When the New England Patriots face the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, much of the focus will be on two players. While the two teams combined to go 29-7 in the regular season, it was Tom Brady and Matt Ryan that were the driving forces in their respective conference title runs.

Before the playoffs began, the quarterbacks probably were the two best players in the 2016 NFL season. Ryan is the favorite to win the MVP award, and Brady might finish second in the voting only because he missed the year’s first four games due to a suspension. Sunday’s matchup won’t only determine the NFL champion, but it could determine which player had the best season from start to finish.

This isn’t, however, a traditional matchup between two great quarterbacks. Brady’s legacy is already set in stone as a future Hall of Famer and probably the best signal caller in the sport’s history. Ryan’s career hasn’t even been in the same stratosphere as Brady’s, and his critics still question where he ranks among other quarterbacks and whether or not he’s “elite.”

Prior to the 2016 season, Ryan was thought of by many as nothing more than a slightly above average quarterback, and certainly not among the league’s best. Starting all but two games from 2008-2015, Ryan had never been to the Super Bowl, failing to reach the playoffs in each of the last three years. He only posted a season passer rating of 94.0 or higher once, and only Peyton Manning and Blake Bortles were picked off more times a year ago.

Brady’s credentials are unmatched. He’s entering his seventh Super Bowl with four rings, having won the game’s MVP award three times. Brady’s been a regular-season MVP twice with 12 Pro Bowl selections. At 39 years old, Brady is playing better than ever, setting a record with a 14:1 interception-to-touchdown ratio, and he’s thrown at least 25 touchdown passes in eight consecutive seasons.

There’s no arguing that Brady has been the far better quarterback over the length of his career, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be bested by Ryan Sunday.

Ryan’s 2016 season was one of the best by any quarterback in recent seasons. He led the NFL with a 117.1 passer rating, and his 38 touchdowns were only second to Aaron Rodgers. No other quarterback came close to matching Ryan’s level of consistency, making it likely that he’ll put up big numbers against New England.

Even though the Patriots gave up fewer points than any team in the regular season, Ryan has proven that he can have a lot of success against elite defenses. He’s posted a passer rating of at least 102.8 in 14 of his 18 games, and only once has his passer rating been below 87.0. No team has forced Ryan to throw more interceptions than touchdowns.

This season has certainly been Ryan’s best, but there have been years in which he looked like a top quarterback. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010, 2012 and 2014, leading the Falcons to double-digit wins in four of his first five seasons. Now, Ryan has the necessary weapons and coaching staff to potentially bring Atlanta their first Super Bowl title.

With the likes of Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Taylor Gabriel at his disposal, Ryan led one of the best offenses in NFL history. Scoring at least 23 points in every game but one, the Falcons rank eighth all-time in scoring average for a single season.

The Patriots haven’t put up the same numbers that the Falcons have this season, but they’ve been nearly as good. Even after tight end Rob Gronkowski went down for the year with an injury, Brady continued to give New England the best offense in the AFC.

It’s no surprise that the 2017 Super Bowl MVP is expected to be either Brady or Ryan, and both players should put up big numbers Sunday in Houston.