Tom Brady and the Patriots made it look easy in the AFC Championship against the Steelers, but they may need to do a lot more to take down the Falcons and their high-powered offense to win another title.
These are the seven most important Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
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RB LeGarrette Blount
Blount has been a workhorse for the Patriots all season long, but finished the AFC Championship with just 47 yards rushing on 16 carries. He'll need to do much better than that in the Super Bowl to help New England keep Matt Ryan and Julio Jones off the field as much as possible.
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WR Chris Hogan
Yes, really. Hogan didn't exactly come out of nowhere with his 180 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers, because he's had a couple of big games for New England this season. But going up against an offense like Atlanta's, the Patriots need all the weapons they can get. And Hogan's latest performance will, at the very least, give the Falcons one more thing to worry about when trying to game plan to stop Tom Brady's offense.
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TE Martellus Bennett
Martellus Bennett was an afterthought in the AFC Championship, finishing with just five catches for 32 yards. But he's proven this season to be capable of much more than that, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him heavily featured in the Super Bowl after being fairly quiet now for New England's past five games.
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RB Dion Lewis
Much like LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis didn't have much success against the Steelers defense. But he'll need to find a way to make an impact against the Falcons in order for New England to win the time-of-possession battle and limit Atlanta's opportunities as much as possible.
CB Malcolm Butler
A little over four years ago, Malcolm Butler tweeted that he wanted to cover Julio Jones. He may finally get that opportunity, and whether he and his teammates can prevent Jones from doing his thing may go a long way in deciding who comes away with the win in Super Bowl LI.
WR Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman has been Brady's favorite target and most reliable receiver all season. Coming off a performance where he finished with eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship, he'll need to continue to come up big to match the Falcons' powerful offensive attack.
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QB Tom Brady
Tom Brady has been on a mission ever since returning from his ridiculous four-game Deflategate suspension to start the 2016 season. As good as Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been, if Brady plays the way he has for the bulk of the year, it's tough to bet against the Patriots finding a way to finish the job with a Super Bowl victory on Feb. 5.
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