The stage for Super Bowl XLIX is set: It’s the bad boys against America’s team. It’s the Legion of Boom against Tom Brady.
It’s the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, and it’s one of the juiciest Super Bowl matchups in recent history.
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Everybody knows what happened last year against the Denver Broncos, but many people think that this year’s Super Bowl will be much different. In fact a Bleacher Report featured columnist ranked eight of the Patriots’ positional units above the Seahawks (yes, A Bleacher Report columnist said New England’s cornerbacks and linebackers are better than Seattle’s. Blasphemy, yes, I know).
But if people really take a look at this year’s matchup, the Seattle Seahawks cannot come out flat like they did against the Packers.
Bottom line is that the Seahawks should be very wary of what the Patriots can do.
The first thing the Seahawks need to worry about is Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. With Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas banged-up, Kam Chancellor will really have to step up his game in the Super Bowl. Maybe things will change, but Chancellor has historically guarded the opponents’ tight ends: notable names include Jimmy Graham from the Saints and Vernon Davis from the 49ers.
I’m not too worried about the Patriots weapons, because let’s face it: I’m quite confident that a one-armed Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon can take care of Julian Edelman and Co.
But still, Tom Brady will get his, and the Seahawks corners will need the front seven to get pressure on Brady.
Here’s where the worries start for me.
The Seahawks got little to no pressure on Aaron Rodgers last week, and he made them pay for the most part. The Patriots offensive line is as good or better than Green Bay’s offensive line, which will pose huge problems for Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin.
Even though I think the New England receivers aren’t spectacular, they will find ways to get open if Brady is given all day in the pocket.
But defensively, the Seahawks always find a way to do their jobs very effectively. The offense, however, is a completely different story.
Russell Wilson flat-out stunk through most of Sunday’s NFC Championship game and it took some divine intervention for the Seahawks to even get back into the game. By divine intervention I don’t mean the Brandon Bostick onside kick; I mean Marshawn Lynch, who is paving his way to football immortality after every game he plays.
While I don’t agree that New England’s linebackers are better than Malcolm Smith, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin and K.J. Wright, Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower are no scrub either.
Not to mention that Collins and Hightower combine with premier run-stopper Vince Wilfork in the middle to create a fearsome run defense. Beast Mode is one of the keys to this game; if Seattle can keep the ball out of Brady’s hands by running the ball successfully, it will take less pressure off of Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse to get open.
Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner have played excellent football throughout the postseason, and that especially worries me after seeing Baldwin and Kearse struggle mightily against Packer cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.
I don’t see Baldwin and Kearse beating Revis and Browner consistently. That means the Russell Wilson will have to make every single chance he has count. He cannot afford to throw even one pick against this dangerous Patriots offense.
This is simply an article overviewing all the things the Seahawks should worry about. The rest of the 12thmanrising.com staff will look in-depth as the days pass by to Super Bowl XLIX.
But every 12 has to know that this game will not be a walk in the park. In fact, it will probably be the toughest game the Seahawks have played this season.
I can only say good luck and godspeed to the Seattle Seahawks. May Marshawn Lynch and the football gods ever be in your favor.