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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

February 1, 2015 at 7:30 AM

Seahawks vs. Patriots: Final media Super Bowl picks show Seattle as slight underdog

2-1-15Yes, it’s still close.

National media and major newspaper predictions are tight on Super Bowl Sunday. The Patriots are favored by one point by oddsmakers, and the margin is almost as close everywhere you look. Seventy-six media predictions I found Sunday morning pick the Patriots and 65 favor the Seahawks.

I did notice one trend: The later picks seem to be favoring New England. Early last week, more media outlets were siding with the Seahawks.

Here is a roundup of all the national media picks I could find Sunday morning.

SEATTLE TIMES

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.

ESPN.COM

Twenty-five of 48 pick the Seahawks

Ashley Fox: Seahawks 21, Patriots 20 – The Seahawks believe in and play for each other, and that’s a powerful thing.

Chris Mortensen: Patriots 20, Seahawks 16 – The Patriots will have more answers for the Seahawks’ offense, while LeGarrette Blount will present problems for Seattle. Still a pick ’em game.

SI.COM

Seven of 11 pick Patriots.

Peter King: Patriots 31, Seahawks 28 – I can’t have any more respect for a competitor than I do for Russell Wilson. Read Robert Klemko’s story to see how he got to be such a crazy competitor. It’s hard to pick against him, and against determined earth-mover Marshawn Lynch, who is playing like the Earl Campbell of this era. And the Seattle defense, if it gets the kind of momentum it played with 52 weeks ago, could win this game by itself.

But New England’s defense also is playing well, particularly the secondary. I am wary about picking against Seattle, because I did so last year and the result was embarrassing.

New England 31, Seattle  28. I see some defensive points mixed in. It’s going to be a great game. 

Greg Bishop: Patriots 24, Seahawks 17 – Rob Gronkowski gives Tom Brady enough options to be effective, but the reason the Patriots win this Super Bowl after losing two close ones in recent seasons is their improved defense. That starts with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at cornerback. Browner proves to be the offseason departure that most stings the Seahawks.

Doug Farrar: Seahawks 22, Patriots 20 – As much as I think the Patriots will annoy and befuddle the Seahawks with an array of gameplans on both sides of the ball, and as much as I was on the fence most of this week, when I found out that Earl Thomas was basically healthy (or at least practicing without obvious effect from the shoulder injury he suffered in the NFC Championship Game), my pick went Seattle’s way. New England’s offense is complex, multifaceted and impressive, but the Seahawks won’t really change their Cover-3 scheme that much (they’ve got all the players to do it with Thomas healthy), and the Patriots have not faced anything like the Seattle zone-read scheme. In the end, I think Seattle has just enough to eke out a win, becoming the first repeat Super Bowl champion in a decade.

Joan Niesen: Seahawks 21, Patriots 17 – think the Seahawks’ defense has enough to stop the Patriots’ offense — or at least make it one-dimensional — and anyone who says Seattle still won’t be able to put up enough points should just take a glance at last year’s box score. What Russell Wilson did in the NFC Championship Game was an anomaly, and I can’t see him having another game like he did against the Packers; that said, another game like that looks to me like the Patriots’ best shot at a win.

NFL.COM

Eight of 14 pick the Seahawks.

Elliot Harrison: Patriots 28, Seahawks 20 –

Why the Patriots will win: I’m watching several matchups in this one; to see what will put New England over the top, check out my full prediction column here. MVP: Jamie Collins. Bold prediction: Collins will pick Russell Wilson on a play when the QB doesn’t see him dropping into the lane, add a sack and make several stops in ground support.

Gil Brandt: Seahawks 27, Patriots 24 (OT): Why the Seahawks will win: These teams are about as closely matched as any Super Bowl opponents I’ve seen, but I think there will be more Seattle fans in attendance, which should give the ‘Hawks an edge. MVP: Steven Hauschka. Bold prediction: This will be the first Super Bowl to go to overtime, with Hauschka ultimately providing the winning field goal — hence his MVP award.

CBSSPORTS.COM

Split, four for each team.

