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Super Bowl 51 kickoff is approaching. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are almost set for Sunday’s showdown. Let’s take a look at the matchup to see who has the edge in the Super Bowl.

 

Storylines

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady can win their fifth Super Bowl on Sunday. Their experience in these big games is invaluable; 23 members of the Patriots have competed in a Super Bowl, whereas four Falcons’ players have competed in one.

The Patriots’ offense is prolific and their defense is equally as good. They allowed the fewest points (250) in the league. They’ll be up against a Falcons’ offense that was not only the best in the NFL this season, but ranks among the greatest offenses in history.

The Falcons, who are led by the league's probable MVP in Matt Ryan, led the NFL with 540 points. They’ve been even better in the playoffs, averaging 40 points per game. Their defense has struggled at times, though, ranking 27th in points allowed (406). That’s the second-most by any team to reach the Super Bowl. 

 

Key Injuries

The Falcons have a couple of minor injuries. They have held out centre Alex Mack and receiver Julio Jones with injuries to their knee and toe, respectively. However, both are still expected to play in the Super Bowl. Jones has been dealing with this injury for a while and is usually limited in practice, so this shouldn't surprise anyone. Additionally, the Falcons lost their top cornerback, Desmond Trufant, to a season-ending injury in Week 9.

For the Patriots, tight end Martellus Bennett is dealing with a knee injury, along with kicker Stephen Gostkowski (illness), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) and receiver Chris Hogan (thigh). Everyone is expected to play despite being banged up. The only exception is star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who’s out for the season.

 

Odds

The line opened at –3 (–115) for the Patriots, and while it inched up to –3 (–125), it’s back down to –3 (–120). The Patriots have been favored all season because they’re the bigger brand name, they had the better regular season record and they have a history of going to the Super Bowl; this is the seventh Super Bowl appearance for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The line could still move, but probably not by much. For the moneyline, the Patriots opened at –155 and are now down to –145. The Falcons are +125.

 

Total

The total is set at 59, which is the highest in Super Bowl history. The Falcons and Patriots were first and third, respectively, in points scored during the regular season. The Falcons have scored 80 points in two playoff games, and the Patriots have scored 70. The Falcons have gone over 16 times this season, and the Patriots went over eight times with one push.

 

 

*Odds as of February 2, 2017