The New England Patriots seek their fifth Super Bowl in franchise history this Sunday in Houston. New England is 4-2 overall in Super Bowl contest, with their defeats at the hands of the New York Giants (Super Bowl XLII and XLVI) . The duo Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are being considered the best to ever do it. With the "Deflategate" scandal in hindsight and Super Bowl experience on their side, the Patriots are prepared to add one for the thumb, and this is how they will do it:
Keys for New England:
- Defense Must Control the Tempo
Tom Brady has his greatness, Chris Hogan is an unsung hero, but the staple of the Patriots is their defense. An old tweet from Patriots Cornerback Malcolm Butler resurfaced earlier last week about him wanting to check Falcons Wide Receiver Julio Jones, now he will get the real deal. New England's defense is versatile, they have a multitude of players who can shift around and play different positions. Their flexibility will be key to their success against the elite Atlanta offense. During the regular season, New England led the league with the lowest points allowed per game average with 15.6, no coincidence they've led the postseason as well. If New England's defense keeps Atlanta's high-flying offense off the field, they will be successful.
Key Player: Dont'a Hightower
2. Tom Brady must distribute the football
Tom Brady has once again done a lot with seemingly nothing. Rob Gronkowski is still injured, but that has not slowed down the explosive Patriots offense. Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan have taken charge and the Pats haven't skipped a beat. Edelman is a former quarterback and 7th round pick turned "go-to" receiver for Brady, leading the team with 98 receptions for 1,106 yards. Hogan is a former lacrosse player and went undrafted out of Monmouth, he also had 2 touchdowns and 180 yards last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hogan's incredible flea-flicker reception last week was a staple of how the Patriots can beat you methodically, but also with trickery.
3. The usage of LeGarrette Blount
The NFL's leader in rushing touchdowns (18) will have to leave his imprint in Houston for the Patriots to win their fifth championship. The Falcons' rushing defense is not horrible, but they're not top-tier either. In the postseason, they have faced two teams with struggling rushing attacks. Seattle has not been the same since Marshawn Lynch left, and Green Bay had Wide Receiver Ty Montgomery receiving the majority of the carries after Eddie Lacy's injury. In the regular season, Atlanta surrendered 104.5 rushing yards per game and 15 rushing touchdowns overall, ranking 17th and 18th in the NFL respectively. LeGarrette Blount controls the tempo for the New England Patriots, just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Patriots get Blount rolling and hitting pay dirt, it will be a long day for the Falcons' defense.