New England and Atlanta to meet in SuperBowl LI

Both sides were comfortable winners in the AFC and NFC Championship games

BY Daniel Kelly 08:35 Monday 23 January 2017, 8:35 23 Jan 2017

New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) celebrates with cheerleaders after the AFC Championship game (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

SuperBowl LI will be the first time Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will meet in the NFL Championship game.

The two teams were comfortable winners in the NFC and AFC Championship games. The Falcons and Patriots defeated the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers respectively by a combined 42 points.

Atlanta were the first team to book their spot in the Houston finale. The #2 seeds in the NFC raced into a 31-0 lead at the start of the second-half, and never looked back to win 44-21 in the final game to take place in the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons scored six touchdowns, compared to the Packers three, with wide-receiver Julio Jones scoring twice, in a two-minute period, either side of half-time.

Atlanta will play in only their second-ever SuperBowl next month. Their previous SuperBowl appearance saw the team lose 34-19 in 1999, at SuperBowl XXXIII.

From the relative paucity of the Falcons' history, they will face the modern-day NFL aristocrats in the form of the New England Patriots. The Bill Belichick-coached side will make their seventh SuperBowl appearance in the last 17 seasons. 

The Patriots stormed into a 10-0 lead at the end of the first-quarter, after Chris Hogan scored the first of his two touchdowns. For the remainder of the match, the Patriots kept at least a four-point lead on the way to a 36-17 lead.

Quarterback Tom Brady will play in his seventh SuperBowl. Both he and Belichick hold the records for the most appearances by a quarterback and a head coach in the NFL finale.

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