It’s going to be close, really close.
So close that the national media and major newspapers can’t even agree who will win. But almost everyone is predicting a tight game. My count on Friday afternoon is 71 picking the Seahawks and 61 choosing the Patriots.
Here are The Seattle Times picks, then a roundup of predictions for Super Bowl:
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.
24 of 46 pick the Seahawks.
John Clayton: Seahawks 24, Patriots 20 – Like in their victory over the Patriots in 2012, the Seahawks will need a late fourth-quarter drive to win this game.
Adam Schefter: Patriots 24, Seahawks 21 – New England deflates Seattle’s hopes of repeating.
Ron Jaworski: Patriots 31, Seahawks 20 – Tom Brady’s efficient passing and New England’s strong defense will be too much for the Seahawks to overcome.
Terry Blount: Seahawks 24, Patriots 20 — Teams that have returned to the Super Bowl the year after winning it are 8-3, including the past three and four of the past five.
Five of eight pick the Patriots.
Pete Prisco: Patriots 23, Seahawks 20 – There are two big reasons why I like the New England Patriots to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Their run as one of the league’s best coach-quarterback tandems of all-time began 13 years ago, when many of the same players who will be on the same University of Phoenix Stadium field Sunday were still hoping to show off for their high-school coaches and win a letterman jacket. That’s staying power. The reason it’s worked, even as the other names change and the roster turns over year by year, is because they’re both among the greats at their respective jobs. Give Belichick two weeks to prepare to stop a gimmicky offense like the one Seattle runs, and I will take that any day. He will come up with something to limit running back Marshawn Lynch, force Russell Wilson to win the game in the pocket, which will play right into the Seattle weakness. That’s the Belichick way. I think Brady will have time to make smart decisions against that great Seattle defense. He will be patient. He will use Shane Vereen as a check-down king to move the football. If the Seahawks double Rob Gronkowski, which they will do, he will go to others behind the double. He’s smart that way and he will play well enough to win the Super Bowl MVP. The Patriots haven’t won a title in over a decade. They’ve dealt with Spygate and now Deflategate, but none of that will matter when the night is over in the desert. Brady and Belichick will be atop the football mountain again — maybe earning that spot permanently if they indeed do win another.
Split, five pick the Seahawks and five pick the Patriots.
Don Banks: Patriots 27, Seahawks 21 – Why do I get the feeling this outcome was meant to be? As the controversy again swirls around this lightning rod of a club, the Patriots are back on the same University of Phoenix field where their perfect season dreams died such a cruel and improbable death seven years ago, with a chance for redemption against the defending Super Bowl champions, who are trying to match New England’s back-to-back feat of 10 years ago. A Seattle win would clearly bump New England to the status of last decade’s dynasty, but this time it’ll be the Patriots with the late fourth-quarter magic, as a Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski touchdown pass earns the Men of Belichick that long-awaited fourth ring, and a dose of vindication, at least in the eyes of some.
Chris Burke: Seahawks 20, Patriots 17 – The Patriots’ offense can overwhelm opposing defenses with its varied looks, but those that have had success against it A) have been able to generate pressure without needing to blitz much; and B) have thrown off the Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski timing by physically testing Gronk. Seattle can do both of those things. New England will move the ball and its own defense is far better than many people think. The defending champs will pull it off, though.
Eight of 14 pick the Seahawks.
Marc Sessler: Patriots 24, Seahawks 21 (OT) – Why the Patriots will win: After last year’s blowout, we get a classic on Sunday, marked by a brilliant Tom Brady two-minute drill to push the game into overtime. MVP: Tom Brady Bold prediction: Darrelle Revis picks off Russell Wilson in overtime to pave the way for New England’s game-winning kick.
Brian Billick: Seahawks 27, Patriots 24 – Why the Seahawks will win: This is truly a toss-up. I could give you five reasons why either of these closely matched teams will win. Ultimately, I’m just guessing. MVP: Russell Wilson. Bold prediction: Russell Wilson (who averaged 217.2 yards per game in 2014) will throw for more yards than Tom Brady (who averaged 256.8).
Aditi Kinkhabwala: Seahawks 34, Patriots 31 – Why the Seahawks will win: Seattle has beaten every great quarterback and every great offense. They’re absurdly mentally resilient (as we saw against the Packers in the NFC title game), and even though I’m proposing such a high score, it’s still true: defense wins championships. MVP: Marshawn Lynch (Why go outside the box just to be wrong?) Bold prediction: There will be a special teams fumble.
Two of three pick the Patriots.
Neil Greenberg: Patriots 23, Seahawks 20 –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.
Eleven of 16 pick the Seahawks.
