The Biggest Storylines Heading into the Super Bowl
The New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI in Houston on 5th February 2017. The Patriots are the early favorites, and it is hard to bet against a team being led by Tom Brady. Let’s take a look at the key players in Super Bowl 2017 game and how the other team will try to stop them or slow them down.
Big Story lines for Super Bowl LI:-
It All Starts With the Quarterback
Tom Brady may be the greatest quarterback of the past 20 years, and there is no need to rehash how many great things that he has done in his career. On the other side, Matt Ryan is the leading candidate to be the 2016 NFL MVP. While he has been underappreciated throughout his career, he has finally shown that he can win a big game. However, expect the Patriots to take away Julio Jones, which means he will need to rely on others to put points on the board.
Each Team Has Multiple Talented Receivers
Brady and Ryan combined to throw for over 8,000 yards in 2016. Therefore, there are plenty of receivers who are capable of making plays on the field. For New England, they will rely heavily on Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan while mixing in some James White or Dion Lewis out of the backfield. Atlanta will look for Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to play a big role assuming Julio Jones draws double coverage all game. Of course, that assumes Belichick thinks that Jones is worth paying attention to.
Atlanta Has the Edge in the Run Game
LeGarrette Blount ran for 18 touchdowns in 2016, but his role has been limited in the postseason. The Patriots don’t have a traditional run game, and it often takes Blount a few carries to get going, which could limit his effectiveness in the Super Bowl. For Atlanta, the duo of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman should be able to find some space and make plays in the Super Bowl.
What to Look For On Defense?
Look for Atlanta to attempt to put pressure on Brady all day. It worked well for Houston. And it was the reason why the Giants were able to beat New England in two recent Super Bowl matchups. Vic Beasley and Dwight Freeney are going to be tasked with getting to the quarterback quickly. New England will be led in the secondary by Malcolm Butler, who would be going to another Pro Bowl if it didn’t conflict with the Super Bowl. In addition, Chris Long and Kyle Van Noy lead a linebacker group that have the speed and motor to make plays all over the field.
Furthermore, this Super Bowl has the potential to be one of the best in a long time. While many observers see the Falcons playing the role of the Rams from 2001, the Falcons are better than that. They have a balanced offense, solid defense and a coaching staff that will take advantage of their opportunities to make plays.
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