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Patriots and Falcons face off on Super Bowl LI stage

The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will battle on the biggest stage in pro sports: the Super Bowl. Houston will host the game on Sunday, Feb. 5 in front of a sold-out crowd and an estimated 100 million TV viewers. In anticipation for the big game, the Patriots are three-point favorites, according to Bleacher Report.

Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady are no strangers to this stage. This will be the duo’s seventh Super Bowl appearance. A victory this Sunday would secure Belichick’s and Brady’s fifth title, the most ever for anyone in their respective positions. Already the two hold many postseason records. According to the NFL, Belichick has 25 playoff wins, the most of any head coach. Brady has the most completions (164), passing yards (1,605) and passing touchdowns (13) in the Super Bowl, ESPN reports.

Of course, the rest of the New England squad can hold its own. The team boasted the top-scoring defense, allowing an average 15.6 points per game, according to ESPN. Running back LeGarrette Blount led the league with 18 rushing touchdowns and produced a 1,000-plus yard season. New England has been dominant, having not trailed an opponent since Week 12 against the Jets, reports the NFL.

However, the Falcons look to give the Patriots a run for their money and can hardly be called underdogs. Atlanta’s offense led the league in scoring, averaging 39 points per game. Explosive from the get-go, Atlanta’s offense has scored a touchdown on its opening drive in eight straight games, according to ESPN. Matt Ryan, who heads the Atlanta offense, has played outstandingly all year long. The likely MVP has posted a career-high 4,944 passing yards and 38 touchdown passes this regular season, says the NFL. Ryan has also thrown seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions this postseason. He will be carrying a lot of momentum into Sunday’s game with the help of Julio Jones, Ryan’s top receiver. Jones has averaged 110 receiving yards throughout five postseason games.

Even the Falcon’s defense has improved, despite allowing 25.4 points per game, ESPN says. In their last eight games, however, the Atlanta defense has allowed 20.5 points per game and has nearly doubled their forced turnovers, wrote The Boston Globe.

Both teams have found success this year despite early setbacks. The Patriots had to start the first four games without Tom Brady and lost their star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, to a season-ending injury. The Falcons looked shaky in preseason and during a 4-3 season start. Nonetheless, at the end of a grueling season, these are the last two teams standing. Football fans across the nation look forward to an exciting, winner-takes-all game that is sure to come down to the wire.

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