The Atlanta Falcons are looking for their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history this Sunday in Houston, but it will have to come through New England. This is the second Super Bowl appearance for the Falcons, but they have come in flying high with convincing divisional and NFC championship wins over the Seattle Seahawks and the fiery Green Bay Packers respectively. To hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time ever the Falcons will have to stop the New England Patriots, which will not be easy. With a taste of greatness 60 minutes away, here is how the Falcons will win Super Bowl LI:
Keys for Atlanta:
- Pressure, Pressure, Pressure
The key to beating the Patriots defensively hasn’t been a mystery, but it has been more of a rubik’s cube to figure out. The Atlanta Falcons must get pressure on Tom Brady and force him to make mistakes. Three games come to mind in which the Patriots did not appear to be their normal dominant selves: Super Bowl XLII and XLVI against the New York Giants and the 2016 AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos. In the 2016 AFC Championship game, Tom Brady was harassed by the Bronco defense. Brady was sacked four times, hit 17 times and threw two interceptions to a stifling defense led by Von Miller, who had 2.5 sacks and an interception. Vic Beasley is the primary pass rusher for Atlanta, he led the league with 15.5 sacks this season. Atlanta’s defense overall has stepped up this postseason, especially last week against the Green Bay Packers who seemed unstoppable. They will need to pressure Brady in order to win, that’s easier said than done.
2. Matty Ice must take charge
Many responsibilities lie on the shoulders of the Quarterback, this season Matt Ryan has stepped up to the plate. In previous seasons, Ryan has not been able to get over the hump. He has led the Falcons to the Super Bowl, but now he has to lead them to victory, it will take all the nine year veteran has to offer. Ryan is not a “game manager” by definition, but he knows how to control the flow offensively and combine his managing skills with a gunslinger mentality. With weapons like Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and a receiving duo out of the backfield, the offensive arsenal is at his disposal. Matt Ryan has come up big the entire season for Atlanta, now he has to do it on the big stage versus the leagues best defense.
3. The usage of the “Tevin Freeman”
The combination of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been so effective that their names are now joined as one. Not in a literal sense, but this duo has been electrifying all season, not just by carrying the ball but by receiving as well. Freeman rushed for over 1,000 yards this season and caught over 50 passes for 462 yards. Coleman rushed for over 600 yards and had 431 receiving yards on just 31 receptions. New England’s defense is their staple, always has been and more than likely always will be. But their linebackers are not superior in coverage, they’re better against the run ranking third in the NFL during the regular season. If Atlanta can exploit this weakness, that could be the big break that the Falcons need to capture their first Super Bowl win.