Super Bowl XLIX set to entertain amid controversy

The+New+England+Patriots+and+the+Seattle+Seahawks+will+meet+in+the+year%27s+biggest+contest+on+Feb.+1+at+5%3A30+p.m.

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The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will meet in the year's biggest contest on Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m.

Scott Lenz, Sports Editor

With accusations swirling about the Patriots deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game, it’s important to remember there’s more to Super Bowl XLIX than a few lost pounds per square inch of air. Sunday, Feb. 1 marks New England quarterback Tom Brady’s sixth trip to the Super Bowl, a feat that no other gunslinger has ever accomplished. The Seahawks are looking to become the first team since the Patriots in 2004 and 2005 to win consecutive NFL Championships. This matchup between Seattle and New England traverses the continental United States, but will culminate in Glendale, Arizona and should be a contest to remember.

The case for the Seattle Seahawks:

Although Seattle was minutes away from falling at the hands of Green Bay Packers in the NFC Title game, they present a tough obstacle for the Patriots to surmount. The Seahawks defense, led by the  lock-down secondary often referred to as the Legion of Boom, allowed their opponents an average of just under six points per game in the final six weeks of the regular season. Led by safety Kam Chancellor and outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman, the Seattle defense matches up well with any Patriots receivers that line up outside the numbers. Though their recent play seems unhampered as they have allowed only 3.2 yards per rush throughout the regular season, Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are still both suffering from nagging upper body injuries, so look for the Patriots to test them early with sweeps to their side of the field. On the offensive side of the ball, third-year quarterback Russell Wilson heads a unit known for their rushing attack. Running back Marshawn Lynch may refuse to speak to the media, but his ability to run over defenders speaks for itself. He rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns against a stout Packers defense in the NFC Championship game and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry in the postseason. Wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are Wilson’s go-to targets and they stepped up at key points during the Seahawks comeback against the Packers. If Seattle’s rush defense holds and Marshawn Lynch gets going early, expect a close contest.

The case for the New England Patriots:

After a convincing 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Title game, the Patriots are looking to continue that success against Seattle. Returning to the same stadium where they lost their last Super Bowl appearance against the New York Giants in 2008, New England wants to put an exclamation point on the dynasty that head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have built, winning three NFL Championships thus far. The versatile Patriots rushing game is headed by LeGarrette Blount, who ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts in the AFC Championship game. Although wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola don’t match up well with the Seattle cornerbacks on paper, the Patriots should find success in the middle of the field through wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski.When lined up against a linebacker in the slot, Edelman is Tom Brady’s go to on third down with 22 receptions throughout the regular season. Gronkowski provides a way to stretch field and led the NFL in receiving yards for a tight end and averaged 13.7 yards per catch. On the other side of the ball, veteran lineman Vince Wilfork heads their run defense, while cornerbacks Brandon Browner, who played for Seattle last season, and Darrelle Revis are two quick shut-down corners.

My pick:

Tom Brady’s big game experience leads New England past Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, preventing Seattle from replicating the back to back titles of the 2004 and 2005 Patriots teams. New England will cement their legacy as one of the best teams in recent memory as their overall talent on both offense and defense are too much for Seattle to handle. Patriots 27-20.