Super Bowl 49 Preview

hqdefaultBy: Ryan Crossingham

Super Bowl XLIX is just days away, and like most football fans, this matchup is definitely one to salivate over. Here is a position-by-position comparison for the two teams battling for the Lombardi Trophy.

Quarterbacks
Advantage: Patriots (slightly)

One of the things that make Super Bowl XLIX unique is that there is a lot more riding on this game than just winning a title. If Brady wins, he will win his fourth ring in six tries, putting him on the Mount Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks (if he’s not already there). If Wilson wins, that will be two titles in his first three years, moving him up in the ranks as possibly one of the successors to the mantle that Brady, Manning and Rodgers hold as the “top quarterbacks in football.”

While this matchup isn’t conducive for success for either quarterback, I’ve learned never to doubt Tom Brady, especially on the largest stages with the deck stacked against him (i.e. Deflate Gate, Legion of Boom, etc.).

Running backs
Advantage: Seahawks

This one is a no-brainer. Beast Mode, though he doesn’t like talking to the media, lives up to his nickname every time he touches the football. Though LaGarrette Blount enjoys beating up on the Colts every year, but Lynch is the better back.

Receivers/Tight Ends
Advantage: Patriots

Neither team’s receivers will blow away opposing secondaries, but Seattle’s Baldwin and Kearse should have a tough time on Sunday. Revis and Browner are two of the best at beating their man at the line in press coverage, and the small stature of Seattle’s receiving core will struggle to get off the line all night. As much as I love Luke Willson, the impact of Gronkowski tilts the pendulum drastically to the Patriots.

Offensive Line
Advantage: Push

Neither line is dominant. The New England line definitely has more pressure on it with the immobility of Brady and the ratio to which they throw the football compared to running it, depending on the opponent. Whichever team has an offensive tackle score a touchdown again has the advantage.

Defensive Line
Advantage: Seahawks

Seattle’s font four isn’t as deep as they were a year ago after losing Clemons and Bryant to Jacksonville through free agency, but they still play a major role on this defense. As a defense that doesn’t blitz much and relies on the line to get to the quarterback, this unit could be the difference in this game.

Linebackers
Advantage: Push

Both teams have fantastic linebacking cores. While both are asked to play much differently, Seahawks are more sideline-to-sideline and the Patriots have more rush linebackers, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin give Seattle the advantage.

Secondary
Advantage: Seahawks (Slightly)

This is slightly because of the matchup. Yes, they are the Legion of Boom, but Revis and Browner are no slouches on the other side. The safety position is what makes the difference here. Thomas and Chancellor and what they do with Gronkowski is what will decide this game. If Gronk is “Gronking” all over the field, New England will be the champs.

Coaching
Advantage: Patriots

What Belichick does better than anyone is identifying an opponent’s top playmaker, and taking them out of the game. To me it’s not necessarily one player, but the read option concepts of the Seattle offense will be what Belichick keys on. You can be he will have his edge rushers playing disciplined against the run on Sunday.

Prediction
Patriots 19, Seahawks 17

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