Today’s Pigskin Tackles Super Bowl XLIX
At long last Super Bowl Sunday is finally here! The 2014 NFL season culminates on the first day of February 2015, is there any other way Americans would have their football?
The parties will rage in the desert and all across America today. Load up on guac while you get your Gronk on. Fire up the grill as Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas inspire their teammates tonight. The Hoodie will death-stare the officials and Pete Carroll will chomp so feverishly that it might make his gum wish it had never been unwrapped.
All you have to do is sit back and take it all in. But before the party gets started weigh in with your predictions on which team will call themselves champs tonight.
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In case you haven’t caught all the FanRag Sports Forums and Today’s Pigskin Writers’ Roundtables, here’s a quick refresher:
Today’s Super Bowl XLIX Forum Topic: Which team wins and why? Who will take home MVP honors?
Take into account this warning: While it’s never stopped me from doing so in the past, I’m not very good at making accurate predictions when it comes to the final score.
My respectable Super Bowl record over the last decade (8-2) took a hit in 2014 as quickly as the first snap sailed passed Peyton Manning. Upon further inspection perhaps my respect and belief that Peyton can do it has been my problem all along as the only other game I straight up got wrong was Super Bowl XLIV involving Manning’s Colts.
A Super Bowl without a Manning doesn’t mean this game will be any easier to predict however. I picked against the Patriots both times they played the Giants (Super Bowl XLVI and XLII) not because of Eli Manning, but because frankly I have never found myself wanting to root for New England. Picking with your head and not your heart isn’t as easy as it sounds either though.
As difficult as this game is to predict, evidenced by the current Vegas line favoring the Patriots (-1.5) and even as I write this, I can’t help but think Seattle might be a team of destiny. What other explanation is there for the team that turned the ball over five times in the NFC Championship game to be playing two weeks later?
Maybe the football gods have a sick sense of humor and plan on sticking it to Mr. Bundchen, The Hoodie and Patriots Nation by giving them three Super Bowl championships early on and then seeing New England lose three to end the era.
The era might be nowhere near ending. Would it surprise readers and NFL fans if Seattle met New England again in Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50?
If it comes off as if I’m procrastinating on my prediction, it’s because I am.
I see this game shaking out two ways:
Scenario No. 1: The Patriots test Richard Sherman early and are effective on the ground which keeps Seattle and defensive coordinator (until he takes the Atlanta job) Dan Quinn guessing while attempting to make coverage and blitz package adjustments on the fly. The Patriots jump out to an early two-possession lead as Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels warn viewers that Seattle has faced adversity before. Relax NBC, we’re not going to change the channel.
Under the poised leadership of Russell Wilson and the bruising running of Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks claw their way back into it right before Katy Perry takes the stage. Seattle forces an early three and out (or perhaps a turnonver) in the third quarter but can’t do anything with the extra possessions because the halftime adjustments by Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia put the clamps down on Wilson and Lynch.
Seattle begins to feel frustrated in the fourth quarter as Brady and the New England offense begin clicking. This frustration leads to taking chances and straying from the Seattle game plan. Sometimes chances pay off and sometimes they result in mistakes. The latter is more likely with Darrelle Revis and Jamie Collins on the defensive side of things and the Patriots seal their fourth Super Bowl title with a late interception and an efficient offense runs out the clock. Patriots 34 Seahawks 24.
Scenario No. 2: Nearly the same as above, except Marshawn Lynch finds more running room in the second half not because Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell are better at making adjustments but because the Seahawks are physically tougher and begin to wear down New England’s front. The chances pay off as Jermaine Kearse or Luke Willson are recipients of the game-tying TD pass from a brilliant Russell Wilson improvisational play where the clutch QB finally breaks contain and delivers a strike.
Super Bowl XLVI becomes the first of its kind to go into overtime and while all the sports bars and square operators hope they wrote “Final Score” or “4th Quarter” in their formats, New England wins the toss and Seattle’s defense makes the championship-defining play by returning a fumble or interception for a touchdown. Seahawks 30 Patriots 24 (OT).
There you have it, a prediction from @Pat_Whitehurst, well sort of.
Readers and followers might already expect that @TodaysPigskin resident Patriots fans John Terra and @StephenPSheehan like their hometown boys to win and they would be correct. While they both believe New England is in fact the better team, there’s also a difference in this Bill Belichick-led squad from the ones that lost Super Bowls to the Giants.
John Terra explains why the Patriots have more to prove than the Seahawks do and discusses how this game will be won.
Here’s @StehenPSheehan with his final thoughts and prediction for Super Bowl XLIX: