For a little while there, you may have thought this season was unceremoniously ending with talk about ball boy deflating scandals and physics professors discussing PSI. You knew the embarrassing media circus was coming once they added “gate” to the end of “Deflate-gate,” which they do to every stupid scandal as if “gate” is an actual suffix and not the actual name of the office complex Nixon broke into. Then the attention turned to a guy in Seattle who is threatened a fine of $50,000 just for wanting to go to work without answering meaningless questions.
Amidst all the hype, it was easy to forget this ends with a game. A pretty good one at that. This is the best Super Bowl matchup we’ve had in a while. The Patriots can cement their dynasty, a la last year’s Spurs, by winning one more championship during their quarterback’s and coach’s twilight years. The Seahawks can be the first team to win back to back Super Bowls in the last 10 years.
Aside from that you have potentially the best pass defense of all time trying to stop one of the best ball throwers. You have an unstoppable force catching touchdowns down the seam and spiking balls so hard, you’d expect them to explode before they deflate. And on the other, you have a mute, runaway freight train powered by Skittles. Hell I’d watch those two compete in anything, even video games. Oh, wait…
I’ve been on a tear this postseason, going 8-2 leading into the Super Bowl. And I was pretty much the NFLStradamus in the Championship Week games. Feast your eyes:
“I expect Wilson to end the day the hero. Seattle wins a classic.”
“I think the tense part was last week. Tonight, New England parties.”
What happened? Green Bay seemed as if they would win for 58 minutes and then Russell Wilson became the hero and New England blew the doors off. So what will happen this week?
This is a weird defensive matchup. The Seahawks have an incredible secondary built to stop teams with top receivers going against a meticulous find-the-open guy Tom Brady offense. The Patriots have a slightly worse, but still great, secondary going against a slightly worse, but still dangerous, passing offense. Both teams love to run the ball with Beast Mode barreling through defensive lines and the Patriots opening up holes for Legarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, really whoever they want.
These two teams played last two years ago, when Seattle was coming off a 7-9 season that quaked the earth and birthed “Beast Mode,” and, we didn’t know it yet, a budding Seattle dynasty. Russell Wilson was playing in his sixth ever NFL game and had his skeptics after the Fail Mary. And Tom Brady was still the gunslinger in his prime. He tried to prove as much, throwing the football 58 times against a secondary nobody really cared about yet.
The Patriots have showed over the past few weeks they like to use a formula of heavy run, ball control and grind out first downs to dominate. However, Belichick likes to switch it up on his opponents, and I could definitely see another Brady-heavy offensive game plan.
But you have to love anything that plays into the Legion of Boom’s hands. Kam Chancellor eyes light up behind his visor every time a ball comes over the middle. Richard Sherman will be locking down his side of the field, arm dangling and all. And with Julian Edelman falling victim to Sherman and Gronk falling victim to Earl Thomas and Chancellor in the middle, I expect all the Patriots’ throwing to give Seattle a bit of an edge.
Everybody wants to talk about how lucky Seattle got at the end of their game last week. And sure, we won’t see them recover an onside kick again. Or catch a ridiculous floated duck of a two-point conversion. And they most likely, won’t have another touchdown pass between their punter and left tackle. Then again, we definitely won’t see another Russell Wilson stink bomb like we did for the first 3 quarters.
The secondary and the defense will bully Tom Brady and the Pats overmatched ball catchers, and Wilson will manage the game to perfection while Beast Mode grinds up yardage and the clock. Seattle wins and Pete Carroll gets a little vengeance on his former employers.
The Pick: SEAHAWKS (+1) OVER Patriots
Championship Round: 2-0