This one is going to be close.
That’s the conclusion from most early predictions for Super Bowl XLIX from national media and major newspapers, including our own.
Four of our six writers or columnists covering the Super Bowl pick the Seahawks to win, although most figure it will be a tight game. Larry Stone sees an overtime Seahawks’ win. Jerry Brewer has the widest margin – an eight-point Seattle victory. Bob Condotta, Jayson Jenks and Ryan Divish all pick the Seahawks. Geoff Baker and Matt Pentz predict the Patriots will win.
Nationally, picks follow fairly similar lines: Almost too close to call.
Here is a roundup of national media predictions for Super Bowl, with a fun prediction by Madden 15 thrown in at the end.
Five of seven pick the Seahawks
Jerry Brewer: Seahawks 24 Patriots 16 – The Seahawks’ team speed and physical play on defense will disrupt the New England offense. But this will ultimately go down as the game that cements Marshawn Lynch’s legend. He’ll be the most indifferent Super Bowl MVP in league history because of all the attention that comes with it.
Bob Condotta: Seahawks 31, Patriots 24 – The Seahawks rode their running game and defense to the Super Bowl and they will ride it to a second straight title that will raise them to a permanent standing among the great teams in NFL history.
Jayson Jenks: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23 – The Patriots are a disciplined and physical team, the kind that can hang with the Seahawks. But the Seahawks’ defense has played some of its most determined football against some of the NFL’s best offenses, and it will do so one more time.
Larry Stone: Seahawks 26, Patriots 20 (OT) – No Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime, but these two teams are so evenly matched it’s set up to be the first. And I like Russell Wilson in those situations, even against a clutch performer like Tom Brady. It would help if Tarvaris Jackson nails the coin toss again.
Geoff Baker: Patriots 24, Seahawks 14 – Patriots healthier and better than Packers squad that nearly beat Seattle. You can’t completely stop Tom Brady aerial attack and equally formidable run game, while Hawks’ slow-starting offense will have tough time keeping pace versus shutdown corners.
Ryan Divish: Seahawks 24, Patriots 21 – This will be a tougher game than some people think. But in the end, the Seahawks will create two turnovers, including an interception of Tom Brady in the win. Marshawn Lynch will also run for more than 130 yards and score two TDs.
Matt Pentz: Patriots 27, Seattle 21 – The unsung Patriots’ defense keeps the Seahawks contained until late, and another dramatic Seattle surge falls just short in Glendale, Ariz.
Five of nine pick the Patriots
Eleven of 16 pick the Seahawks
Matt Bowen: It takes rare talent at the safety position to limit Gronkowski because of his size and skill set, but it still comes down to technique. It always does. Challenge the release, slide the feet and play with the proper technique to finish.
That’s not easy to do every rep versus Gronkowski, and he will make some plays versus the Seattle defense. But when I watch tape on (Kam) Chancellor and study the physical approach he brings to the stadium, the strong safety gives the Seahawks the opportunity to use multiple schemes to neutralize Gronkowski.
Split, three each pick the Seahawks, Patriots
Katie Sharp: With both No. 1 seeds battling in the final showdown of the season, this is set up on paper to be a highly competitive and entertaining Super Bowl. It is the 11th time that the league’s top seeds will be matched up in the big game since 1975 (when the NFL’s playoff format began basing home field advantage on teams’ regular season records), and recent trends favor a Seattle victory: the NFC has won the last six Super Bowls between No. 1 seeds.
However, if history is any indication, we might be headed for another blowout like last year’s 35-point win by the Seahawks over the Denver Broncos. That game, too, featured the AFC’s and NFC’s best teams and continued a trend of underwhelming Super Bowl games between top seeds. Only one of the 10 previous matchups was decided by single digits — the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl 16 — and the average margin of victory in those 10 contests was more than 20 points per game.
Mark Chiara: Seahawks 23, Patriots 20 – Seattle is no stranger to shutting down high-powered offenses, though, which is precisely what it did in a 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in last year’s Super Bowl.
The Seahawks also have a great formula on offense, with Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch anchoring the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack.
Seattle can largely keep the New England offense on the sidelines, while its defense can shut down Brady and Co. otherwise. Because of that, look for the Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLIX by a score of 23-20.
Neil Greenberg: New England Patriots 23, Seattle Seahawks 20 – According to Pro Football Reference’s expected points, which represent the estimated point value at the start of a given play, based on down, distance, and field position, the Patriots’s passing game has been worth almost 11 points per game (10.8). The Seahawks pass defense, which includes the pass rush, has saved the team less than four points all season.
The key for New England will be to keep the pressure off Brady and for him to complete the short passes while getting the ball to their best playmaker, tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski made 82 catches this season for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Plus, he was a favorite of Brady’s when the Patriots were in the red zone.
Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 – The miniature NFL players inside of the Madden 15 game have predicted a fourth Super Bowl title for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, thanks to Brady’s late-game touchdown pass to Julian Edelman.
Brady earned MVP honors thanks to a 335-yard, four-touchdown performance. For the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch churned out 118 yards and two touchdowns. In real life, we believe Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and the Legion of Boom LLC may have something to say about those gaudy Brady stats.
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