Super Bowl XLIX 2015: What to Expect

BreakingModern — So here we are, on the verge of witnessing Super Bowl XLIX. The New England Patriots of head coach Bill Belichick’s era have won their sixth AFC championship and are looking for their fourth Super Bowl victory. Opposing them are the reigning and defending NFL kings — the Seattle Seahawks of the NFC. The Seahawks are the first team even to appear in two consecutive Super Bowls since … oh, yes, the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots. (The Patriots won both times.)

Seahawks super bowl xlix

By the way, I’m not even going to address the deflated football controversy here. Because it’s childish to let that overshadow the Super Bowl. Both teams’ head coaches are known for being defense-oriented at root, and both teams have a whole lot of pride riding on this game.

We can expect one ferocious game.

We’ve already had the Seahawks’ CB Jeremy Lane comment that the Patriots’ nearly unstoppable (when healthy) TE Rob Gronkowski is “not that good.” Welcome to trash talk and the Seahawks’ usual psycho-tactics. You can expect Gronkowski to come out even more beastly than he normally is — which Seahawks fans ought to find terrifying.

What to Look for in Super Bowl XLIX

Short Passing

Look for the Patriots’ short passing game, especially with the Gronk healthy, which ought to wreak havoc with the Seahawks’ vaunted secondary, designed to prevent or intercept deep ball passes while, up front, the Hawks’ speedy vanguard harasses the QB or stuffs the run. At age 37, Brady shows no signs of flagging arm strength, even though he struggled with completing deep passes in the earliest weeks of the 2014 season.

The Patriots have changed their passing game since the days of Randy Moss. Brady may be just as capable with deep passes now as he was eight to 10 years ago because there isn’t a need for him to attempt as many throws. (This is in addition to his prolific talent and preparation ethic, of course.) The Seattle secondary will need to respect Brady’s deep ball throwing, so the Gronk and WR Julian Edelman can catch shorter passes and turn up field all game long.

Defensively, Seattle may be able to contain Gronkowski by having SS Kam Chancellor shadow him. However, this would tie up Chancellor, making him unable to defend Edelman, while giving the Patriots an opening to run the ball effectively. Not to mention underestimating the Patriots’ power running game as New England’s offensive linemen have ox-like strength. Gronkowski is one of the best blocking TEs in the NFL, and RB LeGarrette Blount somehow merges “nimble” with “freight train,” while the Seahawks’ front seven rely more on speed than size and strength.

If you’re wondering, the trash-talking Lane is most likely going to be shadowing Edelman, and I predict Edelman can beat him consistently if the Patriots stay with their short passing game.

Patriots super bowl xlix

Defense Defense Defense

Seattle has little chance to win this game with defense alone, in spite of the inconsistencies of New England’s offensive line with respect to pass rush protection. The only way that the Seahawks can induce death-by-defense in the Patriots is if they force Brady to make mistakes — meaning throwing deep ball interceptions to CBs Byron Maxwell or Richard Sherman, or (less likely) cough up multiple critical fumbles when he gets hit.

Unless the Gronk or Edelman get injured, or they and Brady all get shut down by divine intervention, the Patriots are going to score their fair share of points. So the Seattle offense is going to have to elevate its game — and they can’t count on a New England meltdown to win the Bowl, which is what happened with the Packers.

However, the Patriots’ D is going to take away QB Russell Wilson’s ability to pass effectively. The Green Bay Packers just proved that man-to-man coverage in the secondary can all but shut down any Seattle passing game (assuming no mistakes, of course). Seattle’s receiving corps is above average but not great, while the Patriots have the best man-to-man secondary in the NFL. This means that Wilson will have no choice but to go to his own running ability, along with the running game of RB Marshawn Lynch, if the Seahawks are going to retain their NFL crown.

The Patriots, meanwhile, will need to have a linebacker stick Wilson because they do have a weakness that Seattle’s fleet quarterback can exploit: their (usual) four-man pass rush. Additionally, the Seahawks are nearly guaranteed to counterattack the Patriots’ linebackers with Lynch, who must be brought down with “perfect” tackling or else he’s gone for a big, big gain after initial contact. The Patriots use a linebacker blitz attack designed to stop up runs, but with the powerful Lynch charging, Seattle could turn that energy against New England — especially if one linebacker is somewhat distracted by Wilson.

If the game comes down to the wire, Wilson will be at his most dangerous. Somehow, as seen in past games he pulls off his biggest runs late in close games. (He also runs more in the fourth quarter than any other time.) Maybe it’s because the defense is worn down by then, or it’s the best time to exploit the defense conservatively guarding against the big pass. In any event, Wilson embodies grace under pressure. Of course, the same is true for QB Tom Brady with his arm and mental vision.

Is it possible that Super Bowl XLIX could to come down to special teams play? Yes, if the game is kept close.

Could this game’s outcome come down to trick plays? Yes, because Seattle just proved against Green Bay that it’s willing to attempt trick plays, and New England notoriously exploits any grey area in the rules that Belichick can find — oh, yeah, and it may let Edelman throw a forward pass, too.

But I wouldn’t count on either special teams or trick plays. I certainly wouldn’t count on deflated footballs making any difference (or appearance), either.

My prediction: New England wins 30-21.

(Disclaimer: I have a mild liking for both teams. My prediction is not at all based on preference.)

For BMod, I’m

Featured/First image screenshot:  / Time

Second image screenshot:  / Sports Illustrated

Brant David

Author: Brant David

Based in New Jersey, Brant David covers sports and tech lifestyle at BreakingModern. Follow him on Twitter at @mabriant

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>