Seattle valiantly rallied to defeat the Green Bay Packers in overtime during a classic NFC Championship Game, paving their way to the big game.
Here are three reasons why the Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLIX:
Containing Russell Wilson is easier said than done
Russell Wilson’s elusiveness in the pocket is the key to the Seahawks’ offense, as he’s the best quarterback in the NFL at making plays on the run. It’s imperative that New England keep Wilson in the pocket and force him to make plays under pressure. The only problem is, that’s easier said than done.
New England’s linebacker duo of Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower are outstanding against the run, but will have to deal with a dual-threat running game, with Marshawn Lynch featured in the backfield in many read-option sets.
Limiting Wilson’s playbook is the best way to beat Seattle, but it often means bringing eight or more players into the box, something New England rarely does.
Seattle’s LBs are fast enough to cover Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in football and the focal point of the Patriots’ offense. Using his unique combination of size, power and speed, Gronkowski has been a nightmare to contain all season.
He may have met his match in facing the Seahawks’ supremely athletic linebacker group. K.J. Wright is one of the better cover linebackers in the league and famously shut down Jimmy Graham on two occasions last year.
Bobby Wagner continues to be one of the best linebackers in the league at diagnosing plays from the line of scrimmage and uses his athleticism to switch onto running backs and tight ends.
Bruce Irvin is used primarily as a pass rusher, but the former first-round pick has become better at jumping routes in the passing game, leading to two interceptions returned for touchdowns this season.
Seattle’s all-around skill and athleticism at linebacker could dictate the pace of the game and aid the secondary in trying to stop the NFL’s best tight end.
Seattle’s running game will wear the Patriots down
Seattle’s offense often gets derided when compared to their defense, but they had the league’s best running game. With a lead, Seattle is as close to unassailable as it gets. NFC Championship Game aside, Wilson seldom – if ever – turns the ball over, and Marshawn Lynch’s power running wears defenses down.
Keeping Tom Brady and company off the field with a strong running game is the best way to curtail the Patriots’ potent attack. Seattle will attack New England in the read option – a scheme that the Patriots don’t defend well – and through Lynch’s power sets.
It looks to be a game for the ages, but ultimately Seattle will emerge victorious due to its historically good defense and outstanding running game.