The Super Bowl is upon us and the Patriots are looking to add a fifth ring to their dynasty. The Falcons will present as a challenging opponent Sunday, but if the Patriot’s follow these five keys, they should be in good shape.
Stay Focused: The New England Patriots are infamously one of the league’s best at staying focused at the task at hand. Everything up to this point, including their performance at media day, seems to indicate this week will be no different. However there is still plenty of hubbub about this being their redemption game for Deflategate and their chance to stick it to Roger Goodell. Last time they were playing for revenge in the Super Bowl, in 2012 against the Giants, things didn’t quite work. In 2008 they also had a distraction in front of them with an undefeated 18-0 season in their grasps. Not letting any exterior motives carry them away shouldn’t be a problem, but it will be a key.
Keep Julio Jones quiet: Malcolm Butler and New England’s secondary have done an impressive job this season of forcing team’s best options out of the equation. Last week Antonio Brown was a virtual non-factor for the Steelers. However Julio Jones is having a career season and is in a groove right now. If the Patriots let him takeover, they are going to have a tough time with this Atlanta offense
Take what the Falcons give you: The Patriots offense has all the tools, a diverse run game, crafty slot receivers, deep threats, and the best quarterback of all time. They also have one of the best offensive coordinators in the league: Josh McDaniels. Obviously they have concocted up a game plan they think will work. However the Falcons defense is paltry and the Patriots should be fully capable of adjusting to the Falcons game plan Sunday and still exposing them. Not having a one track mind will be key.
Make sure Tom Brady stays upright: The Patriots offensive line crew has improved leaps and bounds since Dante Scarnecchia came out of retirement to reclaim his old gig. However they’ll have one final test this weekend in Vic Beasley and the Falcons. The Patriots offensive line has given up a few too many sacks and QB hits for my liking. Not enough that it’s a glaring issue, but the simple fact of the matter is when Tom Brady has time and space, he can pick any defense to shreds. The O-Line needs to give him that ability Sunday for the Patriots to operate at maximum effiency.
No flukes: This is a key for every team, every weekend. It basically goes without saying. However, the Patriots haven’t been immune to it. Stephen Gostowski missed an Extra Point last weekend. In their first game against the Texans, a Dion Lewis fumble gave Houston prime field position and Tom Brady also threw a costly interception. Every Patriots fan knows the debacle that was Cyrus Jones in their big regular season game against the Baltimore Ravens. Hopefully they’ve gotten it all out of their system, as they can’t make any mistakes this weekend.
Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.