First Impression:The Seattle Seahawks are going to take on the New England Patriots for the National Football League's 49th Super Bowl Game. This is going to be an exciting game, especially after the respective conference championship games. The Seahawks had a great comeback victory over the Packers in the NFC championship game. And then the Patriots just demolished the Colts in the AFC championship game. With the Packers playing a similar game to the Patriots, I expect the game score to be more similar to the Seahawks and Packers game than the blowout the Patriots had vs the Colts. Seahawks had a successful fake field goal and got a lucky bounce off the face with their onside kick, I wouldn't imagine that will happen in this game. They're going to have to come in better prepared against the Patriots.
The Run Game:The Seahawks will bring the strongest run game through Marshawn Lynch. Guys at 280 carries and 1300+ yards rushing with 13TDs. This guy brings the heat right now running the ball in the NFL. Russell Wilson will also get plenty of carries from roll outs and broken plays. He's basically put up more numbers alone than the Patriots RBs. I'm a strong believer in the run game to win games. It is such a vital aspect that so many teams don't use appropriately in the NFL.
The Patriots run game isn't nearly what Seattle's is, but how can you expect it to be when you have Tom Brady to effectively throw the ball almost every play. Although they don't run it as often as the Seahawks, the few plays they do run, they get effect yards and manage to bring the heat off Tom Brady. Which is all they really need to do.
I don't really view the Patriots run game as handing it off to the RBs. That's just one dynamic of their run game. Rob Gronkowski is the Patriots real "running back". Except, rather than starting behind the QB receiving a hand-off, he just starts outside with a pass. It's a different dynamic, but just as effective. When you're QB can throw the ball just as reliably as he can hand it off, why not set your running back out to the side, with 1 on 1 coverage in the open beyond the defense line and potentially the linebackers. It make sense, and as you can see, is certainly effective. He has 1124 yards with 82 receptions and 12 TDs... Just one touchdown shy of Marshawn Lynch, and almost as many yards with a quarter of the touches.
And I know people will be like yeah, he's a good TE... I'm sorry, but they don't play him just like a TE, he's taken on their role of the running back. He's their rock they go to. Just like a RB would be. The Patriots use a different dynamic with their players which is why they succeed so much more than every other team. Other teams have tried to mimic this, but they do not do it well because they just view it as a good TE to throw the ball to on their passing plays, not as him being their RB and giving him the ball like their RB to open up opportunities for their WRs.
Throwing The Ball:As I was saying earlier for the Patriots. They use Gronkowski as their RB, giving him the ball to open up opportunities for their WRs. Having Tom Brady with the ball in hand then passing it to Gronkowski they think he's just throwing the ball on a pass play to their good TE. When in reality, it technically never was a general pass play. Other teams don't grasp this, so in their designed pass defense, they just guard the Patriots TE, thinking he's a good TE rather than treating him as the RB, opening up the WRs and vice versa. Then the Patriots actually use their RBs to make sure the other team's defense has to dedicate man power to them too when they aren't the threat. This makes it easy to look like Tom Brady picks apart the defense, when in reality, the defense picks their self apart using defensive passing schemes against the Patriots dynamic "run" game.
Once Gronkowski and the RBs effectively opens up the field for the WRs, Edelman is there go to playmaker. And every WRs is averaging 10 yards a pass. Not too bad when you're moving the chains potentially every completed pass. Edelman is acting as one of the best receivers in the league right now, expect a big play out of him during the super bowl.
Seahawks passing game is strong as well. Russell Wilson puts up impressive numbers because the run game takes the heat off his arm. The coach does a good job at setting up good plays for him. He doesn't sit in the pocket nearly as much as Tom Brady but when he does, he does it just fine, and he has the ability to roll out and toss a good pass. Their throw game compliments the run game very well. Both are balanced and equal threats. Without all the thrills of huge WR play makers. They get the job done and they are sporting a solid championship offense right now.
Defense:The Patriots need to stop the run game. They did an okay job against Luck and the Colt's passing game which I would argue is better than the Seahawk's. Sure the Colts dropped a lot of passes that were down the field, but other than that, they still held Luck off. But the Patriots need to hold Lynch and Wilson to as few yards as possible to win this game. Lynch getting away with only a couple big carriers could seriously turn the tide of the game. They have to clog holes and stop Lynch at the line of scrimmage, and get the turnovers like the Packers did.
Seattle needs to come in prepared for a way to deal with Gronkowski and treat him as the Patriots will Lynch. They need to watch for Edelman as well. Then LaFell. These are their big 3. They need to play close and rough these 3 up off the line. Disrupt the timing and routes for Brady as much as possible and give more time for the linemen to pressure Brady and force him out of the pocket getting hit and tired from running.
Blitzing a lot of players against Brady isn't the key. If they do blitz, the purpose shouldn't be to sack Brady, obviously that's great if they do, but make him roll out and throw a pass on the move and go for a turnover. Preferably let the Patriots throw the flat to the RB, and then just collapse to keep the gains minimal. Protect the middle from the run, and have a strategy against Gronkowski, and cover the WRs until your linemen get to Brady.
Sherman is going to need to come in healthy and step up and cover Edelman the entire game and get assistance from the safety to keep him from making a big play. The Patriots are going to score points, there's no doubt about that. No one's defense is actually setup to fight the Patriots dynamic offense and keep them from getting first downs. But attempt to keep the points minimal, getting incomplete passes, and try to get turnovers. And then run the clock and keep the ball and make successful drives.
Conclusion:Regardless of the strong Seahawks defense, the Patriots will still throw the ball successfully. The Patriots run game will have a couple good runs in some key spots of the game. The Seahawks will keep up with them through their run game that the Patriots will struggle to stop it. However, the Patriots are going to manage to shut down the Seattle offense on third downs and have successful drives to put them over the Seahawks.
Prediction:Patriots 38 - 28 Seattle
MVP: Tom Brady