By Rob Hunt
“Deflategate” and Marshawn Lynch’s fines aside, this is a Super Bowl that will be decided on the field between the two best teams in the league.
For the second straight year, the game features a top offense and an all-time great quarterback against the league’s number one defense trying to establish itself as one of the greatest ever.
The Patriots come into the game with the 10th best passing attack and 17th best rushing game. They will be attempting to gain yards and score points against the Seahawks defense. The “Legion of Boom” is best in the league at defending the pass, total defense and scoring defense and is fourth in the league at stopping the run.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks offense ranks ninth in the league and boasts the number one rushing attack. A good portion of that stat is Russell Wilson leading all quarterbacks in rushing yardage which compliments All-Pro running back Lynch. The passing game for Seattle ranks 20th in the league, but that statistic can be misleading. They pass when they need to, and are remarkably efficient and successful, especially on third down.
Wilson played the worst three and a half quarters of his career last Sunday against Green Bay in the NFC Championship game. Yet, the running of Lynch and the stellar play of the Seahawks defense and special teams set the stage for Wilson to pass the Seahawks to a remarkable comeback in the closing moments of that game.
The one difficult matchup for Seattle, as it is for all Patriot opponents, is tight end Rob Gronkowski. There just isn’t a player like him anywhere in the league, and he’s sure to gain his yards and probably score a touchdown in this game.
However, the Seahawks defense should be able to contain New England’s other weapons like wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola as well as resurgent running back LeGarrette Blount. The Seahawks offense will be able to move the ball on the ground with Lynch while Wilson and his “pedestrian” receivers will make enough plays.
Prediction: Seattle celebrates a Re-Pete. Seahawks 27, Patriots 19.