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QB Jacoby Brissett - New England Patriots

6-4, 231Born: 12-11-1992College: N.C. StateDrafted: Round 3

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Photo: Winslow Townson, US Presswire

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Week 21: at Atlanta Falcons

All QB vs ATL

Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. Tom Brady has posted a phenomenal set of records during his post-season performances - for example, Brady is the all-time leader in Super Bowl completions (164), passing yards (1,605) and passing touchdowns (13) - but he comes into this Super Bowl with several of his targets ailing - Martellus Bennett (knee, ankle), Malcolm Mitchell (knee), Danny Amendola (ankle) and Chris Hogan (thigh) were all limited during practice Friday, January 27 - keep an eye on how the various receivers progress/don't progress in their recoveries this week. So far during the 2017 playoffs, Brady has thrown 18/38 for 287 yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs. Houston (with two sacks taken for -8 yards and several other hits/pressures), followed by a stong 32/42 for 384 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown (with two sacks taken for -10 yards) against the Steelers two weekends ago. He threw to three main targets against the Steelers - Hogan (12 targets for 9/180/2 receiving), Julian Edelman (10 for 8/118/1) and Bennett (five for 5/32/0) - Mitchell (four for 1/5/0) and Amendola (two for 2/12/0) were sparingly employed during the Conference Championship game. Brady has found enough offense to win both games by comfortable margins, and his talents as a quarterback remain formidable. The Falcons' pass defense has averaged 238.0 net passing yards allowed per game, with five passing scores given out vs. three interceptions and five sacks generated during the 2017 post-season. Russell Wilson managed 17/30 for 208 net yards passing, with two TDs and two interceptions thrown at Atlanta in the Divisional round (three sacks taken for -17 yards), while Aaron Rodgers managed 27/45 for 268 net yards passing, three TDs and one interception thrown (with two sacks taken for -19 yards) at Atlanta two weekends ago. Atlanta was ranked 28th in the NFL averaging 266.7 net passing yards allowed per game, with a whopping 31 passing scores given out during regular season (vs. 12 interceptions and 34 sacks generated). Over the final three weeks of regular season, Atlanta averaged 19.8 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (13th-most in the NFL); 21.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (14th-most); and 8.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (17th in the NFL during that time span). The Falcons have played stronger during the post-season in this phase of the game, though, as the 28.7 net passing yards allowed per game drop in their post-season average demonstrates. Brady is one of the all-time best players at his position, and he has a wealth of post-season experience. The Falcons are a young, brash defensive unit that has improved over the course of 2016-17 - but they are still suspect against the league's top talents, as Aaron Rodgers showed us two weekends ago. Advantage, New England.

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 4 vs BUF (17 / 27 / 205 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / 23 / 0 rush)

Though his stat line shows a modest 205 yards, the reality is, the Patriots couldn't get anything going on offense. Jacoby Brissett did a few things to hurt, but not enough to help. His costliest mistake was a brutal fumble as the Patriots were nearing the Bills end zone for the first score. He also missed some easy throws, including an overthrown on a crucial third down to an open Danny Amendola. Brissett was under siege for a generous portion of the game, and was clearly not at his best when under pressure. His thumb didn't seem to ail him much, though it was heavily wrapped. The only time he really got much going was to Martellus Bennett, and Bennett had much of his yards after the catch beyond his long gain. Brissett will go back to 3rd string duties, possibly as soon as next week.

2016 Week 3 vs HOU (11 / 19 / 103 / 0 / 0 pass, 8 / 48 / 1 rush)

Jacoby Brissett wasn't asked to do much beyond take care of the ball and manage the game against the Texans, and he did that to perfection. His line held up surprisingly well considering the nature of the Texans pass rush, and there wasn't anything egregious on his part. His touchdown run was a thing of beauty, as he had wide open grass of a play fake. He juked a defender out of his shoes near the goal line for his first NFL touchdown, which he amusingly handed to Bill Belichick after scoring. Brissett could have had a passing touchdown, but Julian Edelman dropped a diving grab in the end zone. He also fired well high of Rob Gronkowski on a fade route. The game plan clearly called for running more than passing, but thanks to defensive and special teams efforts, Brissett did what he needed to in order to get a win.

2016 Week 2 vs MIA (6 / 9 / 92 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / 12 / 0 rush)

Brissett was forced into action after a Jimmy Garoppolo injury, and it was clear the coaches completely dialed back the playbook. All his throws were either screens, behind the line of scrimmage, or very short routes, indicating he wasn't going to throw any deep or even chunk balls, considering the Patriots were up on the Dolphins. Brissett did have an ugly fumble, but the Patriots luckily recovered the ball. He'll have a short week to prepare for a nasty Texans defense.

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