tom Brady and Matt Ryan will allow for a strong offensive effort coming into the big game, the defensive play by both teams will truly be the determining factor. After all, defense does win championships.

We expect this game to be a shootout, as this Super Bowl looks to be nothing like the last. Expect big plays and a high scoring game on both sides. While the Pats have the experience and a four time super bowl MVP on their side, we are going with the Atlanta Falcons to get their first ever Super Bowl win.

Score Prediction:
Atlanta: 31
New England: 27

About The Author

Wes Stenovitch is a sophomore sports management major at the University of North Texas. He spends his spare time watching sports, fishing, and playing basketball. You can catch him re-watching "The Office" or playing with his dog, Duke.

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