Many of you might be aware of a large sporting event coming up in the near future. To some, it’s simply an event for the food or for the commercials. Others, a time of regret for as they lament their own team not making it to the big game (sorry Cowboys fans). But for some, it’s a time of great excitement as they look forward to either the anticipated “great game” from a neutral perspective, or as they prepare to cheer on their team in the biggest game of the NFL season: the Super Bowl.
The NFL playoffs are broken into a two-sided bracket, one including the teams from the American Football Conference and one representing the National Football Conference. The Super Bowl teams are the top team from each conference who have climbed their way through the playoffs for a chance to show who the best team really is.
This year’s matchup features the Atlanta Falcons from the NFC, and the New England Patriots from the AFC. The Falcons finished the regular season 11-5 and led the league with 33.8 points per game, and had the second-most yards per game at 415.8. They have continued this trend throughout the playoffs, averaging a ridiculous 40 points per game in their two blowout victories that brought them to the Super Bowl. The Falcons displayed an explosive, fast-paced offense throughout the season that got a lot of attention and has been causing nightmares for defenses all year. Their defense was a bit more of a concern, allowing 25 points per game. More often than not, the Falcons found themselves in a high-scoring shootout and ended up coming out on top in most of those encounters.
The Patriots on the other hand, represent an underrated but stout defense, allowing the fewest points per game in the entire league, averaging around 15. New England’s ability to create turnovers and make big plays at the right time is what has given them the edge in a lot of their victories this season. The Patriots finished the season 14-2 this year, and much of that can be credited to their balance as a team. Having a solid defense and one of the league’s best offenses is what has brought them this far. The Patriots have overcome losing one of their best players, Rob Gronkowski, by adjusting on the fly and having each player step up into his role as needed.
Some are saying that the the Patriots defense might be the toughest the Falcons have faced all season. But the Patriots have also yet to encounter an offense on par with theirs, like that which the Falcons possess. Tom Brady and the Patriots are seeking their 5th Super Bowl victory in just 17 years, while the Falcons are hungry for their first ever win. Both teams are showing a lot of desire, and will be primed to put on quite a show.
This year’s Super Bowl is set to be one of the best ever. Many anticipate this game to be a high-scoring affair with lots of back and forth lead changes. This is the kind of game that even those who don’t have a rooting interest, or even those who don’t care about sports, can look back on and say, “Wow, that was a great game.”
So even if you are only in it for the food, or if you’re bitter about your team not being in this year’s game, try to take some time to enjoy the matchup between two great teams, and ask yourself, who are you rooting for?
Check out ESPN.com for a detailed breakdown of the two teams matching up in Super Bowl LI: