By Brad Carroll
The Seattle Seahawks will defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX for their second straight world championship Sunday night if they ...
1. Hold Gronkowski In Check
One of the most hyped matchups entering the Super Bowl is Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski going against Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends in football and quarterback Tom Brady loves to find him in open space. Chancellor will draw the assignment of handling Gronkowksi, and he could be the perfect guy for the job. Chancellor not only has the speed to keep up with Gronkowski, but also the size to bring him down in the open field. Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for opponents, especially when going against a cornerback or linebacker, but Chancellor could be the one to neutralize that. Seattle has had trouble this season covering tight ends, however. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, a player similar to Gronkowski, caught 7 passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2. Jason Witten and Zach Ertz also scored touchdowns in games against Seattle this year. If Gronkowski wins this battle against Chancellor, the Patriots should have enough to win the Super Bowl. If he’s held in check, the Seahawks will be tough to beat and will be that much closer to a repeat championship.
2. Get Vintage Performance From Wilson
There’s no denying Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson would have been the biggest culprit if Seattle didn’t pull off a thrilling, comeback victory over the Packers in the NFC title game. He had one of the worst games of his career, throwing four interceptions and wasn’t even on the field for a Seattle touchdown until he scampered in from one yard out with 2:09 to play to trail by five. Wilson quickly reverted back to his reliable self after Seattle recovered an onside kick and saved the day by engineering a late touchdown to take the lead and completed a 49-yard touchdown bomb to Jermaine Kearse to win in overtime. If Wilson repeats his early struggles against New England, turning the ball over, Seattle won’t stand a chance. Wilson is going to have to make plays with his arm and his feet, but most of all, he can’t become an interception machine as he was against Green Bay.
3. Enter Beast Mode
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has made plenty of news off the field this week, refusing to answer questions from the media and instead going with canned responses that have become punchlines across the country. But come Sunday night, the only thing Lynch has to worry about is entering “beast mode,” which has become his calling card the past several seasons in Seattle. Lynch is a punishing runner and perhaps the only running back in the league who can spark his entire team with one run. He did it against Green Bay in the NFC championship game, scoring from 24 yards out to give the Seahawks a 22-19 lead with 1:25 to play. It wasn’t just the fact the play resulted in a touchdown, but rather the punishment Lynch delivered along the way. If Lynch can break off one of those signature runs early on, there might be no stopping the Seattle offense. If Lynch and the Seattle offensive line control the line of scrimmage in the first half, they should be able to own the second half and win the Super Bowl.
Final Score: Seattle Seahawks 31, New England Patriots 28