Falcons and Pats Advance to Super Bowl LI



The first NFL Super Bowl LI football sits in a bin with other balls to be stamped with the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons names at the Wilson Sporting Goods factory Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Ada, Ohio. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, let’s take a look at how both the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots fared on NFL Championship Sunday.

The Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers played the first game on the docket, a game everyone thought was going to be hotly contested throughout. However, Matt Ryan and the Falcons had other plans, putting up over 490-yards of total offense and only allowing 21 points, which came in the last two quarters. Offensively for the Falcons, Matty Ice definitely looked as cool as ice, with three first half touchdowns, one of which he picked up with his legs from 14-yards out. Ryan’s favorite target seemed to be Julio Jones, much like he had been all season long; Jones finished with 180-yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.


For the most part the Falcons defense had Aaron Rodgers flustered throughout the entirety of the first half and most of the second half. The defense came up with two big turnovers, a forced fumble on a Packers push towards the end zone and an interception by Jalen Collins late in the second quarter. In addition to the key turnovers, the Falcon defense kept the pressure on Rodgers all game, not allowing him to get into any type of a rhythm and hitting him on almost every single drop back.


The Falcons turned in the blowout that no one expected; finishing with a 44-21 score. Atlanta closed out the Georgia Dome with a very deserving Super Bowl berth and now everyone is waiting to see if that can finish out the 2016-17 season with an equally deserving Super Bowl Championship.


The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers were set to go head-to-head in Foxboro to see who would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Going into the game the Patriots seemed like the clear favorites and they definitely played that way. After jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, the Pats didn’t show any signs of looking back. Tom Brady finished the game with 374-yards passing and three touchdowns, majority of which stemmed from connections to both Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman who combined for 298 of Brady’s 374.


On defense, the Pats looked to shut down star wide receiver Antonio Brown and the surely did, Brown still finished with decent number, but he didn’t have the same impact that he had throughout the season. With Le’Veon Bell going down early due to a groin injury, the Steeler offense just didn’t have the same cohesiveness and explosiveness they seemed to have for majority of the year which caused them to have to continuously give the ball back to a Patriots offense that the Pittsburgh defense just had no answers for.


The Pats lived up to their hype and gained a record setting ninth Super Bowl appearance. They look to add Lombardi Trophy number 5, all coming in the Brady-Belichick era.
Super Bowl LI will take place Sunday, February 5 at 6:30 PM in Houston, Texas. The Patriots are favored by three points over Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Both teams have elite quarterbacks, versatile receiving corps, and convenient running games, so expect a high scoring affair. The outcome of the game will most likely come down to which defense can shut down the opposition’s quarterbacks. Will Brady win his fifth Super Bowl, cementing himself as the greatest postseason quarterback of all-time? Or will Ryan bring Atlanta its first championship since the Braves won it all in 1995? Be sure to tune in for a great game.