The New England Patriots are set to do battle with the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. The 2015 edition will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. These have been the two best teams in the league all season with both earning No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. It is the second straight year that two No. 1 seeds will be squaring off in the Super Bowl.
Unlike last year’s Super Bowl, which was played in New Jersey, weather will not be a concern. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 EST Sunday night with NBC providing the television coverage. If you are looking to place a wager on this game, you’ll find New England listed as a 1.5-point favorite over Seattle with a total set of 48 points.
Why New England Covers
New England (14-4) actually got off to a slow start this season at 2-2. However, it has had the foot on the gas ever since, going 12-2 in its last 14 games overall. One of those two losses came against Buffalo in a meaningless Week 17 game, while the other came at Green Bay, which didn’t lose at home all season.
The Patriots certainly look sharp off of one of the biggest blowouts in playoff history. They throttled the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. They outgained the Colts 397-209 in an absolutely dominant effort. Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes, while LeGarrette Blount rushed for 148 yards and three scores in the win.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, needed overtime to beat the Packers in the NFC Championship. They proved extremely vulnerable in that game as they trailed 16-0 at halftime, and 19-7 with just over two minutes remaining. Their prayer was answered though as an onside kick fell into their hands, which is what it took for them to even make this game.
Tom Brady is playing some of the best football of his career, and a big part of that is because he has arguably the best weapon in the NFL at his disposal. Rob Gronkowki is easily the best tight end in the game. He has caught a combined 14 touchdown passes form Brady this year, including playoffs, and he is an absolute matchup nightmare. He is the one guy that the Seahawks will not be able to account for, and he could be the difference in this game. It’s also worth nothing that safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman are far from 100% coming into the Super Bowl.
New England is 10-1 ATS versus excellent offensive teams that average at least 375 yards per game over the last three seasons. The Patriots are 26-9 ATS in their last 35 games after gaining 175 or more rushing yards in their last game. New England is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games vs. a team with a winning record. Bill Belichick is 26-12 ATS versus good defensive team that allow 285 or fewer yards per game as the coach of the Patriots.
Why Seattle Covers
Seattle (14-4) also got off to a shaky 3-3 start this season. It kicked it into high gear thereafter, going 11-1 in its final 12 games to reach the Super Bowl. It has been really impressive down the stretch, going 8-0 SU & 7-1 ATS in its last eight games overall with seven of those victories coming by double-digits.
The Seahawks have been an absolute cash cow at the pay window because of how they have been blowing out the opposition. They have won their last eight games by an average of 14.4 points per game. They have held seven of their last eight opponents to 17 points or fewer, including five of those to a touchdown or less. Four of the eight opponents didn’t even score a touchdown against Seattle.
As you may know, the Seahawks have the league’s top-ranked defense in scoring (16.3 points/game) and total (274.4 yards/game) defense. However, they also put up solid numbers on offense at 25.2 points and 375.4 yards per game. So, they are outgaining their opponents by an average of 101.0 yards per game, which is far and away the best mark in the league.
Looking at statistics alone, there’s no question that the Seahawks are the superior team. The Patriots are only outgaining their opponents by an average of 29.0 yards per game. They are averaging 370.3 yards per game and giving up 341.3 yards per game. While both numbers are solid, they are nothing compared to what the Seahawks have done this year statistically, especially here of late.
New England has to be feeling a little guilty about its use of 11 deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game. These Patriots players may already know that if they win the Super Bowl, it will be tainted to a degree. That’s a sick feeling coming into the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Seahawks must feel like they cannot lose after what they did to come back and beat Green Bay in the NFC Championship. From a mental perspective, the Seahawks could have an edge there as well.
Seattle is 10-1 ATS as an underdog over the last three seasons. The Seahawks are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 vs. a team with a winning record. Seattle is 34-16-1 ATS in its last 51 games overall. New England is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 playoff games. The Patriots are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games on grass. New England is 0-4 ATS in its last four Super Bowl appearances.