(WAVY) – This time last year, there was no uncertainty: I was convinced the Seattle Seahawks defense would stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
I didn’t expect the Hawks offense to put 43 points on the board. The 43-8 final — the third largest point differential in Super Bowl history — was a surprise only because of the blowout.
So here we are, 48 hours before kickoff of Super Bowl XLIL, and I can tell this one is a crapshoot, defined by Merriam-Webster as “something (as a business venture) that has an unpredictable outcome.”
Well, I have to pick something here, so I’m going with the Patriots. I believe the Seahawks still have one of the best defenses in the league. But I think this is going to be a tough New England team to shut down.
The Seahawks are going to want to keep this game in the teens or low 20’s to have a chance to win. The Patriots are going to be pushing to get as many points on the board as they can, because they believe Seattle’s offense isn’t explosive enough to score as much as it did in last year’s game.
Of course, I am not the only one who feels the key to this game may end up being Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. There is going to be a lot of pressure on safety Kam Chancellor, Norfolk native and Maury High School graduate, to contain him.
And if the Seattle defense crushed Peyton Manning last year, why won’t they do the same to Tom Brady on Sunday? I don’t think it’s going to just depend on Brady. His supporting cast on offense is a much better one than Manning had last year.
With the great defender Bill Belichick calling the shots, the Patriots seem to change their game plan every week. They may run the ball 40 or 50 times, they may pass the ball 40 or 50 times depending on the matchups. And while this Patriots offensive line isn’t the best in the NFL, they are certainly better than Denver’s last year.
Expect the Patriots to use more 2 and 3 tight end formations, providing more protection and bigger targets for Brady. They will run one and two receiver routes, putting seven or eight people in front of Brady, if needed. So, I think you will see a much more patient and balanced offense.
Again, I think it could go either way. Russell Wilson may have come back late in the Green Bay game, but the Packers opened the door. Wilson was horrible in the first three quarters. I’m going with the hot hand, and that hand is connected to Tom Brady’s arm: Patriots 31-Seahawks 20