THE SANTA CLARA
January 22, 2014
This year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will be one for the ages. The Seahawks hope for a repeat as the champions, while quarterback and coach duo Tom Brady and Bill Belichick seek their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
Seattle comes into the Super Bowl with an eight-game winning streak, including a miraculous comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. It’s easy to focus on the last four minutes of that game, when the Seahawks sealed their victory, but we can’t forget about the rest of the game. Seattle’s offense looked flat-out pathetic. Russell Wilson threw four interceptions and could barely get a first down.
New England, on the other hand, enters Superbowl XLIX after embarrassing the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship, crushing them 45-7. Brady was sharp, and running back LeGarrette Blount seemed just as impressive as Marshawn Lynch.
Normally in the Super Bowl, there’s a great debate on who has the edge in the quarterback matchup. This time, however, it’s not even close. Brady has more touchdowns, passing yards and a higher completion percentage than Wilson both in the regular season and the playoffs.
For the Seahawks to win, their defense will need to continue to carry the team. Seattle’s defense, the top in the league, held Aaron Rodgers, the probable league MVP, to just six points in the second half of the NFC Championship. But they’ll have a lot to handle against New England.
The Patriots have a very balanced offense. One week, they can win by throwing it 51 times, as the Ravens found out in the divisional round, while the next week, they can run 40 times, like they did against the Colts in the AFC Championship.
While the “Legion of Boom” may limit receivers such as Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman, the team will have a real tough time against Rob Gronkowski, the best tight end in the NFL. Seattle gave up three touchdowns to Antonio Gates in their loss at San Diego, and the Broncos and Cowboys each scored twice with their tight ends against the Seahawks.
Belichick does an excellent job of taking away his opponent’s greatest strength. Last week against the Colts, he held T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis’ top receiver, to one catch. In the Super Bowl, he’ll surely try to limit Lynch by loading up the box, forcing Wilson to lead the offense.
This will be tough for Wilson, as he doesn’t have many offensive weapons to work with. Stud corner Darrelle Revis will shut down Seattle’s top receiver, whoever that is, and Brandon Browner should take out the second.
As hard as it is to pick against the defending champs, it’s even tougher to count out Brady and Belichick. Prediction: Patriots 27, Seahawks 17.
Andrew Slap is a sophomore communication major.