Super Bowl Rematch: Seahawks Look For Revenge on Pats


Remember this iconic play?  The play that decided Super Bowl XLIX for the Pats?  That was the last time Russell Wilson threw a pass against the Patriots.  Almost two years later, this match-up serves two purposes.  It serves as a tough game, that could decide some playoff fate and preview at a potential Super Bowl for this year.  It also serves as a shot at revenge for the Seahawks.  The Seahawks offense now has Jimmy Graham, who is on a hot streak, but they lost Marshawn Lynch, and are without Thomas Rawls, the supposed replacement for Lynch.  Their defense is still strong as ever.  Meanwhile, the Pats lost Brandon LaFell, Shane Vereen, Jerod Mayo, Darrelle Revis,  Brandon Browner, Jamie Collins and Stevan Ridley and Scott Chandler, who weren’t in the Super Bowl.  But in return they added Dion Lewis, Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett, along with Chris Long, Shea McClellin, Barkevious Mingo and Cyrus Jones on defense.  Will the Seahawks get their revenge, or will the Pats keep the glory they’ve had since Brady’s return, and continue on their road to the playoffs?  You’re about to find out what I think?  

Playoff Scenarios

Both teams would just come a game closer to a playoff berth.  
My Keys to the Game

Patriots 

  1. The Pats need to overcome the Seahawks defense, and find a way to put up some points.  For one thing, Tom Brady needs to stay out of pressure.  The defense can’t do everything for the Pats.  In order to win, they must at least dent the great Seattle defense
  2. Meanwhile, the Pats need to stop the run, and prevent big plays for the Seahawks offense.  The running game is not in a good position right now for Seattle, but the Pats defense can struggle against the rush.  They also need to prevent players like Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham from making huge plays.  The defense is good, even in the turnover battle, but they cannot let their guard down and let big plays go by.  That could cost them TDs
  3. The Pats need to find their own run game.  I know Brady likes to pass.  But he’s facing Richard Sherman.  But late in the game, in the end zone, you can’t make the same mistake the Seahawks did in the Super Bowl.  The issue is, whether it’s Blount, White or Dion Lewis they need a running back to step up to the plate to prevent that
  4. Don’t make stupid illegal decisions, and don’t mess with the refs.  

Seahawks

  1. The Seahawks need to make the big plays on offense.  They can’t let the Patriots’ goals get to them.  They can’t just rely on Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, either.  They need to find their run game.  With that, they should be able to make the big plays more easily.
  2. They need to find a way to make up completely for the loss of Thomas Rawls.  Christine Michael needs to continue to step up, even against the Pats defense.  C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins need to have increased roles too.  Prosise has started to get some work, but hasn’t gotten much yet.  Collins has barely gotten any work.
  3. The Seahawks defense is strong, but it’s hard for anyone to keep up with Gronk and Martellus Bennett.  They need to keep them under control, and that’s a challenge regardless of the level of the defense.  

Burning Questions
1. Will the Seahawks look weaker on offense?

It’s hard for the Seahawks to do well against the Pats defense without Thomas Rawls and the now retired Marshawn Lynch.  They also need to make smart coaching decisions, because it’s always a challenge playing the Patriots.  It’s like a puzzle to be solved. 

2. Which Pats running back will step up?

Dion Lewis has been ruled out, so I say Blount, who clearly fits well with the Pats, will continue to get the main running workload.  The unanswered question is, will they use him to their advantage?  

3. Will Gronk, Bennett and the Pats offense mess with Seattle’s D?

I actually think so.  The fact that they’ll struggle to score early should motivate them to go wild later.  Gronk and Bennett will be a big part.  So, the answer is definitely yes here.  I think this will be a big factor in who wins.
What Do the Stats say? 

Brady works best on deep balls.  He has one of the best results in the league on deep passes.  However, they aren’t good against NFC teams typically.  They also have problems stopping the run.  They haven’t given up any big games, but they have given up 4.1 years per carry.  That hurts.  Meanwhile, the Seahawks have a defensive advantage.  Brady has no TDs and 1 pick against Richard Sherman. Cliff Avril also has 9 sacks and 16 QB hits.  But their offense could cost them.  They have the worst run game in 40 years of Seahawks history.  They need to up their run game.  The Pats however, haven’t had a pick all year, 4 of their games were Brady-less.  This is a close one, but the stats point to the Pats.  
Bold Prediction of the Game

The Seahawks will continue to struggle in the running game.  The Pats will allow just 30 rushing yards in the game.  
The Pick

Patriots, 32, Seahawks, 26

The Pats will be motivated to take advantage of the Seahawks defense after they get tired.  Tom Brady should win it late in the game, and take the win.  The Seahawks defense is good, but I don’t know if they can handle the Pats offense. Meanwhile, the Seahawks offense is lacking weapons, and the Pats defense should take advantage of that and win. 

Inactives

Pats

Woodrow Hamilton DE

Dion Lewis RB

LaAdrian Waddle T

Kyle Van Noy LB

D.J. Foster FB

Eric Rowe S

Matt Lengel TE
Seahawks

Michael Bennett DE

Tanner McEvoy WR

Thomas Rawls RB

Luke Willson TE

Rees Odhiambo G

Tyvis Powell FS

Bradley Sowell T
Hope you enjoy the game.  Comment your thoughts and I may have a recap tomorrow.  

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