Fox, which will broadcast the game, is also offering it online for free via FoxSportsGo. Usually the streaming service requires viewers to verify their cable subscription, but the network is doing away with that for the Super Bowl.
For New England, quarterback Tom Brady will be looking for his fifth Super Bowl ring. Brady continues to show the league that he can play well even as his age nears the big 4-0. He was suspended for the first four games of the season because of his role in DeflateGate, but New England still managed to go 3-1 without him. When Brady returned to the gridiron, the offense — and the team as a whole — played much better.
With Brady under center, the Patriots went 11-1 and clinched the top seed in the AFC. When tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending ruptured disk injury, many thought the Patriots’ offense would regress.
That certainly did not happen, as New England finished in the top 10 of every major offensive category in 2016. Brady threw for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Running back LeGarrette Blount has been superb this season as well. He used his power and speed to wreak havoc on defenses that were focused on stopping the passing attack. Blount finished the regular season with 1,161 rushing yards and a league-high 18 touchdowns.
Defensively, New England did not surrender a lot of big plays while creating turnovers. It had a top-10 defense in the regular season and only gave up an average of 16.5 points in the postseason.
Much like the Patriots, the Falcons have one of the best offenses in the league. Led by star quarterback Matt Ryan, Atlanta can light up the scoreboard.
Ryan has been having a stellar season, throwing for 4,944 yards to go along with 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The 31-year-old signal caller makes plays when his team needs them most.
Ryan led Atlanta to an 11-5 record and to the second seed in the NFC.
He is referred to as “Matty Ice” because he performers well under pressure. However, this offense has more lethal players in its arsenal. Receiver Julio Jones and running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been key contributors.
Jones uses a combination of strong route-running skills, speed, and strength to get open and make big plays. Opposing defensive backs in the league struggled with containing him. The four-time Pro Bowl receiver finished with 1,409 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2016.
Freeman and Coleman are ferocious runners. They do not like to shy away from contact, and both of them have the strength to pick up tough yards. They combined for 1,599 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.
Defensively, Atlanta has been inconsistent. In the regular season, this unit was the 25th-ranked defense in the NFL. However, it has played well in the playoffs, surrendering 20.5 points per game.
The Falcons need to continue that trend if they’re going to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game. Linebacker Vic Beasley and Co. must get pressure on Brady and not let him sit in a clean pocket.
Both offenses can score, but this game will come down to which defensive unit can create turnovers and not give up a lot of points.
How to Watch
When: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, and Chris Myers
Halftime performers: Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
Online: Fox Sports Go
The worst Super Bowl ever featured the Falcons