Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Line: New England -1 over Seattle
Under/Over 47.5 pts
Well, I must say that I can toot my own horn a little bit even before the Superbowl has been played because I predicted that the Seahawks would meet the Patriots in the Championship game way back on September 4, 2014, in my preseason NFL blog post. Please feel free to check it out. Just go to my archives, select NFL and you will find it. the post ends like this:
Superbowl Champion: New England. I think the Patriots may be the only team in the NFL that can beat both Denver and Seattle. I think a strong case can be made for the Seahawks too. I think the Seahawks are definitely capable of repeating as Champ’s. I also think Denver is very capable of returning to the Superbowl. To be perfectly honest, I’m picking the Patriots based on a scenario in which everything goes right for them by the time the playoffs roll around. I don’t think there are too many coaches in the NFL right now that can figure out a way to beat both Denver and Seattle, but Bill Belichick is one of them. Maybe Jim Harbaugh too.
Well, as the excerpt above indicates, I expected the Broncos to face New England in the AFC Championship and I thought the 49ers might pose a serious challenge in the NFC. So, I was off on those two predictions, way off on the Niners, but I’m happy that the teams I predicted to go all the way to SB are here now. Although, I will also admit that picking SEA and NE was not exactly a high risk proposition because I think those two teams were two of about half a dozen teams that figured to be real contenders in the preseason. Now, if I had picked Indy and Dallas to meet in the SB and they actually made it, that would have been really impressive, but I had to be realistic about my selections. There can be only two teams and I got’em it right.
The Patriots made it to AFC Championship game last season despite losing several key players on both offense and defense (Gronkowski, Wilfork, Mayo, chief among them) to injury during the course of season. I figured if the Patriots stayed healthy this season they would definitely be capable of returning to the SB. Unfortunately, the Pats did lose LB Mayo again and they had to deal with a few injuries on the O-line during the course of the season, but this team was relatively healthy this season. Most importantly, All-World TE Rob Gronkowski avoided major injury and had a spectacular season. I think that was a major key to the success that NE enjoyed this season. I think Gronkowski and the other NE TE’s will pose a serious threat to Seattle’s secondary, the vaunted Legion of Boom. In losses that Seattle suffered to San Diego and Dallas during the regular season the TE’s for those teams did some real damage, scoring 5 TD’s in total. Gronkowski is the best at the position right now so he should do well. If Seattle concentrates on stopping Gronk other players should be open and Brady will find them.
Another key to the Patriots return has been the improvement of their defense. The Pats defense is not in the same class as the Seahawks, of course, but it is very solid. I think NE’s D should be up to the task of keeping Seattle from scoring 24 points or more and if they can do that they should stand a very good chance of winning the game because I just don’t think Seattle’s D, as good as it is, even with the Legion of Boom, can shut down the Pats passing attack. Yes, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch and QB Russell Wilson present serious challenges on the ground, but I think they can be contained. Lynch may run for a hundred yards or so, but don’t think we will see Russell Wilson running wild, at least not beyond the line of scrimmage. I think the Pats will definitely assign a spy to Wilson and keep him under control.
Coming into this season I thought the Seahawks had dynasty potential. They essentially kept their core group of stars together and they are not an old team. I think the Seahawks could be a SB contender for the next 3 to 5 years. If Seattle wins this game we will immediately see all sorts of stories in the sports media about the Seahawks becoming a dynasty team and that will be justified if they repeat here. I admire the job head coach Pete Carroll has done with team and I like many of the players on this Seahawks team, even the braggadocious CB Richard Sherman. I really don’t mind players who talk, if they can back it up and Sherman does most of the time.
With 37 year old QB Tom Brady in final stage of great career the window to win a championship for Pats may only last a couple more years, unless Pats 2nd string rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo turns out to be a star (he might be, he’s displayed flashes of superior ability in the few short periods he has been on field). However, I think just one more SB win will significantly impact the legacy of both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. They will both be going into the Hall of Fame regardless of the outcome of this game, but another ring here will bolster the arguments for them to be considered, respectively, the greatest coach of all time and the greatest QB of all time. Another Lombardi Trophy win for New England would give them 4 and that definitely would put them in the upper echelon of teams that have won multiple championships in the NFL, joining teams the Giants and Packers, who each have 4. The Steelers have 6, the Cowboys and Niners have 5 each, so that will give the Patriots something very big to shoot for if they can win it all today.
I think this game will end one of three ways: Big win by the Patriots (victory by 14 pts plus), Narrow win by the Seahawks (3 pt victory) or Narrow win by Patriots. I think a narrow win by the Patriots is the most likely outcome.
Final Score: Patriots 27, Seahawks 24
POST SUPER BOWL COMMENTS:
Final Score: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
Wow, what a game! I’m happy that the Pats won and that my final score prediction was pretty darn close, although I’m perfectly willing to concede there was some luck involved. Seattle was clearly in a position to win in the final minutes and they blew it, but those are the breaks of the game.
All in all, it was a great game between two pretty evenly matched teams. It was what you hope the SB will be.