More than one-hundred million people will be tuning into Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday. Many of them will be Patriots and Seahawks fans. But, many more will not be. They’ll be watching these two teams for the first time this year. Fear not! You can still sound smart at your Super Bowl parties and on social media with this guide.
We went to the Sports Director at WPRI in Providence, Rhode Island, Yianni Kourakis, who covers the Patriots year in and year out. We asked Kourakis for his guide to the game. What should we watch for to figure out who will come out on top on Sunday.
Game expected to be close:
Both the Patriots and Seahawks are number one seeds with relatively healthy rosters. A budding dynasty (the Seahawks) against a long-standing dynasty (the Patriots).
Can the Patriot’s stop Seattle’s running game?
– The Seahawks were the best rushing team in the NFL this year. It certainly helps when you have a pro-bowl running back in Marshawn Lynch, and a quarterback who isn’t afraid to leave the pocket and run for first downs.
– If the Patriots can contain “Beast Mode,” the running back, the Seahawks lose the flexibility in their offense. New England may try to stop the running game and force Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback, to beat the Patriots secondary.
– The Patriots have confidence in their ability to stop the passing game with good cornerbacks paired up with Seattle’s wide receivers. The Patriots may try to force Seattle to throw.
– Bill Belichick, New England’s coach, likes to take away the other team’s best option, and in this case, it’s running back Marshawn Lynch.
Does the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski make a difference?
– Rob Gronkowski is the Patriots’ tight end. He’s made a big difference in getting New England to the Super Bowl.
– “Gronk” as he’s known has a way to get open in the middle of the field.
– If the Patriots are able to run the ball, and force Seattle to cover the running game, Gronk has a better chance of getting open and making big plays.
– If Seattle decides to cover Gronkowski with two guys, you’ll want to watch to see if Tom Brady, Patriots’ quarterback, is able to get the ball to a few others like Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola.
– When New England is within striking distance of the end zone, Brady likes to throw to Gronkowski. Keep an eye out for Seattle to bring a physical approach to Gronkowski. Keep an eye on these two factors. They’ll make a big difference in determining who wins on Sunday and in making you sound smart at your Super Bowl party.