This NFL handicapper will examine how the Patriots & Seahawks reached their Super Bowl berth in this year’s playoffs, followed by a dissection of each team from a technical perspective, with a variety of point spread trends.
Super Bowl XLIX
This is the first of four articles I will author regarding this year’s Super Bowl. In the second article I will examine the teams from a fundamental perspective, using a statistical analysis to dissect each club. The third article will be a situational look at factors that will likely influence this week’s game. Finally, in the fourth article I will draw conclusions for the point spread and over/under winner of the Super Bowl. Note that this year’s game should be played in balmy conditions, approaching 70 degrees with winds light and variable, under 10 mph.
New England entered the playoffs at 12-4 SU following a meaningless loss to Buffalo, as they had clinched home field throughout the playoffs in the previous game. In their opening playoff game, the Pats trailed Baltimore by 14 points twice, before storming back for a 35-31 victory. They carried over the momentum of that win the following week against an Indianapolis team that many thought had turned the corner with their victory at Denver the previous week. But, New England defeated QB Luck by 21 or more points for the fourth consecutive time in a 45-7 victory that saw New England outrush Indy 40/177 to 19/83. New England forced three turnovers and held the potent Colts’ offense to a total of 209 yards.
Seattle entered the playoffs on a 6 game winning streak. With a strong performance against a Carolina team that had played them in a competitive fashion for several previous meets, Seattle emerged with a 31-17 victory. The following week’s game against Green Bay would not be nearly the cake walk. We all know how teams do with a -3 or more net turnover margin in a contest. In their game against Green Bay, Seattle committed a whopping 5 turnovers, yet they survived the -3 net turnover with a 28-22 will-to-win, defensive-driven victory. They did what they do best, outrushing Green Bay 35/194 to 30/135. The defense held Green Bay to 306 yards. Though they did not get the cover (only 9% of NFL teams do if they have a -3 or more net TO margin), the 28-22 victory propelled them to the Super Bowl.
From a tech and trends point of view, we know the following about New England. The Patriots enter the game on a 12-2 SU, 9-5 ATS run, roughly corresponding to the return of WR Gronkowski. This is the sixth Super Bowl in 14 years for New England, but they have not won a Super Bowl in 10 years. New England has struggled in the playoffs in recent years, with a 4-11 ATS mark. Against fellow playoff teams, New England went 6-1 SU, outgaining those foes by an average of 60 YPG. When facing non-divisional foes, the Patriots were 10-2 SU, with an average margin of victory of 32-20. Finally, when playing on the road, New England went 5-3 SU. They will be playing their first game away from New England in 5 weeks.
From a tech and trends perspective, we can gleam the following about Seattle. Seattle enters as the hottest team in the NFL. The defending Champs have won 8 consecutive games by 6 or more points, going 7-1 ATS in the process, covering the spread by 63 points in those games. Unlike New England, Seattle has played their best in recent playoff action, going 7-1 SU. Versus this year’s playoff teams, the Seahawks went 7-1 SU, outgaining their foes by an average of 74 YPG. Seattle continues to show line value with a recent record of 47-19 ATS including, more recently, 15-6 SU ATS away from home. This year, Seattle outgained their home opponents by 152 YPG, winning 7 of 8 contests by an average score of 23-16 on the road. Much like New England, this will be the Seahawks’ first game away from home in 6 weeks.
On the run, the NFC has gone 4-1 in the last five Super Bowls vs the AFC. The tech and trends in this article will be integrated with my statistical and situational analysis, leading to my NFL pick on Friday of this week regarding the pointspread and OVER/UNDER winners.