Pat Kirwin: Seahawks 24, Patriots 21 – This is a tough game to call but Seattle is my choice in a close, low-scoring game. I sat down with both starting quarterbacks and I was impressed with their confidence. I don’t expect the Patriots to get a big pass rush on Russell Wilson (New England doesn’t have a sack in the postseason) and because of the constant run threat of Marshawn Lynch, I will not be surprised to see Wilson have a good day throwing the ball. For the Seahawks defense, handling Rob Gronkowski is the biggest challenge and he will get his five or six catches, but Kam Chancellor and some creative coverage calls should minimize his red zone production. This game could go either way but I still like a great defense and a running game.

Jason La Confora: Patriots 24, Seahawks 21 – Don’t make Tom Brady angry. You wont like him when he’s angry. Not that the Pats needed any more motivation to win this game, but Deflategate gives Belichick’s boys even more motivation to go “us-against-the-world” and show that they don’t need no stinking soft balls to win football games. It will be a throwback game, I think, with the offensive and defensive lines carrying the day.

The MVP will be Julian Edelman. The Seahawks will take away Gronk but Edelman is a tougher matchup for them and I see him making a few huge plays on specials teams and catching a TD or two in a closely-played game.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the issue of deflated footballs Thursday at a Patriots news conference. Elise Amendola / The Associated Press

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the issue of deflated footballs Thursday at a Patriots news conference.
Elise Amendola / The Associated Press

YAHOO.COM

Three of five pick the Patriots.

Jay Busbee: Seahawks 20, Patriots 17 – When a game is this close odds-wise, I revert to a tried-and-true method of picking games: which mascot would win in real life. And a seahawk would totally destroy a colonial dude taking two minutes to reload his musket. In the real world, this game will turn on a couple of big plays, a couple of key mistakes, and the Seattle defense has the capability to make those plays and force those mistakes. I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the Seahawks receivers (prove me wrong, Doug Baldwin, prove me wrong), but I do believe Marshawn Lynch could carry the entire Patriot defense into the end zone on his shoulder pads if need be. This will be a low-scoring but tense game throughout, and somebody’s going to have their hopes crushed in the final minutes.

Frank Schwab: Patriots 27, Seahawks 20 – After going 5-1 the past couple rounds, including 2-0 on championship Sunday (season record to date against the spread: 134-127-4), I feel pretty good picking the Patriots.  If Seattle won it would obviously not be a big surprise, but I still think the Patriots have a little better ability to score, especially after the Seahawks offense showed some issues in the NFC title game against Green Bay. For 55 minutes anyway. I also think the Patriots defense has been overshadowed this week. They’re not as great as the Seahawks’ defense, but they’re really good. There’s a reason the Patriots are 12-1 since September (not counting a Week 17 game in which they had nothing to play for and rested starters).  I think it’s a great matchup between two fantastic teams, but I just think the Patriots get it done (as a bonus, put me down for LeGarrette Blount as MVP).

BLEACHER REPORT

Eleven of 16 pick the Seahawks.

NEW JERSEY ADVANCE MEDIA

Seven of 13 pick the Patriots.

Steve Politi: Seahawks 30, Patriots 17 – Defense beats offense again as the Seahawks stake claim to a budding dynasty while Bill Belichick and Tom Brady go from 3-0 in Super Bowls to 0-3. Oh, and to finish off a bad year for Roger Goodell, Marshawn Lynch is named the game’s MVP and refuse to answer questions on live TV during the trophy presentation, declaring, “I’m just here to get my Corvette.”

Mark Eckel: New England 26, Seattle 23Tom Brady and Bill Belichick only lose this game when the Giants are on the other sideline. So unless Eli Manning and David Tyree show up in Seahawks’ uniforms, Sunday, I’m taking the Pats in a close one.
Super Bowl MVP: Rob Gronkowski.

NEWSDAY

Three of four pick the Patriots.

John Boell: Seahawks 23, Patriots 20 – Before the wild-card round, I had picked Seattle to defeat New England, 24-17. I thought about changing my pick here, especially after watching Seattle’s offense struggle in the playoffs.

But it’s all about the defense this time of the year. Ever since Week 11, when they were three games back in the NFC West, the ‘Hawks have been on a mission, winning eight straight. I believe Seattle is a team of destiny, and the Legion of Boom reigns supreme a second straight season. Belichick and Brady leave Arizona, again, deflated.

WASHINGTON TIMES

Split, two for each team.

Thom Loverro: Seahawks 27, Patriots 20 – I keep looking back at the Baltimore Ravens-Patriots game. The Seattle secondary won’t play soft on Brady’s quick drop-back pass game. They will make Brady uncomfortable. Also, Marshawn Lynch’s former college teammate, Justin Forsett, had 129 yards rushing against Pats. Lynch will have more.

