By Bobby Babowski
The Seahawks overcame a miraculous 16 point deficit to come back late in the 4th qtr to win their 2nd straight NFC Championship in beating the Green Bay Packers by 6 points (28-22) less than two weeks ago. That win, in my opinion was the greatest 4th qtr comeback in playoff history. Seattle is the first team in the last 10 years to have the opportunity to win B2B Super Bowls The last team to do so, ironically, was their SB opponent, NE Patriots. New England won B2B Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004. NE is playing their 6th SB under HC Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, and have won 3 of their previous 5 Super Bowls. New England won their first three but lost the last two to the NY Giants both games, therefore, the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in 10 years for what that’s worth.
If you take a look at all of NE’s Superbowl games under Belichick and Brady, they were all played close to the vest as most Super Bowls are usually. NE’s PF and PA average in all 5 Super Bowls were almost identical at 20 PF and 20 PA. Seven of the last 15 Super Bowls were won by 4 points or less, eight of the last 15 Super Bowls were won by 6 points or less, and nine of the last 15 Super Bowls were won by 7 points or less. Granted, there were a few blowouts like last years 43-8 romp by Seattle over Denver but that is not likely, especially here with this matchup.
Although New England hasn’t won a Super Bowl in 10 years, don’t think for a minute that they aren’t ready for another ring. As long as the two main KEY COMPONENTS are together, HC Belichick and QB Brady, the Patriots supporting casts are always rock solid and this may be one of their best teams yet. In the past 13 years the Patriots team as a whole has been able to have interchanging parts year in and year out regardless of position, status, years in league, etc and always end up with a winning team on the field. Its almost like a culture over in New England. HC Belichick’s philosophy is very simple and straight forward, the team is all that matters. Everyone is on the same level playing field, that’s the bottom line. You arrive in New England and you either fit in to the philosophy or they ship you right out the door regardless of who you are or how many Pro Bowls you’ve been to.
As you can see, the matchups all around in this game are close, with a slight edge going to Seattle’s Defense and an edge going to New England’s Offense, but the differential in Special Teams is a huge advantage to New England. Tom Brady plays very well against elite defenses as he is 7-1 SU/4-4 ATS but let’s not forget that Russell Wilson is 10-0 SU/8-2 ATS vs Super Bowl Winning QB’s. That statistic is, in my opinion, absolutely amazing, especially due to the fact that it took a miracle over GB late in 4th qtr and OT two weeks back as previously mentioned. Seattle’s defense has given up an average of 251 ypg with 178 ypg passing including playoffs, which is why they are ranked #1 defense in NFL. Seattle, as everyone knows, has arguably the best secondary in the league with safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Richard Sherman hogging up the defensive backfield but it won’t be easy vs Brady who actually plays well with the short passing game versus elite defenses. Seattle beat the Patriots in 2012 with a late 4th qtr comeback and that’s what I expect here, a very close, low scoring game.
Seattle only had 5 games with over 300 yards passing but their solid defense along with Beast Mode RB Lynch and Russell Wilson’s ability to get out of the pocket and extend plays with both his arm and legs make up for that deficiency. New England’s offense is led by TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Edelman and the addition of RB Legarrette Blount. Remember, Blount played for the Patriots last year rushing for 772 yards in 16 games. He left for Pittsburgh this season but somehow was cut late in the season after being disappointed with no carries in week 11. Blount has been a force to be wrecked with since rejoining the patriots scoring 3 touchdowns in one game few weeks back and rushing for 548 yards averaging 4.3 yards per carry. New England has a little beast mode of their own going on with Blount now the featured back.
In my opinion, this is one of the toughest Super Bowls to handicap that I have come across in a long while. The Superbowl is an isolated game and that makes it hard enough, however, these two teams are truly the two best teams in the NFL this year, and I don’t think that can be argued. Therefore, I am basing my decision on the following. Russell Wilson is 10-0 versus Superbowl winning QB’s, Seattle has by far the #1 Defense in the NFL, and Seattle dismantled Peyton Manning last year who had the greatest offense in NFL history. I am not saying by any means that this will be the case, whatsoever. This will be a very close game, but with all of the aforementioned facts, I have to take Seattle in a very close, low scoring game!
PICK: Seattle Seahawks +1