Super Bowl XLIX Preview


Bailey Ethier, Editor-in-Chief

Preface: This is a deflate gate free zone.

In 2013, I predicted a 20-14 Super Bowl XLVII win for the Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers.

In 2014, I predicted a 27-23 Super Bowl XLVIII win for the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos.

And while the final score of Super Bowl XLVII was 34-31, not 20-14, and the final score of Super Bowl XLVIII was 43-8, not 27-23 (I wrote in my prediction of the game “Seattle will by no means blow out the Broncos”), the important thing is that I’ve gotten the winners correct.

This year I’m going for a three-peat with my final Super Bowl prediction for Inklings.

In Super Bowl XLIX, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady faces a formidable opponent in Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” (LOB) led by cornerback Richard Sherman.

But even if Sherman, who traditionally covers only the left side of the field, is able to shut down Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (with the said, expect Edelman to line up on the right side of the field for much of the game) and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas contain tight end Rob Gronkowski (Chancellor and Thomas won’t), Brady will still be able to get the job done throwing to wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola and running back Shane Vereen.

While Brady faces a big challenge going up against the LOB, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson faces an even bigger one.

While the Patriots secondary doesn’t have a cool nickname, nor appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, during the regular season opposing QB’s had a higher completion percentage (61.7) against Seattle than against New England (59.6) and New England recorded more interceptions (16) than Seattle (13), according to ESPN.

First-team All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis should matchup with, and shut down, Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Opposite of Revis Island is Brandon Browner, a former member of the LOB, who’s no slouch himself. Toss in stud safety Devin McCourty and linebacker Jamie Collins, who is absolutely fantastic in pass coverage, and expect to see similar quarterback play from Wilson who threw four interceptions against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.

In terms of the game on the group, Marshawn Lynch and LeGarrette Blount are of the same mold – running backs who are impossible to take down. While “Beast Mode” is a better back than “Blount Force Trauma,” both teams know what they’re up against. And while Lynch may receive more caries on the ground, I expect both to have similar yards per carry.

Blount gained 148 yards on the ground against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game (after gaining one yard against the Ravens in the divisional round) with starting center Bryan Stork out (Stork is listed as probable for the Super Bowl).

What does that mean for Blount? Absolutely nothing. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (the greatest head coach in NFL history) changes up his game plan every week.

And the game plan Belichick ultimately decides on will be enough to give the Patriots a 30-17 win with Brady taking home MVP honors.