Todd Dybas: Patriots 20, Seahawks 17 – The Patriots are a much more balanced team than Denver was, and Bill Belichick will find a way to hem in Russell Wilson. Wilson could attack the Broncos with his arm last year. He’ll have a much tougher time against the New England secondary.

INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Split, two for each team.

Zac Keefer: Patriots over Seahawks – Which brings us to these deflated footballs and the unscheduled press conference last week — you know that didn’t make Bill Belichick happy — and New England’s utter disdain for all those currently attacking and questioning their methods of success. There’s no doubt about it: They’re as pissed off as they’ve ever been. We’ve seen this movie before. We know how this one turns out.

Gregg Doyel: Seahawks over Patriots – We can do this in one word, though there’s more to say than that. But if this were a one-word answer, the one word would be clear: defense. The biggest thing the Seahawks and Patriots have that the Colts do not is a championship defense.The Seahawks have more than that, really. They have a historically dominant defense, tops in the NFL in points and yards allowed each of the past two seasons and the reason I’d buck the oddsmakers, who favor the Patriots, and take the Seahawks. The Legion of Boom is this era’s Steel Curtain or Doomsday Defense, the best there is, one of the best there ever was.

FOX SPORTS

Five of eight pick the Patriots

Alex Marvez: Seahawks over Patriots Unlike their past two Super Bowl teams that peaked too early, the Patriots are playing their best football down the stretch. But that still won’t be enough against a Seahawks squad that appears ready to start its own dynasty like New England did when winning three Super Bowls in four seasons.

Peter Schrager: Patriots over Seahawks When I covered the Patriots in training camp, I wrote down in a notebook that this was the year they got over the hump. This was the year that this team would find a way to slay their dragons and get that elusive fourth Lombardi Trophy. Sometimes you just have a feeling.

USA TODAY

Five of seven pick the Patriots.

NEW  YORK POST

Five of six pick the Patriots.

Steve Serby: Patriots 24, Seahawks 21 (OT) – Bill Belichick will load up to slow Marshawn Lynch and dare Russell Wilson beat him with his arm, because the Patriots will secure the edges to prevent Wilson from wrecking the game with his legs. This is why Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner are Patriots. By all accounts, Tom Brady has put Deflategate behind him, and just can’t see him losing a third straight Super Bowl.

Mike Vaccaro:  Seahawks 27, Patriots 17 – Patriots have the us-against-the-world thing going for them, and they know how to take advantage of that as well as anyone. Against a lesser team that might be enough. Against the defending champs, it’s enough to stay close.

Coach Pete Carrroll, shown jogging before a game, preaches relentless positivity with his Seahawks players.  Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times staff

Coach Pete Carrroll, shown jogging before a game, leads his team into its second straight Super Bowl.
Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times staff

WASHINGTON POST

Two of three pick the Patriots

SB NATION

Four of seven pick the Seahawks.

llegations. A close Patriots win, 27-24, to bring a fourth Lombardi Trophy to Foxborough.

PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM

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.

SB NATION

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.

BOSTON GLOBE

Three of five  pick the Patriots.

BOSTON HERALD

Six of eight pick the Patriots.

Karen Guregian: Seahawks 20, Patriots 17 – Would love to play the ‘Us against the World’ card, but it’s Seattle they’re playing, and the Pats just don’t match up well.

Jeff Howe: Patriots 24, Seahawks 23– They’re ticked off yet as loose as they’ve been all season. The controversy hasn’t derailed their prep work, and they’ll win a classic.

BUFFALO NEWS

Four of six pick the Patriots.

Jay Skurski:  Seahawks 23, Patriots 21 – Love him or hate him, Marshawn Lynch is at the top of his game. His running ability – coupled with quarterback Russell Wilson’s – should allow the Seahawks to control the clock, and the game.

Tim Graham: Patriots 24, Seahawks 21 – Last year, I picked the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl because of their defense. But the Patriots’ offense is balanced enough to be effective, and their defense should give Russell Wilson as many problems as the Packers did two weeks ago.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Bill Plaschke: Patriots over Seahawks – This unemotional Patriots team does its best work while carrying a chip. After spending two weeks hearing their beloved quarterback and respected coach called cheaters because of the deflated football scandal, they have that chip.

