Super Bowl 51: Patriots vs. Falcons Kickoff Start Time, National Anthem Info

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 1, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Cornerback Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots has an Interception against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Al Pereira/Getty Images

Super Bowl LI is just days away as the New England Patriots vie for their fifth Super Bowl title this century while the Atlanta Falcons go for their first (and just the second pro sports championship in its city's history).

It should be a great back-and-forth game that goes down to the fourth quarter.

Here's a look at the information surrounding Super Bowl LI, with a focus on the national anthem and a quick prediction.

When: Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017

Kickoff Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Where: NRG Stadium in Houston

Spread: Patriots -3

Over/Under: 58.5

*Odds via OddsShark.

National Anthem

Country star Luke Bryan, known for the hits you can see and listen to here via Billboard.com, will be performing the national anthem prior to Super Bowl LI.

Bryan is no stranger to performing the anthem before big events. He did so before the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, although he infamously received criticism for writing some of the lyrics on his hand and reading off it during the performance (that episode was overblown, but that's another topic).

He's performed the anthem before big crowds since then, most notably during a concert at U.S. Bank Stadium (the home of the Minnesota Vikings) last August.

Bryan tends to sing the national anthem on the longer side, frequently topping two minutes per performance (his time at U.S. Bank Stadium clocks in at 2:27). For reference, the average national anthem performance has been 1:58 in the last 11 Super Bowls, per OddsShark.

In fact, there's a Super Bowl prop on the length of Bryan's national anthem, and folks can bet whether he will finish over or under two minutes and 15 seconds.

Ultimately, Bryan is a very talented artist and should lead off the Super Bowl appropriately.


Don't expect a 17-14 knockdown, drag-'em-out game on Sunday.

Both offenses are prolific, with Atlanta and New England ranking first and second, respectively, in the NFL in Football Outsiders' DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average). Atlanta scored 540 points in the regular season, while New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished with the best Pro Football Focus rating of any player this year (99.3 out of a possible 100 points).

However, their defenses are underrated, which is why this game might surprise by not turning into a traditional high-scoring, 38-35-type shootout.

The Falcons defense is fast, ferocious and hard-hitting, as fans have seen in the playoffs this year. They've shown a propensity for getting to the quarterback, with linebacker Vic Beasley leading the way with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles, both tops in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defense does two things well: It can stop the run (it finished fourth in the NFL in run defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders), and it can defend the pass (cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan and safety Devin McCourty all finished with very good Pro Football Focus grades in the mid-to-high 80s this year).

The thought here is that both offenses try to utilize their running backs early and often in this game to maintain time of possession and keep the opposing offense off the field. Ultimately, the best defense for either side might be a good, ball-controlling offense.

Expect New England to be a little more successful running the ball than the Falcons, whose main weakness is stopping the run (ranked fourth-worst in run defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders).

The Pats will win Super Bowl LI, 31-24, in a great game.


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