On Sunday, the New England Patriots will be playing in their sixth Super Bowl since the turn of the century, and are looking for the fourth Super Bowl championship in franchise history. Led by head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots won another AFC East title and No. 1 seed with a 12-4 regular season record.
The Patriots added a ton of defensive talent during the off-season, as they added cornerback Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to shut down opposing passing attacks. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball New England’s biggest acquistion was grabbing LeGarrette Blount after he got out of his contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Blount has been instrumental in New England’s ground game throughout the playoffs; in fact his performance in the AFC title game was the primary reasons that the game was a blowout, and #DeflateGate ended up not mattering at all.
New England is looking to end its two game losing streak in the Super Bowl, as the New York Giants pulled off the upset in 2011 and 2007. How quarterback Tom Brady performs on Sunday will be important to the game’s result, but it won’t be the Pats most important factor in the game.
3) Seattle’s offensive line isn’t that good
The Seahawks offensive line has struggled to provide a clean pocket for quarterback Russell Wilson all season, and it’s caused problems for the third year quarterback. Wilson has constantly been harassed and forced to either run, or get rid of the ball quickly; and that’s led to some third and really long situations. Seattle’s o-line has also struggled with penalties, and killing drives as a result.
If the Patriots can force Seattle’s offensive line into situations where they either draw a penalty, or are unable to get into position on passing plays, then the Seahawks’ are in trouble.
2) New England’s secondary is also really good
By signing Revis and Browner, the Patriots gave themselves an impressive cornerback duo that could rival any other pair of corners in the league. Both cornerbacks were the main reason that the Patriots only allowed 6.2 yards per attempt, and intercepted 16 passes, throughout the season.
New England’s secondary plays with the same type of physical attitude that the Seahawks do, a lot of contact at the line of scrimmage to throw off the timing of the wide receivers and quarterbacks. It’s an effective strategy that helped bring the Patriots back to the Super Bowl.
1) The Legion of Boom is dinged up
Against Green Bay, Earl Thomas dislocated his shoulder and Richard Sherman hyper extended his elbow. While both players finished out the game, despite their injuries, it was clear that it hampered them on the field. Both Sherman and Thomas claim to be healthy (and ready to play) heading into the Super Bowl, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brady come out and throw at them early. If both (Thomas and Sherman) are hampered by injuries, it would make Brady’s job a lot easier on Sunday.