As the spread for this year's game suggests (even at time of writing), picking the winner of Super Bowl XLIX is a tough task. One of the league's elite offenses against the elite defense...not terribly unlike last year's game between the Seahawks and Broncos.
Here's a few reasons why I think this year will not repeat last year's blowout, and why the Patriots will win convincingly.
Seattle's Defense vs Top 10 Quarterbacks
The Seahawks defense did not beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. An incredible series of events and a fake punt touchdown beat the Packers. This is not to marginalize their win, it was one of the greatest and improbable combacks ever.
So let's ignore last week, they won, but the Seahawks defense did not win that game. Incredibly, you need to go back to Week 3 of the NFL season for the last time that Seattle beat a Top 10 quarterback (using QB rating). They beat Peyton Manning in Week 3, lost to Tony Romo in Week 5, and didn't face another Top 10 quarterback for the rest of the season or their NFC Divisional game versus Cam Newton, who looked pretty good in that game.
The Seattle defense is good, they are big, fast, and swarm tackle better than almost any team in the league. They also have faced a long list of terrible quarterbacks this season. They never faced Carson Palmer of the Cardinals while he was healthy, Colin Kaepernick had a bad season, St Louis Rams had a carousel of quarterbacks, toss in the likes of Derek Carr and Alex Smith and their defense was hardly tested (until the Packers).
Conclusion: The Seahawks beat two Top 10 quarterbacks in the regular season. Their defense is not overrated, but their statistics and rankings are.
Lack of Quality in Seattle's Wide Receivers
Percy Harvin, the most athletic receiver on the Seahawks last season, is gone. New England's secondary is one of the best in the league, maybe not as good as Seattle, but it is the best secondary that Seattle will face this entire season.
I don't think the likes of Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse stand a chance. If Seattle gets behind and has to shy away from 'Beast Mode' and must rely on their passing game it could get ugly. They managed 203 yards passing against the Packers, which included an 87 yard drive in overtime.
Conclusion: The Patriots secondary is better than the Packers, the mediocre Seahawks receivers will struggle more in this game than any all season.
He's the most talented tight end in the NFL, and he's proven that there isn't a linebacker in the league that can cover him. Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor will have his hands full dealing with a healthy Gronk. People forget that Gronkowski has basically missed or been severely limited in New England's last 5 playoff games. He was limited in his last Super Bowl (XLVI) with an injured ankle, and in following seasons he dealt with a broken forearm and torn ACL.
Conclusion: If Seattle is successful in clamping down on Gronk, it'll open the field up for Brandon Lafell and Julian Edleman...but that's a big "If".
Patriots 27, Seahawks 17
Looking to do some analysis on the game, check out our matchup page for every statistic you need to know.