First off, this is a follow-up article to five of my previous articles called “Super Bowl LI Analysis (A look at the team’s QBs, RBs, and WRs), “Super Bowl LI Analysis (A look at the team’s TEs and OL), “Super Bowl LI Analysis (A look at the team’s DL), “Super Bowl LI Analysis (A look at the team’s LBs)”, and “Super Bowl LI (A look at the team’s DBs). The Super Bowl is in a couple of days, so today will be an analysis article, which will be on the team’s special teams. Special teams submitting yet another article on the Super Bowl, this one being on one of the three main parts of football, and is often overlooked, but is quite an important part of a football team. A good special teams unit can often set their team up in a good position to start their drive, while also giving their team a ton of momentum. A bad special teams unit could be the difference of hitting a game-winning field goal or being too far to score on the game-winning drive.
The Patriot’s special teams start with Stephen Gostkowski, a four-time pro bowl kicker. Gostkowski has been stupendous this year, connecting on over 84% of his field goal attempts. Gostkowski will be going for yet another Super Bowl in his 11th season in the NFL. The Patriot’s punter Ryan Allen is in his 4th season. Allen has a decent leg but is known as an accuracy kicker. The Patriot’s are expected to use Cyrus Jones as the primary return man this year, but they may use Julian Edelman at times too.
The Falcon’s special teams unit is one of the best in the league, and if you heard this at the beginning of the year, you would’ve thought I was crazy. Following the departure of special team’s legend Devin Hester, the Falcon’s special teams were supposed to be nothing more than mediocre. Matt Bryant had a career year in his 15th season at the age of 41. Bryant hit on 92% of his field goals, and he only missed one extra point on the year, kicking 98% on extra points. Bryant, because of his great season, may be the best kicker in the entire league. The only kicker that had as good of a season is Justin Tucker, the star kicker for the Baltimore Ravens. Another surprise for the Falcon’s was their punter Matt Bosher, who was entering his prime in his 6th season. Bosher averaged 47 yards per punt while punting the ball for a season-long 68 yards this season. These incredible numbers are coming from a punter who would have been considered below average at the beginning of the season.
Eric Weems has been the kick returner for most of the time this season. Weems has been a great replacement for Hester. Weems will most likely return most of the kicks this Sunday, but don’t be surprised if Justin Hardy gets some or even a star player like Julio Jones or Taylor Gabriel.