After what was a long and of course extremely entertaining NFL season we sit here and await Super Bowl XLIX that will feature the Seattle Seahawks attempting to defend their crown against the AFC Champion and constant Super Bowl threat New England Patriots. Seattle is attempting to become the first NFL team to win back-to-back titles since Tom Brady and these New England Patriots did it in 2005.
This game is absolutely not hurting for story lines heading in to this one, most of which are off the field issues and have no bearing on what will go down on the field this Sunday in Glendale at U of Phoenix Stadium. To protect the integrity and purpose of this piece, I will not be mentioning either deflatgate or Mashawn Lynch’s battle with the media after this point. We have two teams here that were somewhere in most people’s thoughts when pondering Super Bowl contenders this season. New England looked like they had fell from grace after an embarrassing week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs while the Seattle Seahawks were 3-3 at one point and their once ferocious defense did not look like that of the previous season’s machine. However, as great teams do, both of these teams rallied and finished the season at 12-4, winning their respective divisions.
I will be taking a look at the OVER/UNDER for my pick but first we have a great matchup on our hands here so let’s take a closer look at both of these teams and see how they made their way in to Sunday’s Super Bowl tilt.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady looked like he had lost it and the Patriots dynasty of 11 playoff appearances in the last 12 seasons was going to finally come to an end. That actually turned out to be very incorrect. Tom Brady settled down and became exactly the Tom Brady everyone had been expecting, Rob Gronkowski got healthy and tortured secondaries and the Patriots offense has scored 80 points in their two playoff wins this postseason. The Patriots have an interesting situation in regards to their running game as Jonas Gray, Shane Vereen and former Patriot now current Patriot Legrarette Blount could all see action with the ball and its been successful for in Bill Belichik’s offense. Of course this offense is all about Tom Brady as the 37 year old attempts to be the third QB in NFL history to win four Super Bowls. He eclipsed the 4,000 yard mark once again this season and tossed 33 touchdowns to boot. Make no mistake that the Pats resurgence after a slow start to the season was exactly when Gronk got healthy. Brady connected with Gronk on 12 of his 33 touchdown passes and the league’s best Tight End went over the 1,000-yard plateau with 1,124 for the regular season. The popular opinion in game’s like these where the league’s best defense goes up against one of the league’s top offenses, the defense usually wins. The Seahawks defense hasn’t been as effective in the postseason as they were in their last 6 games of the regular season (39 points against total) and you have to feel like Brady is going to put some points up on that scoreboard. Hopefully for New England their defense can play as well as they did in last week’s AFC Championship victory of the Colts (7 points against). If they can, New England has a great chance of winning this game as they will indeed score some points Sunday night.
Seattle endured a little bit of a Super Bowl hangover this season as the team was slow out of the gates and their defense looked out of sorts and nothing close to last year’s Super Bowl Champion unit. However, the defensive group came together once again to form the league’s best defense for the second straight season. They allowed just 15.9 points per game this season and as mentioned they held their opponent to just 39 points total over their last six games of the regular season. There is no doubt the defense is going to show up to play in this game, however they have given up 39 points over just two games this post season and they haven’t played all that well this season against good Quarterback’s. That will be the case this Sunday so it will be interesting to see if they can completely shut down Tom Brady, maintain him, or get burned by him. Seattle boasts one of the league’s great leaders already in just his 3rd NFL season in Russell Wilson. Wilson isn’t the flashiest Quarterback or the one who is going to blow you away with his stats, however he seems to keep appearing in the post season. Wilson plays the hand he is dealt very well as the team doesn’t boast a huge receiving threat, and even he admittedly said he loves to turn around and hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch. So goes Marshawn, so goes the Seattle Seahawks offense. Beast Mode shows up in these types of games as demonstrated by his 157 yards in last week’s NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers including the score that put the Seahawks ahead late in the game. Lynch ran for 1,300 yards this season and found the end zone on 13 occasions. If Lynch can run over the Patriots defense, Seattle’s chance in this game improves a great deal. If somehow the Pats can limit Lynch and make Wilson beat them through the air, the Seahawks could be in trouble. Still, everything goes back to the defense and if they can repeat their performance from last year’s Super Bowl in which they held Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to just 8 points.
Over/Under Betting Line
OVER 47.5 (-110) @ BetOnline.ag ($1000 in bonuses, great site to bet online)
UNDER 47.5 (-110)
My Pick – OVER 47.5
I am of the opinion that there will be some points put up in this football game. I really like Tom Brady to perform like he has been over the last couple of months and that means New England will find lots of paydirt on Sunday night. I mentioned the Seahawks offense and how they lack a passing threat, however this is a team that still managed to score 28 points last week and 31 the week before against a very, very good Carolina Panthers defense. Wilson finds ways to use the ground game as a weapon and occasionally connects with the likes of Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse downfield. I do not expect a complete stifling of an all-time great QB in two consecutive Super Bowl’s for this Seattle defense as I expect the Pats offense to find some chemistry in this environment. That’s not to say New England is going to run away with it as Wilson’s leadership will take over and he will manage his offense on the field like he has done in many big football games in his short career. Take the OVER 47.5 this Sunday and enjoy what will no doubt be a spectacular Super Bowl.