Super Bowl XLIX
New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Sunday, February 1, 2015, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Seattle -2 1/2
Current Line: New England -1
Opening Total: 48 1/2
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Seahawks -130 / Patriots +110
Current Money Line: Patriots -115 / Seahawks -105
With roughly three days until Super Bowl XLIX, most of the focus has been on two things. The media has had a field day covering the so called “Deflategate” scandal when the New England Patriots under inflated 11 of the 12 game balls used in their blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game two weeks ago. The other focus has been on Seattle Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch making a game out of his refusal to talk to the media. At media day Tuesday, he showed up for the required 5 minutes and answered every question with “I am just here so I don’t get fined.”
It is a shame that such off the field issues are taking the focus off what should be a great Super Bowl between two of the best if not the best teams in the league. The 12-4 Seattle Seahawks are looking to become the first repeat champions in the NFL since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Ironically it is those same Patriots who won the AFC with a 12-4 record and will face the Seahawks Sunday in Arizona.
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Seattle is 1-1 all-time in Super Bowls. The Seahawks won the NFC West and were the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Seattle beat the Carolina Panthers 31-17 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs and then beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime in the NFC Championship. The Seahawks turned the ball over 5 times in that game and trailed 19-7 with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Seattle is coached by Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have road losses at the San Diego Chargers 30-21 St. Louis Rams 28-26 and Kansas City Chiefs 24-20. The Seahawks lost at home to the Dallas Cowboys 30-23. The Seahawks have won 8 straight games. Seattle has home wins over the Green Bay Packers 36-16, Denver Broncos 26-20 in overtime, Oakland Raiders 30-24, Arizona Cardinals 19-3, San Francisco 49ers 17-7, and St. Louis Rams 20-6 in the last game of the regular season, plus road wins at the Washington Redskins 27-17, Panthers 13-9, 49ers 19-3, Eagles 24-14 and Cardinals 35-6. The Seahawks are 10-7-1 ATS and the total is 10-8 this season. Seattle was an 8.5 point favorite against Green Bay and the total was 45.
New England is playing in their NFL record eighth Super Bowl, and is 3-4 in those games. The Patriots haven’t won the Super Bowl since 2004, but have lost to the New York Giants twice since then. The last time the Super Bowl was in Arizona in the 2007 season the Giants upset the 18-0 Patriots with the help of the famous David Tyree Helmet Catch. New England won the AFC East Division and was the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. New England beat the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in the Divisional playoffs and then crushed the Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship game.
New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have road losses at the Miami Dolphins 33-20, Kansas City Chiefs 41-14, and Green Bay Packers 26-21, and a home loss to the Buffalo Bills 17-9. The Patriots had already clinched home field going into the Bills game and rested a lot of their starters. The Buffalo loss snapped a 3 game winning streak for New England. The Patriots have road wins at the Minnesota Vikings 30-7, Bills 37-22, Indianapolis Colts 42-20, San Diego Chargers 23-14, and New York Jets 17-16 along with home wins over the Oakland Raiders 16-9, Cincinnati Bengals 43-17, New York Jets 27-25, Chicago Bears 51-23, Broncos 43-21, Detroit Lions 34-9 and Dolphins 41-13. New England is 10-8 ATS and the total is 11-7 this season. The Patriots were 7 point favorites against Indianapolis and the total was 51.5.
Since 2004, New England leads the series 2-1 against Seattle. The Seahawks won the last meeting 24-23 in Seattle in 2012. That game is famous because at the end of the game a then relatively unknown Richard Sherman got in tom Brady’s face and was talking trash.
New England is outscoring teams 29-20. The Patriots are #4 in scoring and #8 points allowed. New England is averaging 366 yards per game on offense including 258 passing yards and 108 rushing yards. The Patriots are #11 in total offense and #9 in passing. On defense, New England is allowing 344 yards per game including 240 passing and 104 rushing yards. New Eng;and is 13th or better in all three categories. The Patriots are 105/234 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/232. The Patriots have forced 40 sacks and allowed 26 this season. New England is +12 in turnovers. The Patriots have four defensive scores and a special teams touchdown and have allowed two defensive touchdowns this season.
Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 64.9% of his passes for 4,109 yards with 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, plus 57 rushing yards.
Running back Jonas Gray has 89 carries for 412 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Shane Vereen has 96 carries for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 52 catches for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stevan Ridley is out for the season with a knee injury. He had 94 carries for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 catches. LeGarrette Blount has 60 carries for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns after returning to the Patriots after being released by Pittsburgh midway through the season.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Julian Edelman has 92 catches for 972 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 10 carries for 94 yards. He is questionable with a concussion. Brandon LeFell has 74 catches for 953 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is questionable with a foot injury. Tim Wright has 26 catches for 259 yards and 6 touchdowns. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report.
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Seattle is outscoring teams 25-16. The Seahawks are #10 in scoring and #1 in points allowed. Seattle is averaging 376 yards per game on offense including 203 passing and 173 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks are #1 in rushing and #9 in total offense in the NFL, but #28 in passing. Seattle is allowing 267 yards per game on defense including 186 passing and 82 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks lead the league in total and pass defense and are #3 in rush defense. Seattle is 93/223 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 83/216. The Seahawks have forced 37 sacks and allowed 42 this season. Seattle is +10 in turnovers this season. The Seahawks have 3 defensive touchdowns and have allowed a defensive and a special teams touchdown.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has completed 63.1% his passes for 3,475 yards with 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also has 118 carries for 849 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Wilson had arguably his worst game as a pro against the Packers with 4 interceptions, but the defense and running game bailed him out. Running back Marshawn Lynch has 280 carries for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns, plus 37 catches for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael will also get some carries.
Receiver Doug Baldwin has 66 catches for 825 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse has 38 catches for 537 yards and a touchdown. Kearse is probable with a hamstring injury. Ricardo Lockette, tight end Cooper Helfet and Turbin each have two touchdown catches. Helfet is questionable with a rib injury. Tight end Zach Miller is out for the season with an ankle injury. Twelve defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed as questionable or out.
New England is 9-3 ATS against teams with winning records, 5-2 after rushing for more than 150 yards, 72-33-2 after passing for more than 350 yards, 23-11 after allowing less than 150 passing yards, 12-25 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 5-11 after allowing less than 250 total yards, 4-11 in playoff games, 1-4 after allowing less than 15 points, 1-9 on grass, 0-4 in February and in Super Bowls.
Seattle is 4-0-1 ATS after rushing for more than 150 yards, 5-1-1 after a straight up win, 10-3 on grass, 19-7-1 against teams with winning records, 16-6 after failing to cover, 5-2 in playoff games, 7-3 after gaining more than 350 total yards and 34-16-1 overall.
New England has struggled recently against physical teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. There might not be a more physical team in the league than the Seattle Seahawks and their vaunted Legion of Boom defense. In the first half against Green Bay, Seattle had two turnovers inside their own 20. Still the defense held the Packers to two field goals, which allowed the Seahawks to stay within striking distance and facilitate the comeback later. I think the Seahawks win a close game in a low scoring game.
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