Today’s Pigskin Tackles Super Bowl XLIX
An “X-Factor” can come in different shapes and sizes. It might be Julian Edelman or Vince Wilfork (contrasting sizes and shapes) or it could be seen as an early mistake on special teams that leads to points. Third down conversion rates and points off turnovers all play a major role between determining the team that hoists the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday evening and the club that becomes nothing more than a footnote in Super Bowl history.
Weigh in with @TodaysPigskin panel of NFL fans, writers, and analysts as we break the Seahawks-Patriots matchup from the inside out. Be Seen, Be Heard, Be a Fan!
If you’ve missed any of this week’s forum discussions, here’s a quick recap:
Today’s Super Bowl XLIX Forum Topic: Discuss an “X-Factor” for each team’s success.
Quick Slants from @Pat_Whitehurst: Instead of breaking down players’ roles and whether they reach benchmarks of 100+ rushing/receiving yards, I’m going to focus on two key situations that are sure to arise on Super Bowl Sunday.
The most important X-Factor in any Super Bowl is turnovers, but in the case of SB49 it will be imperative to capitalize on those mistakes. The reason we’re talking about Pete Carroll’s crew this week and not Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is that Green Bay turned five Seahawks turnovers into a mere six points in the NFC Championship. Settling for field goal attempts (or turning it right back over) won’t get it done in this contest.
When and if New England forces Russell Wilson into mistakes, Tom Brady and company must put the ball in the end zone. Whether Josh McDaniels dials up a big play shortly after possession changes or picks his spots, touchdowns win championships while field goals only provide hope for the opposition.
The same can be said about Seattle. Tom Brady isn’t easily confused, but he can be pressured which will throw off New England’s timing. The Seahawks defenders are among the best in the league in not only delivering punishing hits but stripping the ball. If Seattle forces a loose ball, look for the team to try to make a big play even bigger with a return.
The second “X-Factor” that I’ll be watching for is the swing in momentum that comes from a big special teams or defensive play. A big play on special teams isn’t reserved for punt or kickoff returns for TDs, although those are always nice. Blocked or successfully executed fake punts and field goals can be game-changers. Pinning the opposition deep with a well-placed punt puts a team up against their own end zone and severely limits the playbook.
Just last year we saw once again that Super Bowls can turn on a dime with a safety. Tom Brady knows all too well about putting his team two points behind early in the season’s biggest game–just ask the New York Giants.
Writers from @TodaysPigskin Weigh In
@MarkWemkenLWOS: Outside of the obvious “X-Factors” that are Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, I think it is crucial for Patriots receiver Julian Edelman to show up this Sunday ready to play.
The Packers made the costly mistake of playing keep away with Seattle DB Richard Sherman, and it hurt them the most after Sherman’s injury. Edelman is a speedy receiver with a pair of arguably the surest hands in the NFL. Regardless of what side of the field he lines up on, he must make an impact if the Patriots want to conquer the league’s best defensive scheme.
That goes double for the Seattle Seahawks. Hawks receivers are nothing spectacular, but they do have something manageable in Doug Baldwin. Baldwin will likely attract the attention of the league’s most dominant corner in Darrelle Revis and will need to use everything in his bag of tricks to overcome this human ball and chain. Both teams receivers have their work cut out for them, and I believe each teams respective receiving corps can win or lose their team the game.
While Mark Wemken makes some interesting points, @ScottPoppen has a different idea about which WRs for each team will play the bigger role.
Who’s right, who’s wrong and where does Brandon LaFell fit into the argument?
Here’s how @bnayden breaks it down:
Seattle X-Factor: Beast Mode
Marshawn Lynch, a man of few words nowadays will be the biggest factor for the Seattle Seahawks. They need to utilize the running game to keep Tom Brady’s offense off the field and give their defense rest to deal with the Patriots crazy plays.
New England X-Factor: Deflated footballs (and Rob Gronkowski)
Gronk has been untouchable all season by the NFL’s best secondaries, so it will be interesting to see what the “Legion of Boom” does to stop him. If Gronk can frustrate Sherman and Co. to the point where the Seattle secondary is ineffective, the Patriots will win this game.
While @StephenPSheehan agrees with the Beast Mode call, he’s got someone else in mind when it comes to New England.
The last word from @TodaysPigskin comes from Jon Schlosser.
New England: I was tempted to say Gronk here, as he’s the biggest nightmare of a matchup for Seattle, but I’m going to go with LeGarrette Blount. Some days, he’s going to get you three yards on six carries. Other days, he’s going to get 150+ and two or three touchdowns. Physically, he’s everything you want in a back, with good speed and quickness, but with immense strength behind it. If he can put up 100+ and get in the endzone, rather than getting shut down, it changes everything for New England.
Seattle: It’s simple–Kam Chancellor. As noted above, Gronk is a horrible matchup for Seattle, but Chancellor is the guy with the best shot to stop him. He does give up a bit in both height and weight to Gronk, but he’s incredibly strong and fast, and he has a much better chance to shut the tight end down than any other defensive back. He’s a physical freak who sets the tone for this defense, and he’ll need to do it Sunday.
Weigh in and Be Seen, Be Heard, Be a Fan! The last word always comes from @FanRagSports followers, readers, and fans!
Tomorrow’s Super Bowl XLIX Forum Topic: Comparing and Contrasting the Clutch QBs–Tom Brady and Russell Wilson