Super Bowl 51 Preview

Super Bowl 51 is a matchup of juggernaut offenses and underrated defenses. Here’s what to expect from both teams from an X’s and O’s perspective:

When the Patriots have the ball

Expect the Patriots to spend their first couple drives combining fast paced tempo with information gathering. The Patriots use┬ámotion and non-traditional sets early to analyze the defense. For example, the Patriots line up fullback James Develin or a running back out wide to see who goes out to cover him. If a linebacker goes with the back, it’s man coverage. If a corner stays with the back, it’s zone coverage. From there, Brady picks the best matchup.

This will help diagnose the Falcons relatively simple defensive scheme. The Falcons primarily play Cover 1 or Cover 3, and don’t blitz often. Although the Falcons have blitzed more frequently during the playoffs, I don’t expect them to blitz Brady a ton in Super Bowl 51. Nor do I expect the Falcons to sit back in Cover 3 and let Brady pick apart zone coverage. Instead, the only consistent strategy for beating the Patriots in the playoffs has been pressure with 4, preferably up the middle.

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