NFL Football: Patriots and Falcons Set to Battle in Super Bowl LI
The Atlanta Falcons on Sunday face off against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner addresses the audience as the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee hosts a “Welcome to Super Bowl 51” news conference to celebrate opening week of the NFL football game, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Houston. The Atlanta Falcons will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51 on Sunday, Feb. 5. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
The Super Bowl is quickly upon us. On Sunday Feb. 5, the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will face off in Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas.
The Falcons come in to the game boasting one of the best offenses in the NFL. They are led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who alone this postseason has thrown for 730 yards and 7 touchdowns, and on the season has thrown for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. His favorite target has been wide receiver Julio Jones, who has hauled in 98 catches for 1,656 yards and 9 touchdowns, leaving him just two catches shy of his third straight season with at least 100 catches.
Paced by Ryan and Jones, the Falcons come into the game leading the league in total offense, averaging 457.5 yards per game and lead the league in passing yards per game, averaging 357.5. They also ranked fifth in the league in rushing yards per game with an average of 100 yards.
As good as the Falcons’ offense is, they may have a tough time against the Patriots’ defense. The Patriots rank fourth in total defense, giving up 326.5 yards a game and also rank fourth in rushing yards allowed a game, giving up 79.5.
The Patriots’ offense rivals that of the Falcons, ranking third in total offense and averaging 404 yards per game. They rank second in passing yards a game with an average of 326.5 yards.
Led by Tom Brady, 39, who has thrown for 671 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this postseason, the Patriots will make their sixth Super Bowl appearance in the Brady era, which they have only lost twice, both to the New York Giants. This season, Brady has thrown for 4,225 yards with 33 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, despite missing the first three games of the season due to suspension and also missing the help of star tight end Rob Gronkowski for parts of the season, as well.
A trio of wide receivers have stepped up in Gronkowski’s absence. Julian Edelman has hauled in 114 catches for 1,361 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 255 of those yards coming this postseason. Former lacrosse player Chris Hogan had a relatively quiet season, only hauling in 38 catches for 680 yards and 4 touchdowns, until last Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers where he exploded with 9 catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Martellus Bennett seems to have filled Gronskowski’s shoes, recording 55 catches for 701 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The game also features two players with Oklahoma ties – University of Oklahoma alumni Geno Grissom, who plays for the Patriots and Chris Chester who plays for the Falcons.