The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks are set to do battle on February 1st, and the winner gets the Vince Lombardi trophy. For the Patriots, the Super Bowl scene is nothing new. For Tom Brady, the starting quarterback of the Patriots, this is his 6th Super Bowl appearance. Yet the Patriots have not won the big game since 2004, when they won it all for the second consecutive season. What has to happen for the Patriots to claim their fourth world championship?
Dec 14, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive endRob Ninkovich
(50) reacts after sacking Miami Dolphins quarterbackRyan Tannehill
(17) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 41-13. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots headlines may come from Brady and their charismatic tight end, Rob Gronkowski, but the strongest part of this team may be their defense. With one of the best cornerback tandems in the league, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner give the Patriots an elite secondary.
The Patriots success in Super Bowl XLIX will depend on how well they can stop the running game. The run game is the foundation for everything on the Seahawks offense. If the Patriots can stop the Seahawks from pounding the rock with Marshawn Lynch, they will force the Seahawks to challenge their vaunted secondary.
The Patriots will stack the box and tempt Seattle to throw the football. If Seattle can’t win on first down, then advantage goes to the Patriots.
Offensively the Patriots need to pound the running game a lot. The Seahawks secondary is their strength too. The run game will open opportunities in the passing game. Expect to see a heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount. Its that type of a football game, a physical test of wills that favors his punishing running style.
The Patriots know that they have to give Brady a clean pocket. He is a midline passer, meaning that he is not scrambling or going anywhere. If you get pressure up the middle you affect his timing, his vision and his comfort stepping into his throws.
Expect Brady to have a lot of short drop backs. They know not to challenge Richard Sherman (who may not be at full strength) and Byron Maxwell deep too often. Bunch formations and stacked receivers will help against the relentless man coverage of Seattle. Expect a lot of crossing routes and expect running backs to get involved in the passing game. Just remember that if Gronkowski is held in check, the Patriots will have trouble.
The Patriots win the Super Bowl if they force Russell Wilson to challenge their secondary on 3rd and long situations. The Patriots win this game if they pound the rock and impose their will on the Seahawks defense. The Patriots win the game if they can protect Brady and get a mega performance from Gronkowski straight to another championship.
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