Mike Tanier: Seahawks 19, Patriots 17 – One thing to keep in mind while trying to predict the outcome of this game is that the scores of the two Giants-Patriots Super Bowls were 17-14 and 21-17. The Patriots had better offenses in those two games than they have this year, and while they were facing defense-oriented opponents, neither the 2007 nor 2011 Giants defense can come close to the 2014 Seahawks in terms of quality. It doesn’t make much sense to predict a very high score.
Erik Frenz: Patriots over Seahawks – The Patriots offense has been one of the most adaptable in the league this season, alternating freely and seamlessly between a pass-happy and a smashmouth attack. We’ve already seen them fare well against good pass defenses by spreading them out, neutralizing the pass rush with a quick-hitting pass attack and allowing Tom Brady to find the favorable matchups. That will probably be the plan of attack this week, with a spread attack to give Brady as many options as possible and allow him to throw away from Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. The Patriots have come out guns blazing after big controversies like Deflategate (38-14 win versus San Diego Chargers post-Spygate), and it wouldn’t be surprising if Bill Belichick’s team is ready to run through a wall for him after his weekend press conference where he went to bat for the allegations. A close Patriots win, 27-24, to bring a fourth Lombardi Trophy to Foxborough.
Two of two pick the Seahawks.
Mike Florio: Seahawks 27, Patriots 24 – Back in September, I picked the Seahawks and Patriots to make it to the Super Bowl. And I picked the Seahawks to win. And I can’t in good conscience abandon that selection.
I could be wrong. Very wrong. The Patriots may finish the job the Packers started. The Patriots may give Russell Wilson the Tim Tebow treatment, blowing the Seahawks out in the first half so that there’s no chance for a rabbit-from-hat finish. Or maybe it will be a close, down-to-the-wire, three-point margin with Stephen Gotskowski playing the role of Adam Vinatieri.
Coach Bill Belichick has the uncanny ability to develop a game plan that is unique to each opponent, figuring out how to move the ball against any defense he faces — and how to take away what any offense does best. Throw in the #DeflateGate disrespect, and Belichick may be able to press enough buttons to overcome the Seahawks.
But it’s the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, not Cincinnati in Week Five. Sometimes, no amount of Xs and Os and “us against them” and “win one for the Gipper” matters. G.M. John Schneider has put together an excellent roster, and Pete Carroll has coached them up to the point where they believe they can beat anyone.
This year, they didn’t beat everyone, but all that matters on Sunday is whether the can score more points than the Patriots. I believed they could in September, so I’ve got no choice but to stick with that now.
Michael David Smith: Seahawks 21, Patriots 17 – Moving past #Deflategate and Marshawn Lynch sparring with reporters and all of the off-field issues of the last two weeks, I keep thinking it comes down to this: Seattle’s defense is just too good.
Last year the Seahawks’ defense made Peyton Manning look bad in the Super Bowl, and this year I think the Seahawks’ defense is going to make Tom Brady look bad in the Super Bowl. Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are about as good as it gets in the NFL, and I don’t think Brady is going to find many open receivers on Sunday. If there’s one weakness to Seattle’s defense it’s that a good tight end can beat them, and as a result I can see Rob Gronkowski having a big day. But even if Gronk gets 100 yards and a touchdown, that won’t be enough on a day when I don’t expect any of the Patriots’ wide receivers to play well.
The reason this game will be a lot closer than last year’s Super Bowl is that I don’t see Seattle putting a lot of points on the board. Bill Belichick will have a good game plan to neutralize Russell Wilson’s running, and the Patriots’ secondary should be able to shut down Seattle’s wide receivers. This looks like a fairly low-scoring game.
But in the end, it’s a game that sees Seattle coming out on top. The Seahawks will repeat.
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.
Three of five pick the Patriots.
Seven of 13 pick the Seahawks.
Nick Powell: Seahawks 24, Patriots 21 – I won’t be fooled into thinking that the ballyhooed Deflate-gate story will affect Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s preparation, but I also won’t discount the fact that the Seahawks’ pass rush could give Brady fits and flashbacks to his previous Super Bowl appearances against the Giants. It will be a nail-biter, but the Seahawks prevail on a late field goal. Super Bowl MVP: Marshawn Lynch.
Matt Lombardo: Patriots 26, Seahawks 23 – Somehow the New England Patriots always play their best football when their backs are against the proverbial wall. Tom Brady and company have only lost two games since being left for dead after falling to the Kansas City Chiefs back week Week 4. Fittingly, after two weeks of DeflateGate talk, a late game-winning drive led by Tom Brady and punctuated with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal wins Bill Belichick and Brady their fourth ring together. Super Bowl MVP: Rob Gronkowski.
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