Patriots and Falcons set to square off in Super Bowl LI

Anthony Dombrowski, Editor-in-Chief

On Sunday, Feb. 5, millions of people will tune into the single greatest sporting television event of the year, Super Bowl LI, between the New England Patriots, the National Football League’s number one scoring defense, and the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL’s number one scoring offense. This year’s matchup is set to be another historical game, as both teams look to close out their seasons on top of the football world. The Patriots are looking to close out their historical and unexpected season as champions and bring coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady another ring, as the underdog Falcons look to bring the Atlanta fan base its first Super Bowl championship.

The Patriots are the American Football Conference champions for the ninth time in franchise history, and are looking to win their fifth Super Bowl championship this Sunday. New England finished their chaotic regular season with a record of 14 wins and two losses, another AFC East Division title, and securing the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The regular season for New England began with the Deflate gate drama finally coming to end, with QB Brady getting handed a four game suspension. With Brady out until week five, the Patriots were left with no choice but to start back up Jimmy Garoppolo, who had no previous experience before this season. Garoppolo and the team came right out of the gates fighting, and won three out of their first four games, before back up Garroppolo got injured for the year. Brady came back with a vengeance, and took over the league. The future Hall-of-Fame quarterback went on a tear, and finished the season with 28 touchdown passes and only two interceptions, and putting his name back in the Most Valuable Player conversation. After the first round bye in the Wild Card Playoffs, the Patriots defeated the AFC South Champion Houston Texans in the Divisional Round, and then defeated the AFC North Champion Pittsburg Steelers in the AFC Championship game, to move on to their ninth Super Bowl. The Patriots are the favorites, with the experience and the number one scoring defense in the NFL. They will be led by QB Brady, the NFL rushing touchdown leader running back LeGarrette Blount, and Super Bowl XLIX hero cornerback Malcolm Butler. The Pats are ready for the match up, and are prepared for the fight on Sunday.

The Falcons are the National Football Conference champions for the second time in franchise history, their first since 1998, and are looking to win their first Super Bowl on Sunday. The number two seed in the NFC, Atlanta finished the regular season with a record of 11 wins and five losses, while winning the NFC South Championship. It was a historical regular season for Atlanta, putting up huge numbers on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback and potential MVP candidate Matt Ryan had his breakout year, notching a 117.1 QB Rating, 4,944 passing yards, and 39 touchdown passes. Star wide receiver Julio Jones had another career year, posting 1,409 receiving yards on 83 receptions, and adding six touchdown catches to the season as well. The offense put on a clinic all year, and finished the season with the number one scoring offense in the league, averaging 33.8 points, and 415 total yards a game. The Falcons cruised through the playoffs, after a first round bye in the Wild Card, defeating the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Playoffs, and the NFC North champion Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. With help from the NFL sack leader Vic Beasley Jr., premier running back duo Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and Pro Bowl Kicker Matt Bryant, the Falcons will look to overcome the underdog role and bring a championship to the city and fans of Atlanta.

Even before the kick off, the storylines are stacking up for this game. This meeting will be the 14th head-to-head matchup between the two teams, and the first in the playoffs. All time, the Patriots have a record of seven wins and six losses against the Falcons. This time though, the brightest lights will be on and the world will be watching. The game will be held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, and fans of both teams are ready to see their team battle it out and see who will take home the coveted Lombardi Trophy.