Hopefully this scene will unfold at the Super Bowl
As former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes stated via twitter that the New England Patriots are 0-2 when the Super Bowl is played in Glendale. They also have not made a Super Bowl since they stopped spying on other teams. The Patriots legacy will be forever tainted by this fact, and Deflate-gate could leave an asterisk next to this season's version of the team. At the press conference introducing the new Jets regime, so much was talked about doing things the right way, which was in direct response to the Patriots history of transgressions. Former Steelers running back and current ESPN commentator Jerome Bettis referred to the Patriots as "known felons". This was before the NFL released their findings after their investigation. Of course, the quality of the NFL's ability to properly investigate has been questioned, so we must take this with a grain of salt. So long as the Patriots do not pull any of their shenanigans, which we may never fully know, we should have a highly competitive game. Here are the keys to the game for the Seahawks:
Let's face it folks, Russell Wilson is not the greatest QB who existed. He isn't even close. He's not a top ten QB in this league. He plays in a great system. Is he a winner? Yes. Is he a quality starter in this league? Yes. This team hums based on the motor of Marshawn. In my opinion, he is the most underrated player in the league. This may be due to his personality. You can't dispute this guy's value to his team. This team changed when Marshawn came into his own. The stats may not be there, as he has 815 rushing yards in 9 career playoff games, but he always seems to break a run when his team needs him to perform. Lynch made a certain obscene gesture when he scored the go-ahead TD in the 4th quarter in the NFC Championship, so it remains to be seen how the NFL will respond. The dude is hard to stop, no matter what level the footballs are inflated to. He is going against the 24th ranked run defense in the league, so there's certainly a chance for him to go off. I like Marshawn's chances due to his bruising run style against a defense that allows 100+ rush yards per game.
Kam Chancellor. Earl Thomas. Richard Sherman. Byron Maxwell. That's a list of studs. The Seahawks rush defense is very suspect, so it is important that these guys perform and contain the receivers. The Legion of Boom is definitely physical enough to contain Rob Gronkowski. We saw LeGarrette Blount go off against the Colts, and that had nothing to do with deflated footballs. The Seahawks may not be able to stop someone like him. Blount is a poor man's Marshawn Lynch, and Brady is obviously a legend, so they are much better offensively. The Seahawks are much better defensively. That is obvious. This is due to the secondary. They are 5th in pass defense, and 30th in run defense. If the Legion is not up to full strength, it could be a huge problem for the Seahawks. If the Seahawks have any desire to win this game, they must become the BallHawks.
Like I said above, the Seahawks' gameplan must revolve around the secondary, their clear strength. The Seahawks won last year because they pressured Peyton Manning relentlessly. However, the Broncos had no run game last year to complement him. For as bad as the Patriots run defense is, the Seahawks is statistically worse, ranking 30th in the league. These stats could be inflated because teams most likely implemented a run-heavy gameplan against the Legion of Boom. Also, the Seahawks suffered injuries to the front seven through the season. That being said, the Patriots are the most unpredictable offensive team in the league. That is the reason they are in the Super Bowl. For the Seahawks to be successful, they must play complementary defense. I expect lots of man blitzes from the Seahawks in order to both pressure Brady and contain Blount.
There's a reason that this game is listed as Pickem' by the oddsmakers. I expected the Seahawks to win the NFC Championship easily and I expected the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship to be a highly competitive game. The complete opposite occurred, leaving me very confused as to what to make of the Super Bowl. The Patriots are widely considered a success despite not winning a title in 11 years. The Seahawks are riding high after pulling off an incredibly unlikely comeback. It was a great game, but I can honestly say that not an ounce of me was surprised when they came back. The Pats weren't challenged at all. History tells us that teams with the competitive juices flowing are more ready come time for the big game. I don't think the Seahawks put all that heart into the NFC title game to lose in the Super Bowl.
Score: Seahawks 27 Patriots 24