Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Eric Gay

Super Bowl: six players to watch in the NFL decider

THE 51st edition of the NFL's biggest stage is littered with superstars across the field. Who are the six men set to light up the Super Bowl in Houston?

1. Tom Brady - Quarterback, New England Patriots

Brady missed the first four games of the season due to the infamous "Deflategate" scandal, but despite this, he threw 28 touchdowns, had his second highest career completion percentage (67.4) and had just two interceptions. The three-time Super Bowl MVP will be aiming for his fifth championship ring.

2. Matt Ryan - Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons

The league MVP favourite known as "Matty Ice" is in career-best form. In the 2016-17 season he's reached a career high in completion percentage (69.9), in yards per attempt (9.3) and a career high passer rating (117.1). Super Bowl LI will be Ryan's first appearance at the championship game.

3. Julian Edelman - Wide receiver, New England Patriots

Fellow wide receiver Chris Hogan might be on fire in the post season, but don't look past No.11. Brady and Edelman have fostered a special bromance over the past few seasons, and the receiver scored the game-winning touchdown at New England's last Super Bowl appearance (2015).

4. Devonta Freeman - Running back, Atlanta Falcons

Running back duo Freeman and Tevin Coleman have combined for unbelievable yards this season, as well as 24 touchdowns. Freeman offers the Falcons those tough rushing yards and is a big redzone threat. In his first Super Bowl appearance the 24-year-old will be Ryan's go-to man.

5. Julio Jones - Wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Four-time Pro Bowler Jones is Ryan's No.1 guy. Look out for his acrobatic, gravity-defying catching ability.

6. Malcolm Butler - Cornerback, New England Patriots

The last time Butler was at a Super Bowl, the Patriots were facing almost certain defeat. With less than 30 seconds left in the game the rookie became an overnight hero in New England. He made a game-winning interception at the goal line to give the Patriots the ball, and pull off a miraculous Super Bowl victory. An established cornerbackswho will have his work cut out for him against Julio Jones in Houston.