If you analyze the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons honestly, you have to come to the conclusion that as good as Atlanta’s offense is, they are going to have to do something to upset the timing of Tom Brady to come away with a straight-up victory. There is just no doubt about it. And we have seen that happen in previous Super Bowls, most notably on the part of the New York Giants, who could really generate a pass rush, but can the Falcons apply that same strategy in this game? We’ll talk about that in a second, the first one remind you that the game kicks off at 6:30 PM ET from NRG Stadium in Houston, and BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice before the game starts, and then they can take advantage of real-time wagering through the software provided by Live Betting Ultra.
During the regular season, Atlanta had 34 sacks, with 15.5 of them provided by Vic Beasley, the outside linebacker who maneuvered himself into position to be a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. But you have to look at Beasley season a little closer to really get an idea of what his usefulness might be in this Super Bowl. Keep in mind that three of his biggest games came against rookie quarterbacks – specifically Paxton Lynch of Denver, Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams and Carson Wentz of Philadelphia. In those three games, he had 8.5 of his sacks, and when you are talking about the difference between putting pressure on them and putting pressure on Tom Brady, you might as well throw those numbers out the window. During the post-season he didn’t even have, statistically speaking, a quarterback “knockdown,” but you can bet he has to come up big in this game for his team to have a chance.
Head coach Dan Quinn will probably give him every opportunity, because, well, judging by what the Falcons have done in these two playoff games, they intend to run blitzes more than twice as often as they did during the regular season. But at the same time, the Patriots know that Beasley does not often come on the field when the other team has only two wide receivers, and he is sometimes a liability against opposing ground attacks, so expect offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Brady to act accordingly.
In the Super Bowl LI betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Patriots are the favorites:
New England Patriots -3
Atlanta Falcons +3
Over 58.5 points -110
Under 58.5 points -110
Of course, we have gone over that scenario and not even talked about how good Brady is when he’s facing blitzes. The New England quarterback has thrown 99 passes against the blitz this season, and even though his completion percentage is not out of this world, he has thrown for more than eight yards an attempt with 11 touchdowns. As far as negative plays are concerned, he has been sacked only twice and not been intercepted at all. Suffice it to say that he can deal with any blitz that comes his way, especially if it is against the team that did not normally have it as part of its game plan – probably for good reason – during the regular season.
And if Beasley is in the game, you can fully expect that the Patriots will run some draw plays, taking advantage of his aggressiveness rushing from the outside. The Falcons are not a team that defends the run all that well to begin with, and the Patriots were a little more balanced on offense than Atlanta was this season, running at 46% of the time. BetAnySports patrons may have read somewhere that Atlanta gives a 4.8 yards per carry on first down, so you can expect a heavy dose of that, and some of this play-calling will be designed to keep Beasley off the field in certain situations, perhaps when it may appear obvious that they are going to run the football. That is assuming they even believe Beasley is the most dangerous defender they have to deal with. Remember that the Falcons also have a veteran Dwight Freeney, who has piled up a lot of sacks in his lifetime, but New England has an offensive line that allowed Brady to be sacked only 20 times this season.
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