Given New England is at this time just a one-point favorite that is a rather loaded question for NFL football handicappers and those will be making sports picks for the big game.
Instead of coming up with a simplistic answer to this question let’s break it down by quadrants of each team to arrive at an answer for the sportsbooks present number.
Who has Quarterback Edge?
For this matchup, Tom Brady is the better passer (though not the deeper thrower he used to be), with greater knowledge of what to anticipate given his length of time in the NFL. Brady will have to be extremely accurate as the Seattle secondary will attack all routes and he will have to be mobile enough in the pocket to get off throws from the on-rushing Seahawks defense.
Russell Wilson is making second Super Bowl appearance in just three years, just like Tom Terrific. Wilson skill set is completely different, being uncommonly mobile and has real knack to be able to square his shoulders on the move and deliver accurate throws. Wilson also has the athletic ability to escape trouble and find expanses of real estate to gobble up.
Hard not to like Brady in this spot and let’s give him a three-point advantage towards the NFL odds.
What Team has more Offensive Playmakers?
ESPN.com ranked every player on both rosters, regardless of position for the Super Bowl. It comes as no surprise tight end Rob Gronkowski and Marshawn Lynch were listed No.’s 1 and 2. Once Gronk was healthy from all his aliments over the past couple seasons, the Patriots offense took flight. Gronkowski demands so much attention this allows Julian Edelman more room to roam and he’s a force when Brady needs a third down conversion.
LaGarrette Blount might not be a fit for a lot of NFL teams, but he’s perfectly suited to wear a Pats uniform and can be the thunder to Shane Vereen’s lightning in the New England offense.
When Lynch accelerates into – Beast Mode – watch out, the dude is virtually unstoppable. With the combo of him, Robert Turbin and Wilson taking off on long jaunts, no wonder Seattle is averaging 169.8 yards per game on the ground at 5.2 yards per clip this season.
Wilson might have only has 20 touchdown tosses during the regular season compared to Brady’s 33, nonetheless he had far fewer weapons around him. With no Golden Tate and Percy Harvin most of the season, Seattle’s pass catchers do not induce fear. What makes the Seahawks passing game dangerous is when Wilson slips out of the pocket and the receivers can run to open areas for completions down the field. If you are studying the betting odds and props, you should be aware; Seattle was sixth in the NFL this season in yards per pass attempt at 7.3.
The Pats have an easier capacity to score and that is worth three points.
Defense Wins Championships right?
For those making a variety of NFL picks for the Super Bowl, both defenses faced opposing teams which gained roughly 344 yards per game. New England has surrendered 341.3 yards per contest (11th overall), while Seattle has conceded 274.4 YPC, which is tops in the league.
Seattle’s mission besides stopping the run is to generate pressure in the A-gaps since it is well-known Brady detests pressure in his face and deplores when players are around his legs since blowing out his knee in 2008. The Legion of Boom secondary allowed just 5.8 yards per completion this season and it will be fun to watch if they try and jump short routes like they did in the Super Bowl last year against Denver.
The Patriots defense does not receive the same notoriety; however, they have given up only 3.2 more points per game than Seattle’s league-leading 16.3. New England will give up yardage yet ended up fourth in the NFL in yards per point at 17.5.
With the skill of the New England secondary led by Darrelle Revis, the Pats can play a lot of man coverage, especially against the Seattle wide receivers and let the front seven do their job.
Because of the Patriots ability to keep points down, Seattle has a five-point edge on this side of the ball.
The Conclusion Is?
Doing the math I come up with New England favored by a single point and I’ll give them an extra half point because of Bill Belichick, but Pete Carroll is also an elite head coach.
To my way of thinking, the odds makers have the correct number and the right team favored.