Prediction lock: There will be plenty of chirping out of the Seahawks
Well folks, this is your last chance of the season to be in awe of the AFC North authors’ NFL prediction skills. If you have been following the picks this season, and judging by the comments section you haven’t, you would know that we have correctly picked winners at least a couple of times this year.
Keep in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should be used to influence gambling or illegal activity, unless you’re smart enough to recognize that we know more than you because we publish things.
On to the action…
New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, February 1, 6:30pm, NBC
Current line: New England -1
In a game that has had more publicity than any other Super Bowl in recent history, it was difficult to focus on a story line. The legacy of Tom Brady, the outspoken Richard Sherman, Beast Mode, the QB no two people describe the same way in Russel Wilson, Gronk, “Interviewing 101: Answers an angry 5-year old would give”, and of course, the team accused of cheating the most on the field versus the team accused of cheating the most off the field.
What to Watch:
- Trickeration. Give these coaches two weeks to prepare and chances are we will see some form of trick play, or perhaps even rule bending to exploit the tendencies of the opposing defense (and knowledge of the referees). Trick plays were a big reason these two teams are meeting in the Super Bowl, none bigger than the Seahawks faking a field goal in the NFC Championship game, turning a possible 16-3 score into a more manageable 16-7 plus added momentum after struggling for nearly three quarters. The Patriots had one of their own as they executed a fantastic double pass resulting in a 51-yard TD. The Pats could not have won without that score, but they also had the Ravens’ defense on their heels for most of the second half. One thing we probably will not see is another play on the eligible/ineligible rules. The Pats may have pushed the envelope too far in the AFC Championship game when they illegally had two eligible offensive tackles on the same play, which ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass. Going forward, the Patriots actions have resulted in a new set of hand signals for referees so that the officiating crew can identify eligible and ineligible receivers, and share that information with opposing defenses.
- The Cornerbacks. This game features the best cornerbacks in the business, but interestingly the game does not feature a receiver requiring double coverage other than Rob Gronkowski. Advantage defense with many more options at their disposal. The Seahawks can use Richard Sherman’s speed and length on Gronkowski (with help underneath most likely) if they so choose, or they can double Gronk with a linebacker and safety and let Sherman stay one-on-one or roam. On New England’s side, this will allow their D to stack the box against what will no doubt be a run heavy or option-style offense. If a receiver for one of these teams has a big day, that team will most likely win Super Bowl 49.
- The 4th quarter: Both teams are built to finish strong, as each has proven with late comebacks or putting teams away in the 4th. Something has to give, but if the game is within 16 points halfway through the 4th quarter you may want to stay tuned in. Anything could happen.
The Patriots and Seahawks are evenly matched, and both teams are trying to pull the disrespect card. Seattle doesn’t have enough play-makers on offense, and the Pats are just creative enough on the offensive side to find holes in Seattle’s D. Plus I’m sure Mr. Bill has something unexpected up his sleeve.
You don’t agree with my prediction? Well, you aren’t the only one…
The Seahawks have the length in the secondary and enough push up front to force Brady to move around, which he hates doing. His patented three-step drops just won’t cut it against a team that plays press coverage well.
The Patriots don’t have the defense to hold Seattle’s offense in check all night. Russell Wilson’s scrambling ability burns the Patriots.