Get Your Mind On The Game
January 29, 2015
There’s more to Super Bowl XLIX than deflated footballs. A whole lot more.
For those of you who are ready to watch some football instead of talking about deflated balls, here is some vital information to get you ready for Sunday’s matchup between New England and Seattle in Arizona. Instead of figuring out who is lying about the deflated balls, use this information to make yourself sound educated about what you see on the screen (between the commercials).
The game will likely come down to who ever wins the battle between Seattle’s pass rush versus New England’s offensive line. If Tom Brady is allowed to get set in the pocket and survey the field for open receivers, bad things are usually going to happen to the opposing defense. It is up to Seattle’s front seven to make Brady uncomfortable enough so his throwing delivery (with a legal football) begins to falter. Seattle’s defense, led by its pass rush, has drawn acclaim for allowing a league-low 185.6 passing yards a game. What we don’t know is can the Patriots’ offensive line stand up to the pressure. The experts have been saying that this group improved from the start of the season to playoff time more then any other offensive front. We will see on Sunday who wins this pivotal battle. I like the Seahawks to give Brady trouble.
You know what I also like. I like Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s record against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. Those who partake in festivities in Las Vegas would call this a trend. Wilson is 10-0 career vs. Super Bowl winning quarterbacks (3-0 vs. Aaron Rodgers; 2-0 vs. Eli Manning; 2-0 vs. Peyton Manning; 2-0 vs. Drew Brees; 1-0 vs. Tom Brady). He’ll try to make it 11-0 as the Seahawks go against Brady.
Prior to Deflate-Gate, New England was making news by fooling playoff opponents with their use of eligible and ineligible receivers. And they were successful with the gimmick. The Patriots, at different times during games, jumble which players are eligible and ineligible receivers.
They do this with offensive linemen and this can cause confusion among opposing defenses and the officiating crews trying to keep track. Defenses are trained that players with uniform numbers in the 60’s and 70’s are not athletic types who catch footballs, One example came in the AFC championship game against Indianapolis when tackle-eligible Nate Solder caught a touchdown pass. Even with the Seahawks having an extra week to prepare, New England could have a slew of funky new formations ready to roll that could catch Seattle off-guard.
Special teams are always important in a winner take all game it seems. Seattle got a boost last year in last season’s Super Bowl when Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown. They actually keep cumulative stats for each team’s complete special teams unit. Impress your friends when you tell them that Seattle ranked 17 in the league this year in special teams compared to New England’s third.
Those are regular season stats. The Seahawks did come up big in the NFC title game against Green Bay two weeks ago when they scored a touchdown on a fake field goal and recovered an onside kick late during their comeback.
Seattle entered the playoffs with a six-game winning streak. The last team to win the Super Bowl with a winning streak of five games or more going into the playoffs was the 2003 Patriots, who were riding a 12-game streak heading into the postseason. I like the Seahawks for that reason and because of their defense. It is all about the D for me. Seattle once again heads into the Super Bowl with the league’s best defense. It was ranked first in points per game (15.9), first in yards per game (267.1), third in rushing yards per game (81.5) and first in passing yards per game (185.6).
One final thought on Deflate-Gate. I think the public’s fascination with the controversy surrounding New England is more based on catching someone famous in a lie. I just don’t see what all the fuss is over a few pounds of air pressure in a football. It has to be about the possible lie and the breaking of rules. Just think if we held our politicians to this high level of scrutiny on much more important subjects.
Anyway, back to the game. I like Seattle pulling away late. It has the makings of a classic. Enjoy.