The New England Patriots are primarily concerned with defending the Atlanta Falcons offense, the highest-scoring team in the NFL during the regular season with the likely MVP in Matt Ryan. But the real X-factor in Super Bowl LI might be the Falcons defense.

Slow down the Patriots, put pressure on Tom Brady and you've got a good chance to win. It's much easier said than done, but that's the formula.

What makes it a real game of chess is the recent matchups with New England and the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots played Seattle earlier this year, but also played Seattle, then coached by Dan Quinn, in Super Bowl XLIX (a game I argued was the greatest SB of all time). Quinn is now the Falcons head coach.

Bill Belichick was asked Thursday morning about how that helps and how similar the two defenses are and he said it's "the same, but different."

Which he meant in a totally earnest way somehow.

"There's some -- I'd say these guys, they're different. It's the same, but different. Certainly players are different, that's one big thing. I'd say schematically it's not quite the same, and certainly we wouldn't want to take it for granted that it is the same," Belichick said. "I think they modified, handled some things a little differently than what we practiced against for Seattle earlier in the year. But there's certainly carry over, I'm not saying that. It's not like it's two different systems, it's not.

"But I wouldn't say -- you know how, say, how [Richard] Sherman plays it to the way [Robert] Alford plays it, is not quite the same, even though it's the same defense."

In other words, Quinn is still running the same system that he was running in Seattle. The Seahawks and the Falcons still have the same system.

But these are smart coaches -- in Quinn and Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard -- and they're not going to ignore the players they have on the roster when forming the defensive schematics.

As Belichick noted, Robert Alford is a good player, but he's not Richard Sherman. The defensive line is differently. There's no Michael Bennett in Atlanta. But there's no Grady Jarrett in Seattle. Vic Beasley and Cliff Avril are both pass rushers but they're not the same player.

In short, Quinn has managed to adapt a similar defense to his personnel. It could make Belichick's preparation easier, but don't expect him to shorten up the preparation any less as a result.