SUPER BOWL XLIX
PATRIOTS (14-4) vs. SEAHAWKS (14-4)
Sunday, 6:30 p.m., at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
The series: The series between these two conference champs is dead even at 8-8. It dates back to the first meeting ever, October 9, 1977, a 31-0 Pats win at the old Schaefer Stadium. Of course, that was only the second season of the Seahawks’ existence.
Last meeting: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23, at CenturyLink Field, Seattle, October 14, 2012.
Latest line: Patriots -1; Over/under total: 48
2014 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
14-4 Record 14-4
1st, AFC East Standings 1st, NFC West
365.5 (11) Offense 375.8 (9)
107.9 (18) Rushing 172.6 (1)
257.6 (9) Passing 203.1 (27)
344.1 (13) Defense 267.1 (1)
104.3 (9) Rushing 81.5 (3)
239.8 (17) Passing 185.6 (1)
+12 Turnover margin +9
BY THE NUMBERS
8 — Pats are 3-4 in their previous seven Super Bowls. For a second, let me speak to the 40-somethings out there like myself. Remember what we went through, how we suffered as children watching this pathetic franchise in the 1970s. No offense to the players back in the day, but all we did was suffer.
We suffered when Jack Tatum crippled Darryll Stingley.
We suffered when Ben Dreith hit Ray Hamilton with the phantom roughing the passer.
We suffered when Chuck Fairbanks ran for the Rockies.
And those were the good years.
Today is for you. Like me, you suffered through the pathetic years. Can you believe this franchise is now playing in its eighth Super Bowl?
The Steelers have played nine, and your Patriots are tied with Dallas in second with eight.
This day is for us.
12 — Seattle is the 12th team in history to make it to back-to-back Super Bowls in the 49-year history of the game. So far, defending champs are 8-3 in their returns.
30 — Seattle’s coaching staff has a combined 278 games (coaching or playing) of playoff experience with a combined 30 Super Bowl rings. Linebackers’ coach Ken Norton Jr. has four rings on his own.
33 — Current active Seahawks who played in last year’s Super Bowl win.
Keys for the Patriots
1. You gotta spread ‘em — Open it up on offense and attack the three and four defensive backs, not Richard Sherman or Kam Chancellor. Don’t bother trying to run. It’s just not going to happen in the first half, anyways. Maybe, after you build the lead.
2. Field goals are for losers — Learn from Green Bay’s mistakes. You need a fast start, scoring TDs not field goals. Seattle might be the best second half team since Montana’s 49ers. You must build the lead and then continue to pour it on. Josh McDaniels’ best two quarters of his life are needed, right out of the chute tonight.
3. Terrorize, don’t surprise — Matt Patricia, this means you. Selective blitzes and otherwise soft coverage will not work against Seattle. Crowd the line. Stack up seven and eight, eliminate the Beast and focus on your two corners stopping their two wideouts, 1-on-1.
Hector Longo’s prediction: Patriots 31, Seahawks 29; (Longo’s 2014 record: 12-6 straight up; 8-10 vs. the spread)
Analysis: I honestly can’t say I’m as confident as I’ve ever been in this selection. I see a pair of similar teams. Look at the numbers. Seattle is so darn tough in most every category, so are the Pats, when you figure in the Belichick intangibles. In the end, that’s my deciding factor, Belichick over Pete Carroll. Any New Englander, who watched the three seasons Carroll coached here, could never, ever pick Carroll to beat Belichick. I see a game for the ages. I hope, for a good guy like Vince Wilfork’s sake, New England gets it done.