It looks to be all out attack in Super Bowl LI as both sides have strong offenses. The Falcons hold the edge offensively, but the Patriots are more balanced overall.
Here’s how the two teams match up as we head into Super Bowl Sunday.
Patriots’ Passing Attack vs. Falcons’ Pass Defence
Patriots passing: 4th, 269.2 yards per game, 109.5 rating, 4.18 sack percentage
Falcons defence: 28th, 266.7 yards per game, 92.5 rating against, 4.93 sack percentage
The Falcons’ pass defence has not been a strength for them at all this season, although they do have some potential stars in Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett and Jalen Collins in the defence. Losing Desmond Trufant halfway through the season didn’t help them.
However, the Patriots have one of the NFL’s best passing attacks. Spearheaded by legendary quarterback Tom Brady, there are a wealth of receiving options including Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd. Tight end Martellus Bennett is also an option, as are the running backs. They lost the Gronk midway through the season, but they produced one of their best performances against the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
Patriots’ Rushing Game vs. Falcons’ Run Defence
Patriots rushing: 7th, 117 yards per game, 3.9 yards per carry
Falcons defence: 17th, 104.5 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry
LeGarrette Blount was heavily relied upon by the Patriots this year. He clocked up 18 touchdowns in the regular season and scored again in the playoffs.
The Falcons allowed the sixth-most yards per carry in the NFL this season. Most of their defenders are better against the pass than they are on the run.
Falcons’ Passing Attack vs. Patriots’ Pass Defence
Falcons passing: 3rd, 295.3 yards per game, 116.8 rating, 6.5 sack percentage
Patriots defence: 12th, 237.9 yards per game, 84.4 rating against, 5.4 sack percentage
Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones is one of the best in the NFL, while Mohamed Sanu is another threat in the redzone. Preventing big plays will be key for the Patriots if they want to win another Super Bowl.
The Patriots’ pass defence improved as the season progressed, but Matt Ryan has been so good this season, that no defence can withstand him. Atlanta led the NFL in passer rating and in passing plays of 40 yards or more.
Falcons’ Rushing Game vs. Patriots’ Run Defence
Falcons rushing: 5th, 120.5 yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry
Patriots defence: 3rd, 88.6 yards per game, 3.9 yards per carry
The Falcons have a two-headed rushing attack that has proven to be very difficult to stop. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 345 carries for 1,599 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground and another 883 yards and five touchdowns on 105 catches through the air.
The Patriots run defence has been consistent throughout the season. Alan Branch and Malcom Brown will start up front, with Dont’a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich also included in the defensive line.