The Super Bowl is upon us as is the end of another NFL season. Let's see who Swinger likes in his NFL picks between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.
Swinger's 2014 NFL Record (34-32-2 -17.95 units)
Two weeks ago when the conference championships were played, I had advised a maximum five-unit play on the New England Patriots over the Indianapolis Colts. Winna', winna' chicken dinna'. But the problem was, and has been all season, that my four unit plays continue to fail. Yes indeed it was the Under 47 in the Green Bay/Seattle game that looked like a mortal lock at the half with the Packers winning by the score of 16-0. It was a bad beat to be sure as Seattle stormed back and sent the game into overtime which blew the doors off the 'under'. Oh and we also had the Packers +7 for one lousy unit and of course that cashed with relative ease.
As we enter the last game of the season what have we learned as we eyeball a record that sits barely above .500 and down almost 18 units? Perhaps we should cut down on the number of four unit plays and stay the course with the max unit sides or totals in our NFL picks? It wasn't a great year but I am quite certain that this year's NFL title game will be simply super after we're done cashing. I want to thank all the avid devotees of this weekly space and until next season...let's get this!
Patriots vs. Seahawks
We know that both teams are headed into the Super Bowl as the hottest commodities since pork bellies in the 80's. Excluding the meaningless game against the Buffalo Bills where the Patriots played their second and third stringers, the Pats have reeled off 12 of 13 victories and covered the NFL Odds in all but three of those dozen victories. Similarly, the Seahawks have won their last eight games and covered the NFL odds in all but their last contest where they demonstrated their grit and determination by closing a 16 point halftime deficit to ultimately come away with a 28-22 OT victory over Aaron Rodgers and the formidable Green Bay Packers.
So just where does that leave us? It looks like the proverbial irresistible force versus the immoveable object. Something's got to give because there are no ties when playing for the Lombardi Trophy. So when it's seemingly this close let's do quick checklist of who is better where:
Offense - Edge Patriots
Quarterback - Russell Wilson is good, he moves fairly well in the pocket but once he gets out on the edge then defenses better look out because the kid has a motor. Brady is the quintessential pocket passer who also moves very well inside the pocket just not so great outside of it. However, his lightning fast reads and laser locked passes are the stuff of legends. Give him an extra half second and he will find a target. Give him a full extra second and more times than not there is a celebration in the endzone shortly after delivery. Advantage - Patriots.
Running Back - There is no question that the Seahawks have a game-changer in Marshawn Lynch. He is a one man wrecking crew and can chew up grass faster than a lawn mower. But the Patriots have LeGarrette Blount who's head smashing style will pick up the third-and-one's but Seattle's defense won't allow much more. Advantage - Seahawks
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends - As far as receivers go, the Patriots have a spectacular slot receiver in Julian Edelman and an All-World tight end in Rob Gronkowski. Those two targets give New England the edge as the rest of the Patriots receiving corps matches up similarly with Seattle's. Advantage - Patriots.
Defense - Edge Patriots
Go ahead and throw things at your monitor Seahawks' fans. I am not taking away anything from their vaunted defense but know this, the Patriots are no slouches on the defensive side of the ball. So here we go:
Defensive Tackle - Vince Wilfork is a stud and playing like he's 25 again. Nobody on Seattle touches Big Vince. Advantage Patriots.
Defensive Ends - Despite the Patriots Chandler Jones starring at defensive end we have to give the nod to Seattle's pass rushers who bring the heat early and often. Advantage Seahawks.
Line backers - Jamie Collins is playing like a man possessed for New England and when you couple him with Dont'a Hightower, Akeem Ayers and the vastly underrated Rob Ninkovich then the choice is clear. Bobby Wagner is superb for Seattle but when you look at both groups of 'backers, Patriots win the day. Advantage Patriots.
Cornerbacks - Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis? Pick your poison because you can't be wrong. Both are the premier corners and who is better than the other is so marginal regardless of who you prefer that we must look at the other corners to decide who wins the day. Former Seattle corner Brandon Browner is the tiebreaker here. Browner is an uber physical corner who levels the big hits and makes the big plays. Advantage - Patriots.
Safeties - Seattle has this category wrapped up with a big gold and green bow. Nobody touches the Seahawks safeties and the Pats are no exception.
Free NFL Pick: Patriots Even for 5 maximum units.
The Woodman’s Corner (10-10 ATS, - 0.9 units)
The Woodman clicked last week with the Packers and he's wrapping up the year by backing Tom Terrific and the Evil Genius. Go Pats at a pick'em so sayeth the Woodman.