Seattle over New England

Fat Guy Corner

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist

Jeff Day — Sports Columnist

The 49th Super Bowl will finally be played at 6:30 p.m., Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. The long two-week wait is over and the match-up of the AFC champion New England Patriots and the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks should be a good one. The two teams are both No. 1 seeds of their respective conferences. Seattle is looking for back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Both teams come into this game with 14-4 records. The odds makers in Vegas have made the game a pick ’em which is very rare. What that tells us is they have these two teams rated at dead even on a neutral football field.

Let’s look at some facts that pertain to this football game. The last four times the AFC No. 1 seed has lost the Super Bowl. New England is 1-2 in the Super Bowl and 3-4 all time in Super Bowls as a top seed. The Patriots are making their eighth appearance in the Super Bowl, which ties Pittsburgh and Dallas for the most. The Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick, has won 21 playoff games, the most ever by a coach. Tom Brady has 20 playoff wins, which is the most ever by a starting quarterback.

The Seattle Seahawks have to like the fact that four of the last five Super Bowls have been won by the NFC. Seattle should also like the fact that New England is 4-11 against the spread in its last 15 playoff games. Those are not pretty numbers for people who want the Patriots to win.

Let’s break down this football game and some player match ups.

The Patriots’ offense averages 30 points a game and the defense gives up 19 points a game. Seattle averages 25 points a game and allows only 16 points defensively. New England’s average passing per game is 257 yards and they rush the ball 108 yards per game. Seattle averages 203 yards through the air and 173 yards on the ground. Seattle hangs its hat on the defensive side of the ball.

Can Seattle contain Tom Brady and running backs LaGarrette Blunt and Shane Vereen? I feel as though the Patriots will try to use a short and quick passing game to attack the Seahawks’ defense. The Seattle defense is long and physical.

Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, plays a long and a physical style. I see Kam Chancellor as the key defender of Gronk. Seattle allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this season, the third most in the NFL. Gronk had 12 touchdowns himself this season. This matchup will be key in this Super Bowl, in my opinion. The Legion of Boom Earl Thomas III, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner and crew will be tough on Tom Brady. The Patriots’ defense struggles with running quarterbacks. The Patriots only lost four games and three of those came to quarterbacks ranked in the top eight as rushing quarterbacks.

So, who’s the No. 1 running quarterback in the NFL? Yes, it’s Seattle’s Russell Wilson with 849 yards on 118 carries for an average of 7.2 per carry. I feel Marshawn Lynch will get a lot of carries.

New England will have to stop Wilson and Lynch running if they are to win on Sunday. As far as the two teams’ wide receivers, I rank them as even. Seattle better beware of Revis Island (Darrelle). I am sure Russell Wilson will stay away from throwing at him.

The Fat Guy drum roll, please, for the Super Bowl pick. I feel as defense is still king in big games, Seattle’s defense is obliterating offenses and Tom Brady’s offense is no exception. I see it as the first back-to-back champions since the New England Patriots did it last in Super Bowls 38 and 39.

Fat Guy Prediction: The 12th man and Hawks 23 and Brady’s Bunch

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