An emotional Seahawks team plays from the heart, but their hearts were nearly wrung dry in a tearful, miraculous comeback win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. How can they have enough left?

Patriots win. Tough to swallow. Most of America is going to need a minute, man.

SPORTINGNEWS.COM

Vinnie Iyer:  Seahawks 23, Patriots 17 – So the Seahawks are in better position to move the ball in this game, given the bonus of Wilson’s legs. The Patriots, meanwhile will be forced into a more uncomfortable position, given the limited viable options.

Seattle is about to do something special that New England once enjoyed. Shutting down Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ record-setting prolific offense one year and Brady the next? That’s doing something truly dynastic. Strength and speed, Lynch and the Seahawks’ defense. That wins another championship.

MIAMI HERALD

Greg Cote: Patriots 20, Seahawks 17 – Lynch and Rob Gronkowski spearhead two big-time offenses, but I’d rather have Brady on Sunday than Russell Wilson. I just would. Seattle’s defense is better all-round but New England will remind that its D is plenty good enough. The difference for me will be intangibles. Seattle just won, while Brady has the hunger of having lost twice since last being champion. Beyond that, the Patriots have endured the “Deflategate” mess that portrayed them as cheaters, and also the smaller indignity of the fire alarm at their team hotel mysteriously twice sounding in the wee hours this week. I see this as an angry, extra-motivated Patriots team. And I see a defiant owner Robert Kraft lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC/AZ.COM

KENT SOMERS: Patriots 23, Seahawks 17 – This has the makings of a low-scoring classic. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots attack the Seahawks defense. The Patriots use diverse offensive formations and they are liable to throw a lot of different looks at Seattle. It won’t matter unless the Patriots can protect Brady, and that will be hard to do against the Seahawks. My gut feeling is the Patriots won’t make the mistakes the Broncos did last year against Seattle, or that the Packers did two weeks ago in the NFC title game.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

Mark Purdy: Patriots 24, Seahawks 20

It will be a close game because the difference between the teams is really very thin. It’s going to be a fairly low-scoring game because (A) the Seahawks’ defense is better than the Patriots’ defense while (B) the Patriots’ offense is better than the Seahawks’ offense. So it will be strength against strength, and weakness against weakness, although New England’s defense and Seattle’s offense are hardly the classic definition of “weak.”

 I can just see a tight game decided by a dramatic turnover. An interception. A forced fumble. A bobbled onside kick. (Where have we seen that before?) Of course, the team most known for that sort of thing is Seattle. So my gut tells me the Seahawks should probably be favored. However.

ORLANDO SENTINEL

Two of three pick the Seahawks

Mike Bianchi: Seahawks  37, Patriots 17 – We will see one dynasty die and another one born today in the Arizona desert. We will see one coaching king dethroned and another one coronated. The new dynasty is the Seahawks, who are about to win their second consecutive Super Bowl. And the new coaching king is Pete Carroll, who will today add a second Vince Lombardi Trophy to go with the college football national championship he won at USC. Seahawks 37, Deflate-a-Gaters 17

George Dias: Patriots over Seahawks – All Hail The Hoodie! Bill Belichick and The Dark Side will rule in Super Bowl XLIX.

Resistance is futile.

“If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father,” Darth Vader once famously said to Luke Skywalker.

Modern translation: “Who’s your daddy, Pete Carroll?”

Jerry Greene: Seahawks over the Broncos –  And the winner will be … Seattle. Why? Because they are mean. Patsies are good, but Seahawks are good and mean. Patsies are, uh, shall we say, tricky? ‘Hawks just hit you, again and again. Seattle doesn’t deceive. Seattle pounds. Think about the quarterbacks representing the AFC last year and now — Peyton Manning and Brady, the unquestioned leaders of that conference for the last decade. Seattle crushed Manning and made him look old. Now they are going to put wrinkles on Brady’s handsome face. You think this will be close. You’re wrong. Enjoy the commercials because the game is already over. Jerry says: Seahawks by 22.

DENVER POST

Woody Paige: Patriots 28, Seahawks 21The New England Patriots will deflate the Seattle Seahawks 28-21 on Sunday, and 2 billion quarts of guacamole will be consumed worldwide. … This Super Bowl belongs to the Patriots and the Seahawks, and America is pulling against the Patriots. However, Bill Beli- chick and Tom Brady will have their way.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

 

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