After surviving an insane NFC championship game, the Seattle Seahawks are playing in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots. New England opened up at +2.5 points — favored by 2.5 points — shortly after the AFC title game, and that line has increased slightly as money continues to come in on the Patriots. Despite the expectations that the Patriots should win this game, there are many reasons that the Seahawks will defend their Super Bowl championship.
After all, the Seahawks have kept the majority of their talented core intact from their dominant performance in Super Bowl XLIII (minus Percy Harvin). On the defensive side of the ball Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, KJ Wright, Earl Thomas, and Byron Maxwell are all expected to start on Sunday; while Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse are all healthy on the offensive side of the ball. It should be an advantage to have that many returning starters from last year’s Super Bowl on the starting roster.
But experience is not usually a determining factor on who wins the Super Bowl — if it was the Broncos should have made last years game closer. No, the Super Bowl is going to come down to the play makers and how they are utilized by their coaching staff.
3) Marshawn Lynch can take over a game
Lynch is known for his physically bruising running style that helps him pick up yards, even when they think he is down. As a result, people often forget how fast Lynch is and how he can use that speed to break a game open; despite his two, extremely, famous runs.
If Lynch is able to get into space against New England, the Patriots better hope that he steps out-of-bounds on accident. Because it is tough to bring him down in open space.
2) Seattle’s linebackers are sneaky good
Most of the media attention on the Seahawks’ defense focuses on the secondary that consist of Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor, and Maxwell. As a result, the defense’s other groups are often ignored…including the line backers. And that’s a shame because the Seahawks have a really good line backing core.
The Seahawks linebackers are led by Bruce Irvin, KJ Wright, and Bobby Wagner. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme utilizes the linebackers to disguise the quarterback’s pre-snap read by having them constantly moving around and showing the play call at the last possible second. This means that Irvin, Wright, and Smith don’t have the most amazing stat sheets, but they are extremely effective at disrupting the opposing offenses.
If Seattle’s linebackers cause confusion prior to the snap, then the Patriots’ offense is in for a very long day.
1) The Seahawks pass rush will dominate the Patriots’ offensive line
Seattle’s defensive line is good at collapsing the edges of the pocket and forcing the quarterback to get out it, or to throw the ball away. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have been extremely effective at getting into the pocket and forcing the quarterback out of rhythm; and they are usually in the back field causing issues for the opponents running backs. That could end up causing problems for New England’s offense, which has struggled in the past against teams that controlled the line of scrimmage.