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Super Bowl 51 Preview - Falcons’ Defense Faces a Big Challenge

What does the Atlanta Falcons’ defense have to do in order to succeed against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots? We hear plenty of speculation as to what the Patriots are going to do against the Atlanta offense, which rang up the eighth-highest point total on a per game basis of any team in NFL history. But the Atlanta defense may be the unit that has the biggest challenge of all. That’s because while it appears as if they have been coming on a little stronger during the playoffs, they weren’t all that strong overall, and they haven’t faced a combination of quarterback, offensive line, scheme and experience like they will in Super Bowl 51, which kicks off at 6:30 PM ET at NRG Stadium in Houston. VietBet customers can get reduced juice on this game prior to the event, and then they can place real-time wagers using the mechanism provided by Live Betting Ultra.

Patriots vs Falcons – Super Bowl 51 odds:

In the Super Bowl LI betting odds posted at VietBet, New England is the favorite in this game:

New England Patriots -3
Atlanta Falcons +3
Over 58.5 points -110
Under 58.5 points -110
Pats to Win -155
Falcons to Win +135

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vb 728x90 - Super Bowl 51 Preview - Falcons' Defense Faces a Big Challenge

Super Bowl 51 Preview – Our Take:

As good as Tom Brady is, and he is extremely good, with a 28-2 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions during the regular season, head coach Bill Belichick would be perfectly content running the football as an avenue to victory. This is something that makes the Patriots unique; they can implement any number of different strategies, or use any of their weapons to make a difference in the ball game. It would not be all that surprising, for example, if LeGarrette Blount became the dominant figure in this game. Blount, who has had two different stints with New England, scored 18 touchdowns on the ground this season, the most in the NFL. And even though he only averaged 3.9 yards per carry, Belichick is going to run him any way, because he wants the opposition to have something to worry about. More on that in a second.

We are going to give you the one figure that Atlanta definitely has to improve upon if they want to win this game. Ready for it? They have to be able to defend the run better on first down. New England will test them in this area, as they gave up an average of 4.8 yards per carry in first down situations, and only one other team in the NFL was worse. The effect of New England being able to achieve some success on the ground on first down is that it makes it much easier to convert on third down, as Brady has more legitimate options at his disposal. Atlanta cannot afford to go back into some of its zone coverages when New England has a bunch of receivers who are very good at getting open right away, with a quarterback who makes decisions quickly and gets rid of the ball. So even if the Patriots don’t strike for big plays, they have the ability to move the ball very methodically down the field.

VietBet patrons also need to keep in mind that in previous Super Bowls, Brady has been bothered by an aggressive pass rush. But the question is whether Atlanta has the ability to do that against him. Brady was sacked only 20 times this season, and for a change, his offensive line has managed to stay together and stay healthy for the most part. One of the big revelations the season was Marcus Cannon, the right tackle who went from journeyman to second-team All-Pro, so the sacks will not come cheap for the Falcons. They do indeed have the player who chalked up more sacks than anyone in the league in Vic Beasley, who had 15.5. But a closer examination reveals that Beasley got 8.5 of those sacks against rookie quarterbacks (Paxton Lynch, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff). There is a world of difference between chasing down a rookie and corralling one of the NFL’s all-time best, who doesn’t sit back there and hold the ball for very long.

That’s also a difference between the quarterback Atlanta had to face in the NFC championship game, Aaron Rodgers, and Brady. And the Seattle Seahawks had such a patchwork offensive line that to even use Atlanta’s pressure statistics in that game as a barometer for what they can do here is useless. So as you can see, it could be Atlanta’s difficulties in stopping New England, rather than the other way around, that could hold the key to a victory here.

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