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Super Bowl    New England - Atlanta  NRG Stadium   Houston, Texas 6:30 P.M.  New England enters the game as the league's top scoring defense and Atlanta enters with the top scoring offense.  Both teams will need to establish the run and win the turnover battle. 


How New England wins:  On offense - Wear down the defense by pounding the ball between the tackles, use short to intermediate passes and test Atlanta's ability to tackle.  Protect the ball.  Stretch Atlanta's defense and protect Tom Brady.  Use time consuming drives to keep the Falcons' offense on the sideline. 

                                         On defense - Force Atlanta into time consuming drives, render the Falcons one dimensional stopping the run and forcing Matt Ryan to win the game by himself.  Limit big plays, stop Julio Jones as a deep threat.  Contain Ryan with a seven man front, disguise coverage and use blitzes to test his ability to read defenses in a big game.  Man coverage on the receivers and force Jones to be the sole receiver. 


How Atlanta wins:  On offense - Stretch the defense to create big plays as New England has made a living of forcing teams into 10 - 12 play drives and force the Patriots to overplay the run or pass.  Run at the Patriots and establish Julio Jones as a deep threat.  Use two running back and one tight end to create matchup problems for the Patriots. 


                               On defense - Rotate waves of lineman and linebackers, establish pass rush which has been nonexistent all season.  Get pressure on Brady, force him to scramble and hold the ball longer than he wants to.  Drop linebackers into coverage.  Solve their tackling issues to limit yards after the catch.  Force Brady to throw deep. 


New England 42 Atlanta 28. 



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New England 34 Atlanta 28, overtime.  New England wears down Atlanta's defense in the fourth quarter. A pass rush that consistently gave Tom Brady fits disappeared in the fourth quarter and exposed an overmatched secondary allowing New England to make big plays.  Curious fourth quarter strategy rendered Atlanta one dimensional as they abandoned the run while still holding a 28-9 lead.  Odd considering New England gave up big plays in both the run and pass.  Missed interceptions on dangerous throws on the game tying and winning drives played a role.  Both quarterbacks were sacked five times and Matt Ryan took two on a Falcon drive that reached the Patriots 20 yard line in the final  five minutes.  In between was a holding penalty on a play in which a New England cornerback got away with a facemask penalty.  A field goal essentially puts the game away.  Both teams combined for three turnovers all resulting in touchdowns.  New England's two giveaways stopped drives, the second which was kept alive by three consecutive defensive holding penalties. 


The Patriots' second turnover was a poor decision by Brady in throwing to a covered receiver when another was open across the middle.  The intended route was undercut and the interception went 82 yards for Atlanta's third score.  Atlanta's fumble came in the fourth quarter on a third and one and recovered in their own territory.  Poor field position also hurt Atlanta as they took possession inside the their 15 numerous times, some it as a result of poor decision to run kickoffs out of their end zone.  Sacks also stalled their first possession and a pass interference penalty in overtime set up New England on the Falcon two yard line.  The comeback from a 28-3 third quarter deficit was the largest in Super Bowl history. 



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