Super Bowl XLIX Preview

For the second year in a row, the top seeds in each conference will meet on sport’s grandest stage. It is the defending champion Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.

New England Patriots (14-4)
at Miami                         L20-33
at Minnesota                W30-7
Oakland                         W16-9
at Kansas City             L14-41
Cincinnati                     W43-17
at Buffalo                      W37-22
NY Jets                          W27-25
Chicago                         W51-23
Denver                           W43-21
at Indianapolis             W42-20
Detroit                            W34-9
at Green Bay                L21-26
at San Diego                W23-14
Miami                             W41-13
at NY Jets                     W17-16
Buffalo                           L9-17
Baltimore                       W35-31
Indianapolis                  W45-7

Total Offense: 365.5 yards per game
Pass Offense: 257.6
Rush Offense: 107.9
Points: 29.2

Total Defense: 344.1
Pass Defense: 239.8
Rush Defense: 104.3
Points: 19.6

Super Bowl XX: lost to Chicago 46-10
Super Bowl XXXI: lost to Green Bay 35-21
Super Bowl XXXVI: beat St. Louis 20-17
Super Bowl XXXVIII: beat Carolina 32-29
Super Bowl XXXIX: beat Philadelphia 24-21
Super Bowl XLII: lost to NY Giants 17-14
Super Bowl XLVI: lost to NY Giants 21-17

Seattle Seahawks (14-4)
Green Bay                         W36-16
at San Diego                     L21-30
Denver                               W26-20
at Washington                  W27-17
Dallas                                 L23-30
at St. Louis                        L26-28
at Carolina                         W13-9
Oakland                             W30-24
NY Giants                          W38-17
at Kansas City                  L20-24
Arizona                               W19-3
at San Francisco              W19-3
at Philadelphia                  W24-14
Francisco                           W17-7
at Arizona                           W35-6
St. Louis                             W20-6
Carolina                              W31-17
Green Bay                          W28-22 (OT)

Total Offense:  375.8 yards per game
Pass Offense:  203.1
Rush Offense:  172.7
Points:  24.6

Total Defense:  267.1
Pass Defense:  185.6
Rush Defense:  81.5
Points:  15.9

Super Bowl XL:  lost to Pittsburgh 21-10
Super Bowl XLVIII:  beat Denver 43-8

The Seahawks are making their third appearance in The World Championship of Professional Football while the Patriots will be making their eighth, tying the Cowboys and Steelers for the most. Seattle won the championship last year defeating Denver 43-8. New England has three championships but none in the last 10 years, and they lost in their last two appearances, both to Eli’s Giants. Seattle is looking to become the first team since New England in 2004 to repeat.

Each of these teams got off to slow starts causing them to either be partially, or wholly, dismissed as viable contenders. The Seahawks were 3-3 and the Patriots were 2-2. Seattle’s defense looked shaky and their vaunted toughness in question while New England was seen as finished after a drubbing on Monday Night Football in Kansas City, Tom Brady was washed up and Bill Belichick had lost his touch. Not so fast, my friend.

Seattle enters Glendale on an eight-game winning streak, their defense as fearsome as ever only having allowed a total of 13 points in the fourth quarter in those eight games combined. New England’s only loss since Kansas City with their entire lineup was in Green Bay. These two emerged as the best in their conferences and arrive at the Super Bowl as most deserving.

Each team has holes on offense, weaker parts of the sum. For Seattle it is the consistency of Russell Wilson and his receivers; for New England it is the running game.

Wilson was awful for 55 minutes against Green Bay in the championship game, but then found it. New England got 148 yards and three touchdowns from LeGarrette Blount against the Colts in their championship game. Whichever weaker part plays strong will give that team an edge.

But the ‘Legion of Boom’ is just too much to ignore. The run this defense has been on during this streak matches up with any in NFL history. The health of Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, both banged up against the Packers, is crucial against Brady. Brady and Belichick are in their sixth Super Bowl together, trying to grab that historic fourth championship proven so elusive. Unlike against the Giants, magic and luck will not overcome the Patriots. A superior team will. Seattle will cement their legacy as one of the great teams of all-time and deny New England once again. My pick is Seattle 27, New England 20.