Yesterday’s post was a little grim, huh? Made things seem a little hopeless? Well, it’s not ENTIRELY doom and gloom. My first big prediction for this game is that it’s going to be close. The Patriots aren’t going to blow us out, because we don’t GET blown out. Same thing in reverse. We won’t blow them out because they don’t get blown out in Super Bowls. You’re not going to give that team two weeks to prepare and watch them lay the kind of egg Denver laid last year. So, gird your loins for an up and down battle, and a hot finish in the end. It will come down to the final possession, and it’s just a matter of catching a break here and there to see us come out on top.
New England has two pretty big things in their favor, in that I don’t think the Seahawks are going to be particularly effective in the pass rushing department, and I don’t think we’re going to be able to throw the ball well on them. That in and of itself leads me to believe we could be playing from behind when we dig down into the second half. We don’t want that. It’s not something entirely alien to this team, but still, it’s never ideal.
Like I said, the Pats have a couple big advantages, but the Seahawks have a lot of smaller advantages that could possibly add up to enough to push us over the edge.
For starters, you can almost chisel it in stone: Russell Wilson won’t be NEARLY as terrible as he was against Green Bay. The weather alone is enough to ensure that, but more importantly, Wilson hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to take care of the football. I think as a whole, our team is better than theirs at protecting the rock. In this game, a turnover here or there could make all the difference.
As I alluded to before, I think we have an advantage in the passing game when it concerns their linebackers in coverage. Maybe that means Luke Willson on a seam route. Maybe that means Marshawn Lynch on a wheel route. Maybe it’s even Moeaki on a drag route. SOMETHING.
Sticking with the passing game, I think they can be beaten deep. I don’t really trust their safeties. If we can work over their corners a play here and a play there on a double- move or something, I think it could be effective. I’m not saying we’ll be chucking bombs all day long. But, here and there, maybe two or three deep throws. Darrelle Revis ISN’T perfect.
I also don’t necessarily see penalties being a problem. Aside from the usual false starts and/or offsides we get every single game. But, I’m talking more in the pass defense realm. I could easily see their DBs get called for more flags than our DBs.
Obviously, the Seahawks have a GREAT advantage in the secondary, as we do every single game. Importantly in this one is the Patriots really DON’T have an elite wide receiver. There’s no T.Y. Hilton or Demaryius Thomas to worry about. Edelman is about as good as it gets, but he’s just a shifty slot guy who I think we’ll be able to contain just fine.
We’ve also got elite linebackers in coverage. Gronk will get his, but I sincerely doubt he goes off for a huge day. Maybe a backup tight end or fullback or something will catch a pass here or there, but they’re not going to do serious damage. If we execute the way we’re supposed to execute, we should be just fine holding down their passing attack, even without a pass rush.
Don’t discount the fact that we’ve had two weeks off. I know they’ve had the same two weeks, but I think it helps us more. We’ve got some DOGS on this team. Our speed and athleticism is unrivaled in the NFL. Especially on defense. Giving this team two weeks to rest up and heal will put a bounce in our steps like it does every time we’re coming off of a BYE week. It’s the one thing that gives me hope with our pass rush. We looked pretty good against Carolina, even though we didn’t crush Cam Newton like I’d hoped. Part of that is simply Cam’s ability to elude. Tom Brady doesn’t really have that ability, not how Cam does. I could see Bennett being a dominating force and really make a name for himself, as long as the rest of our linemen are doing their jobs.
I don’t consider New England’s running game much of a threat. If they do somehow find a way to gash us on the reg, I think we’re proper fucked. But, I doubt it’ll be an issue. Like I’ve said before, I don’t see them completely abandoning the run like they did in the second half of that Baltimore game, but I also don’t see them getting anywhere NEAR the type of production they got against the Colts.
All of those things may or may not be enough to add up to a Seahawks victory, but I’ll tell you something you already know: this game hinges ENTIRELY on how well the Seahawks are able to run.
The Patriots at times have struggled against the run, but at times they’ve also been pretty good. Obviously, they’ve got Vince Wilfork who’s about as close to an every-down defensive tackle as it gets in the NFL. He’s a future hall of famer and he could pose a huge problem with our relatively undersized defensive line. Likewise, they’ve got ex-Seahawk Sealver Siliga, who’s not the greatest, but he’s another big widebody they use to clog running lanes. If they opt to go jumbo and sell out against the run, it could be a long day.
But, even with those guys, it’s not impossible. The Ravens had a field day running the ball three weeks ago against them. The Ravens run a similar style of zone blocking scheme as we do. Obviously, we’ve got probably the best running back in football. We are who we are and just because they’ve got some big dudes on defense, it isn’t going to stop us from enforcing our will.
My biggest fear out of all of this is: I just don’t want to read about Tom Brady being the “Greatest Quarterback of All Time” because he won his fourth Super Bowl. Can we NOT be the ones that “settles” that discussion? I don’t want to go to ESPN.com and have that story shoved in my face for the next
nine months rest of my life.
The Patriots can be beaten. And we’re the team to do it. Because, even though we’re not as good as we were last year, we’re still the best team in the NFL. We just need to go out, play a relatively clean game, and make the plays when they’re presented to us.
It’s been said quite a bit that the Top Defense always beats the Top Offense. This is our chance to prove it once and for all. To have beaten Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back-to-back years would be a feat no defense has EVER accomplished. If we want to be considered among the all-time greats, this has to be done. Now. Not next year. Not later on in the twilight of Brady’s career. Right now. Right when he’s still sort of in his prime and it can be considered a monumental achievement to beat the best at his best.
Everything that there’s to say has been said. I’ve got Seahawks 26, Patriots 23. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go throw up for two straight days.