Jon and Jordan Break Down Super Bowl XLIX
Packer Perspective writers Jon Meerdink and Jordan Huenink traded emails about the Super Bowl this week. Here's what they talked about.
Who's your pick for the Super Bowl?
Jon: Looking ahead to Sunday's Super Bowl, I think it's interesting how the stories of both teams have been similar. Both were highly regarded out of the gate, and for good reason. The Patriots are the Patriots and the Seahawks are the defending champs. But both faced significant questions throughout the year, too. The Patriots went through the whole "is Tom Brady washed up?" episode and the Seahawks had a bit of a midseason swoon. My question is, have both sides answered their questions? If not, what do you see as the issues they're facing going into the game?
Jordan: There's no denying that two, solid football teams are playing on Sunday. There's also no denying that I enjoyed witnessing the early season struggles for each of them as well. Seeing the Patriots lose a few games and panic about the mortality of their QB probably brought joy into the lives of a majority of Americans - not just me. And knowing that the Packers could very well be facing the Seahawks in the post-season made their early-season stumbles that much more meaningful. But throughout the course of the season, both organizations seemed to have righted their respective ships. The Patriots offense has once again become the juggernaut that we know they can be with Brady and Gronk, and the Legion of Boom has found their footing as well.
The only issue I see for Seattle is one that was brought to light against the Packers. If they find themselves playing from behind, they don't necessarily have the offense to come back. (Unless the other team hands it to them on a silver platter, that is.) And while the Patriots offense is definitely capable of getting out to a quick lead, they proved against Baltimore that they can come back as well.
Jon: I think I agree that Seattle still has some work to do to prove that they can come back against teams. By all accounts, they had that game lost two weeks ago, if not for the two dozen or so things the Packers somehow managed to screw up.
I am starting to wonder, though, if people might be overlooking the Seahawks a little. I know you can't really overlook anybody in the Super Bowl, but it seems like popular opinion is beginning to unite behind the Patriots as the favorite. But if anybody can shut down Rob Gronkowski and get to Tom Brady, it has to be these guys, wouldn't you think?
Jordan: With their dominant performance against the Colts in the AFC Championship, it seems like the Patriots have definitely become the popular choice to raise the Lombardi. This situation seems eerily similar to the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIII when everyone wrote off the Seahawks against one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen in the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos. And we all know how that one ended... After last year, I refuse to write off Seattle against the Brady Brigade, no matter how many points they've scored recently.
What aspect of the game are you looking most forward to? I'll be making a point of watching Gronkowski versus the Seahawks linebackers - a position that they struggled with mightily over the course of the season.
Jon: I'm going to watch Russell Wilson intently. There were a lot of things that surprised me about Wilson in the NFC Championship game. He looked completely confused early, and the Packers managed to get pressure on him in a big way, making him look skittish in the pocket and shaky on his reads. We both know that Seattle's offensive line is a liability. Can New England do the same? If anybody can scheme something up, it's Bill Belichick.
Jordan: I have no reason to believe the Patriots aren't going to attempt to attack Seattle how the Packers did in the first half of their game. I found it hard to believe how rattled Wilson looked over the course of 98% of that game. I mean, he only had seven interceptions all season, and then the Packers pick him off four times in ONE GAME? I bet you Revis is licking his chops.
It ceases to amaze me how Belichick can transform and mold his offensive schemes to fit the weaknesses in opposing defenses. In Week 11 against the Colts, they ran the ball 40 times for 250 yards and four touchdowns, and in the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Ravens, they only ran the ball seven times all game while Brady had 50 pass attempts. (You can see why owning Patriots players in fantasy football is frustrating!) I'm starting to find it harder to pick against the Patriots on Sunday...
Jon: So who's your pick? Blowout or close game?
Jordan: I'm definitely going with the Patriots, but the score is something harder to decide on. I'll say Patriots 28, Seahawks 24. I can't imagine it's going to be a blowout. How about you?
Jon: I really want to pick the Patriots, but the more I think about it, the harder and harder time I have believing that the Seahawks can have two stinkers in a row. As I said earlier, we all know they were lucky to get out of the NFC Championship game alive, but the Seahawks haven't had to rely on luck all that much recently. I think If they withstand New England's early charge, they'll come out on top. I've got Seahawks 30, Patriots 24.