The New England Patriots will be playing the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. Here are five matchups to watch for the game.
The New England Patriots are in their second Super Bowl in three years after falling short last year in the AFC Championship game. While they face former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn again in the big game, this time his defense is lacking the star power of those Seattle Seahawks defenses of 2011.
The Falcons are in the Super Bowl on the strength of their offense. This season they piled up 540 points in the regular season, the best in the NFL (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise noted). The defense finished the regular season 27th in the NFL allowing 406 points in sixteen games.
Super Bowl 51 features the top scoring offense in the NFL against the top scoring defense of the New England Patriots. The Patriots allowed just 250 points all season and allowed more than 25 points just once all season. New England also finished third in points scored with 441 even playing without Tom Brady for the first four games of the season.
The Falcons are confident in their defense after shutting down the high-flying offenses of the Los Angeles Rams (23rd in the NFL in points scored), San Francisco 49ers (32nd–dead last), and Carolina Panthers (26th) in the second half of the season. They gave up 32 points to the Saints in Week 17.
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Atlanta piled up 80 points on offense the past two weeks against Seattle and Green Bay. Topping 40 points against Green Bay was not surprising, but dropping 36 points on Seattle in the Divisional round made everyone take notice. The young defense of the Falcons was impressive playing at home and with the lead.
Now in a neutral site, the Falcons’ offense has a tough matchup against the Patriots defense. Against top-ten defenses, Atlanta scored 23, 24, 15, and 28 points in the regular season. Their defense, which gave up more than 30 points six times this season, will play a top offense that will put up a bigger challenge than the decimated Green Bay offense and terrible Seattle offensive line.
The number one offense versus the number one defense. The third-ranked offense (second since week five when Brady returned) against the 27th-ranked defense. An intriguing Super Bowl awaits. Here are the top-five matchups for Super Bowl 51: