The Atlanta Falcons were the only NFL team this season to have the same five starting offensive lineman for every game–something that is very rare in today’s NFL.

Alex Mack
(USA TODAY Sports)

On the biggest stage, Super Bowl LI they could see their streak end as center and leader Alex Mack is dealing with a bad ankle/fibula injury. Mack was limited in practice again on Thursday and Quinn said after the session that he’s not without worry about the center’s fitness for Sunday.

“I just know his toughness and strength is so great,’’ Quinn said, via pool reporter Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “The good thing is I know he’s feeling better than he did in the NFC Championship Game. But yeah, I’m concerned. I’m not panicked, but I’m concerned.”

King said that Mack spent some time with backup center Ben Garland during the practice, which Quinn said was because the multiple fronts used by the Patriots “requires a lot of prep work by the center” heading into the game.

If Mack isn’t able to last the entire game it will be a huge blow to a Falcons unit that has excelled on offense due to their line play. When the Falcons struggle protecting Matt Ryan, they struggle (look at the entire 2015 season).

Ankle injuries are difficult to predict in football, but it is extremely difficult to play with for a lineman, who uses their lower body to gain control and stabilize themselves when they are in the trenches with a defender.

Hearing that Dan Quinn is concerned makes me think the injury is more serious than being let on, and another bold prediction for the game is that Alex Mack will not make it through the entire game. Another reason why the Pats should win on Sunday.

 

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