HOUSTON — Back on the practice field Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons are focused on the ball.

For the offense, taking care of it, and the defense, getting it away from Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

“This is a day we dedicate to the football. It’s going to be a huge factor in this game for sure,” coach Dan Quinn said Thursday morning at his news conference. “Both teams had 11 turnovers during the season, which happened to be the fewest in the NFL, so they’re going to be tough to come by.

“We reminded the teams last night, teams are 9-0 in this postseason when they’re in the plus in the turnover margin,” he said. “It’s a great stat, one that I love sharing with the team because it’s not offensive stat driven or defensive stat driven, it’s totally team related.”

MVP candidate Matt Ryan is aware of the need to protect the ball, thanks in part to a yearlong lesson in avoiding giveaways.

Turnovers in the red zone caused the Falcons to slide after a 5-0 start in 2015. Ryan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan made avoiding red-zone interceptions a top priority in the offseason. Ryan hasn’t thrown one this season, but he did admittedly leave two passes up for grabs against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.

But Ryan kept his composure, and the Falcons derailed Green Bay with the No. 1-ranked offense by not backing off, even airing it out in the fourth quarter up three scores.

“You lose two games in a row in the NFL and its Armageddon. We lost six [in 2015],” Shanahan said. “You really find out who people are during those times. To watch the pressure be on Matt, the pressure be on myself and to see how we handled it. It’s not all fun, it’s not all easy.”

The Falcons are making it look easy on both sides of the ball in the postseason, blasting Seattle and Green Bay to set up Sunday’s game with the Patriots. Atlanta is averaging 40 points per game in the playoffs and allowing 20.5 points with five sacks and four takeaways.

Ryan was sacked 37 times in the regular season and had seven interceptions and two fumbles. The prevailing thought from both defenses is that making the quarterbacks — Ryan and Brady — uncomfortable will be the surest path to securing the Lombardi Trophy.

But the Patriots had only 34 sacks in the regular season and three in two games against pass-happy Houston and Pittsburgh, who combined for 87 pass attempts in playoff losses last month.

Making the pocket small on Ryan isn’t a sure bet to solving the Falcons’ offense. Shanahan’s strength, coach Bill Belichick said, is challenging defenses to defend the entire field. Clogging rush lanes to stop the run and zero in on Ryan widens throwing lanes to the edges, where running back Devonta Freeman has eight receptions for 122 yards (15.3 yards per catch) in two playoff games.

Freeman (54) and Coleman (31) combined for 85 receptions in the regular season, averaging more than 12 yards per reception and totaling seven touchdowns as receivers.

“They’re going to try to take away certain things, and if they do, OK,” Ryan said Thursday. “We trust our other guys, whether it’s our running backs out of the backfield to make plays, whether it’s our tight ends — who have made a lot of plays for us, created a lot of explosive plays for us — or whether it’s our other four receivers out there. We have a lot of trust in Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Aldrick Robinson, Justin Hardy.

“We have trust in all those guys in critical situations throughout the year to make plays, and they’ve all come up doing it,” he said. “I think that has been probably the most rewarding thing this season, has been the contribution of everyone on our offense to help us make plays.”