Super Bowl 2017 Kickoff Time: When and Where to Watch Patriots vs. Falcons

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24:  Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots reacts with Patrick Chung #23 and Logan Ryan #26 after recovering a fumble during the second quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Super Bowl LI narrative writes itself. 

On one end, the New England Patriots seek their fifth championship of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's illustrious tenure. The Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile, are one of 13 teams yet to ever win one.

But don't get fooled into believing a David vs. Goliath tale. The Falcons have scored 234 points during their six-game winning streak. Matt Ryan has thrown 18 touchdowns during that stretch, and a healthy Julio Jones is polishing his case as the league's premier wide receiver.

Of course, Brady and the Patriots are also really good. They have achieved seven double-digit victories during nine straight dominant wins, and their offense hasn't lost a beat without superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Fans have endured one week without meaningful football (sorry, Pro Bowl), and they must wait out one more before Fox finally airs the big game on Feb. 5. Here's the viewing info for sports' biggest attraction.

Super Bowl LI

Date: Sunday, Feb. 5

Kickoff Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Watch on Fox Now

A Super Bowl hero from two years ago will need more than one big play to ensure another New England victory.

Malcolm Butler, a virtual unknown entering Super Bowl XLIX, turned into a household name with his game-sealing interception during the closing seconds. In typical Patriots fashion, the undrafted free agent has blossomed into their top cornerback.

Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater commended his teammate's rise to ESPN.com's Mike Reiss:

What you’ve seen is really just a guy who has grown in confidence, who has grown in his understanding of the game, a guy who’s not afraid to compete, a guy who is not afraid of the moment. He just continues to get better and better. What a joy it is to see that story from the beginning to where it is now.

Butler handled the daunting task of shadowing Antonio Brown for parts of the AFC Championship Game. Pro Football Focus highlighted his success in shutting down the star wideout:

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Antonio Brown vs. Malcolm Butler today 4 targets 2 catches 24 yards 0 TD 1 pass breakup #PITvsNE #NFLPlayoffs https://t.co/Pyo5ZCZIdO

Jones looms next, fulfilling a wish Butler expressed in 2012. Now that the hypothetical matchup will soon turn into a reality, he's not shying away from the challenge, per NFL Network's James Palmer:

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

Malcolm Butler asked about his tweet from years ago about Julio Jones. "Dreams do come true" he said with a smile.

The 5'11" defender will need help downfield to contain the physical, 6'3" pass-catcher with super-human strength and leaping ability.

Belichick has a knack for eliminating an opposing offense's top playmaker, but the numbers don't exactly support the anecdotal evidence. According to Football Outsiders, New England ranks 20th in defensive-adjusted value over replacement (DVOA) against opposing No. 1 wide receivers. 

As for the Falcons, neither the Seattle Seahawks nor the Green Bay Packers poked through their ineffective run defense. Given their No. 29 rank in DVOA against the run, the Patriots need a strong performance from LeGarrette Blount.

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots runs the ball in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by El
Elsa/Getty Images

Over the last five games, the 30-year-old running back has mustered an inefficient 2.8 yards per carry. Yet this game screams for him to bounce back. The Falcons' speedy defenders can cause havoc, but their front line is mismatched against a 250-pound bruiser.

At the very least, he'll prove a valuable goal-line asset. As noted by The Ringer's Robert Mays, New England has thrown the ball at or inside the 5-yard line just 32.7 percent of the time. Blount has punched in 11 short scores from the 1. 

This is especially troubling for Atlanta, which relinquished 5.69 points per red-zone drive during the regular season. Only the Los Angeles Rams (5.73) fared worse.

And hey, those Brady and Matt Ryan fellas are sure playing well. Vegas is expecting a shootout; OddsShark has the money line set at 58.5 points. Only one of the past dozen Super Bowls cleared that barrier, but fans and bettors shouldn't discount either sizzling offense.

Note: Advanced stats courtesy of Football Outsiders unless otherwise noted.


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