By Danny Cox

On Sunday, the New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons for the NFL Championship in Super Bowl LI, and if a player can stand, they will want him to be out on the field.

With an extra week of practice and rest, the Patriots have allowed a number of players to practice on a limited basis, which has allowed them to have more time to heal. On defense, four players are listed as questionable and some of them could be seen as game-time decisions come Sunday.

Defensive back Nate Ebner was limited all week with a concussion, and the Pats are not going to push him to return if he is still showing any symptoms. 

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (back), and defensive tackle Alan Branch (toe) were all limited this week, but they will be ready to go against the Falcons.

Offensively, the Patriots have three players listed as questionable, and if they are limited, that could seriously hinder their production with the football. Tight end Martellus Bennett (knee) was limited this week as were wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Chris Hogan (thigh), but they should be fine for the game.

If any of those players happen to be limited in the Super Bowl, that could show signs of weakness and open things up for Atlanta’s defense to get the best of New England.

Atlanta Falcons continue to look healthy as they have much of this season

Throughout the season, the Atlanta Falcons have been blessed with a rather healthy roster—one that has been able to avoid a lot of major injuries. For the postseason, things have remained the same; things are looking good for the Falcons heading into the Super Bowl, as they have only three players listed on their injury report.

Wide receiver Julio Jones (toe) and center Alex Mack (fibula) were both limited in practice all week, but they will be ready go on Sunday evening. The more serious situation is that of defensive end Dwight Freeney, who is dealing with a calf injury. It kept him off the field earlier in the week and had him limited on Friday afternoon.

For now, all three players will likely be in the game on Sunday.


  • (TE) Martellus Bennett (knee) – Limited Participation In Practice
  • (DT) Alan Branch (toe) – Limited Participation In Practice
  • (DB) Nate Ebner (concussion) – Limited Participation In Practice
  • (LB) Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) – Limited Participation In Practice
  • (WR) Chris Hogan (thigh) – Limited Participation In Practice
  • (WR) Malcolm Mitchell (knee) – Limited Participation In Practice
  • (DT) Vincent Valentine (back) – Limited Participation In Practice


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