Super Bowl LI pits the New England Patriots No.1 scoring defense against the Atlanta Falcons No.1 scoring offense. Our own Orlando Torres wrote a piece looking at the history of the Super Bowl when the No.1 scoring offense and defense squares off. Let’s just say history is not on the Falcons side.

Patriots
(USA TODAY Sports)

If the Falcons are going to turn history around it will need Julio Jones to continue his dominating playoff performances, something Bill Belichick is working on now to prevent from happening. In my opinion, the “Hoodie” is the greatest NFL coach in history and is the best at putting together game-plans to put his team in the best position to win.

If the Patriots can successfully stop Julio it will put a huge dent in Atlanta’s chances from winning. Yes, the Falcons have other offensive weapons, but none are remotely close to Jones when it comes to big-play ability.

My best guess, Belichick and the Patriots will employ a bracket-zone coverage specifically on Julio, but also all over the field to prevent the Atlanta passing game from being successful.

If you aren’t familiar with the bracket-zone concept here are some details to get more acquainted…

Bracket coverage is designed to create double coverage on a single receiver. There are multiple types of brackets and various reasons to use them. The starting point for bracket coverage is to begin with its place in football.

The two main coverage families in football are zone and man. Between these two families are many voids that coaches have attempted to and are still in the process of filling. The major attempt by many coaches has been seen in the evolution of match up-zone and pattern reading.

Bracket-Zone

+Good for run and pass situations
+Protects against the deep ball
+Able to read the QB and break on the ball

The Positives to Bracket Coverage

1. Ability to double cover a good WR (eliminate mismatch)
2. Ability to leverage underneath and deep routes effectively.
3. Can involve simple and solid run support rules.

There are two types of bracket coverage the Patriots will employ….

1. Over/Under

Patriots

  • You can see here versus comebacks or passes outside the hash marks the corner will protect against the deep pass while a linebacker or nickel corner will protect the flat-to-intermediary passes, essentially placing two guys at all-times against the WR.

  • This is another Over/Under bracket concept that has the corner stay with the wideout directly off the line to the intermediate pattern. If the WR continues his route deep, another defensive back will be there to help and contain.

2. In/Out

  • In/out brackets provide horizontal leverage on a WR. One defender will cover him inside and up the other will work and outside and up. This type of coverage is easy to disguise and can be employed on any receiver.

  • The technique of each player is crucial. If the WR runs an inside cut, the “IN” defender must play the route aggressively and take it away. In this situation the “OUT” defender would work over the top of the route and provide deep support for the “IN” defender.

  • No matter where the WR is supposed to go, there will be two defenders shadowing him at all times.

This is what I believe Belichick and the Patriots will use to stop Julio Jones from making an impact in the Super Bowl. If it works (which I believe it will) the Falcons will need to rely on their RB’s (Freeman and Coleman) and other WR’s (Sanu and Gabriel) to put points up on the board. The question will be, is that enough to outscore Tom Brady and company?

 

Dan Schalk is the Founder of MyFantasySportsTalk.com, you can follow him on Twitter @FFSportsTalk

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