Super Bowl XLIX Preview

Edgy January 25, 2015 0
Super Bowl XLIX Preview

In Boxing they say styles make fights and in the case of Super Bowl XLIX on first glance that may not appear to be the case, the football purist would have preferred one from the Packers or the Colts to be involved or even both and see the two of the league’s best offences go hell for leather. I’m quick to shoot those people down however, whenever the league’s best defence and the league’s best offence have come together the team with the best defence ALWAYS wins, they are 100% in Super Bowls when this is the case. We saw in the previous Super Bowl the humping that the Seahawks gave the Broncos and that’s the perfect example of what would happen, almost certainly to the Colts and probably the Packers. (The NFC Championship game was a mistake laden aberration so as a frame of reference goes its poor if any team makes that many mistakes in Arizona they’ll lose.)

Of all the teams involved in the two conference championship games if you think about it, this is the best possible combination. The Patriots are a Chameleon, they will do whatever it takes to beat you, they’ll run the ball down your throats fifty times a game or they’ll air it out and beat you that way. Wherever Rob Gronkowski runs it’s a mismatch but his match-up against Kam Chancellor is borderline mouth-watering, Look for Gronk to be split out wide some to see if he can’t get some joy against Tharold Simon. Shane Vereen’s blocking and pass catching ability might come under the magnifying glass, even when they air it out they can beat you a number of ways, they can hit you big or hurt you with short sharp wasp stings and slowly grind you down.

Patriots New Kit?

Super Bowl XLIX promises to be not only a game of great players, but we will see Bill Belichick and the Patriots try and out-coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. Belichick is the master of exploiting a team’s weakness, but this Seattle defence is tighter than a Duck’s backside and mis-matches that exist against teams in the regular season aren’t necessarily there against the Seahawks, they are bigger and faster than a lot of defences, they tackle as well if not better than anyone in the league so you won’t be breaking many tackles against them.

Seattle aren’t exactly toothless either but there was some telling parts of the NFC Championship game that highlighted some strengths and weaknesses they have on offence. Russell Wilson wasn’t as quick to leave the pocket against the Packers who were happy to give up pressure to close the pocket around the side of him to keep him inside. Once he was throwing the ball from the pocket they were able to get some success in slowing the Seattle offence. However the Seahawks demonstrated a serious amount of character and despite all the grinding to a halt in the first half they eventually came through, weren’t afraid of continuing to go after the Packers and eventually won the game. The wide receivers that were largely written off are slowly becoming recognised as a credible threat, if Super Bowls are won by teams that get hot at the right time then the emergence of Baldwin and Kearse might just tip the balance in their favour.

Seattle’s Defence up close

Much depends on the fitness of the Seattle Seahawks secondary; Richard Sherman played most of the second half with one arm tied behind his back, the group as a whole took their fair share of knocks in the NFC title game, if they can go into the game healthy then we’re due some impressive matchups.

The Patriots receivers themselves aren’t exactly the most elite group in the league, what they are is highly functional route runners and can execute very well with few mistakes, the main threat is Gronkowski. I would look at the way Dallas went to Seattle and won in Week 6 of the regular season for inspiration, DeMarco Murray rushed for over 100 yards that game but in the red zone touchdowns went to Witten and Escobar the tight ends. Michael Hoomanawanui is mainly used as a blocking tight end but if Belichick is scheming in his usual way then look for the occasional ball to go his way instead of Gronk. To describe the Patriots as balanced on offence would be to do them a bit of a disservice, they can be as lob-sided as they need to be to beat you and they can do either side equally well.

The Pats go into the game under the cloud of the delfategate scandal, but to me this is something out of nothing. If it wasn’t for Spygate then I don’t think this would be that much of an issue, but it something the NFL needs to respond to quickly. Privately I’m sure most Quarterback’s think of the balls like boxers, they weigh in at 147lbs then they leave the weigh in and consume gallons of fluid, eat and work-out again before enter the ring at about 154lbs. Same with the balls, if it weighs in fine then after that let’s roll, the officials handle the balls every play, if they aren’t checking it then that’s a problem with the way the game is officiated.

There’s an easy way to stop it happening in future, currently each team gets twelve balls and there are 8 for the kicking game. Instead give each team 18 and make them use them in the kicking game. Would you want to try a for 50 yard field goal with an under-inflated ball? Hell no! Would you risk taking 5 yards off every punt because of it, hell no! Nevertheless I can’t foresee this becoming a factor in the Patriots preparations or the game, they’re too experienced and to savvy to let this hang over them

Old Master’s come Head to Head

This game could come down to some quality coaching and some gutsy play calling. Both coaches have called out the trick plays in these playoffs and both have shown guts to go for it when it really matters. Can Belichick out-fox Carroll or will the Legion of Boom get one over on Brady and co. This will be an aggressive contest, the Seahawks are always up in your grill but despite all the great players first and foremost I think it’s a chess match between coaches and to the winner, the ultimate prize.

Pick – Pats in a close one.

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