Super Bowl 51 matchups to watch: Can Patriots ground Julio Jones, Falcons?

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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero breaks down what to look out for from Houston as the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons prepare for Super Bowl LI.
USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots haven’t encountered a player like Julio Jones — and vice versa — in some time.

No player in history has entered the Super Bowl averaging as many yards per game (100.6) in that season as the Atlanta Falcons’ star receiver, with Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (100.2) standing as the only other player to crack the 100-yard barrier. In torching the Green Bay Packers for 180 yards in the NFC Championship Game, he joined legends Jerry Rice and Fred Biletnikoff as the sole players to reach that mark in multiple playoff games.

When the Falcons’ top-scoring attack meets the Patriots’ stingy defense Sunday in Super Bowl LI in Houston, Jones will represent the ultimate test case for Bill Belichick and his ability to erase his opponent’s most dangerous threat. The Patriots coach has a sterling record…

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