Seattle Seahawks (+1) vs. NE
Deflategate is somewhat behind us and the Super Bowl is here. The sports books have this game very evenly matched, although late money this week was going on the Patriots.
When New England has the ball. Look for the Patriots to work in their TEs into the match-up. Rob Gronkowski needs to be a major target and the wild card is backup TE, Tim Wright. The Patriots know they’ll have limited success attacking the Seahawks outside.
They also won’t be able to run the ball. Therefore, the attack must run through their TEs which is a position that has given the Seahawks trouble this year. However, that will be a difficult strategy to keep up over four quarters and against a relentless Seahawks D. The lack of a run threat means Brady will have pressure in his face much of the evening and will be forced to get rid of the ball earlier than he would like.
When Seattle has the ball. They will pound the rock. Justin Forsett had a lot of success against the Patriots run D and Marshawn Lynch is significantly better than Forsett. Seattle will pound the ball but New England will know this and load up the box. CB Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner can lock up the Seahawks outside threats pretty well so Belichick will not have to double anyone.
TE Luke Willson could be a nice sleeper because he has a knack for getting open and making big plays. The Pats Safeties are good, but not great. Expect things to start slow for the passing game but pick up when Wilson incorporates his version of the read option. His ability to make plays out of the pocket and extend them is uncanny and will give the Patriots D all sorts of problems in the 2nd half.
It’s a fairly even matched game but when the clock hits 0:00, look for Seattle to repeat as champions with a 24-14 or 27-17 win. Brady will have trouble with the Seahawks pass rush and Seattle is the more physical team.