The countdown to Super Bowl XLIX continues: there are only two days left until the biggest day of the NFL season arrives. Yesterday, Bleeding Green Nation asked which team holds your rooting interest. Today, the BGN staff predicts the outcome of the big game itself. Let's get to the picks:
Brandon Lee Gowton
Explanation: Russell Wilson struggled mightily in the NFC Championship Game but the Seahawks quarterback is due for a bounce-back performance. There's often a lot of talk about how Wilson is carried by Seattle's great defense. While there's no denying that helps, it's not as if Wilson is a sub-par quarterback. He's actually really good, and he's the quarterback the Eagles should have drafted in 2012. Wilson promised the Eagles he would win them Super Bowls if they drafted him. Instead, Philadelphia passed over him three times and he's winning Super Bowls for the Seahawks. Meanwhile, Nick Foles is coming off a season where he led the NFL in turnovers before getting hurt.
Oh, and Marshawn Lynch is awesome too.
Super Bowl MVP: Russell Wilson
Explanation: (Mark didn't provide an explanation, but he did want me to note how his 31-17 Seahawks victory prediction for last year's Super Bowl was the closest to the actual result. Well done, you shameless bragger!)
Super Bowl MVP: Marshawn Lynch
Explanation: Last year I picked Denver over Seattle, thinking Denver's offense and Peyton Manning's cunning would prove too challenging to overcome. While Tom Brady may be a more worthy adversary, I'm not making the same mistake twice. Seattle's defense is just too good.
Super Bowl MVP: Marshawn Lynch. During the post-game cermemony, Dan Patrick will ask Lynch what this moment means to him. Lynch takes the mic, lowers it to his ass, farts. Crowd goes wild.
Explanation: Gronk. The Seahawks defense is tremendous, but it is vulnerable to tight ends, and of course the Patriots have the best in the league. Seattle's defense has also had trouble defending running backs in the passing game, and Shane Vereen has more receiving yards than rushing yards. The Seahawks also won't enjoy a massive coaching advantage like they had last year, and the Patriots aren't going to implode starting on the first play of the game.
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady, who then dents the Lombardi Trophy so that it appears deflated.
Explanation: The Patriots have battled a lot of media adversity as of late, but that's kind of why I think they will win. Oddly enough, karma doesn't seem to impact New England at all. I could see the Patriots window closing after this because their talent has definitely overachieved. With all that said, I think the Patriots offense can strategically find weaknesses in Seattle's defense and exploit them. Honestly, I have no real rationale, it's a just gut feeling.
Super Bowl MVP: Rob Gronkowski (he will have at least one touchdown and 70 receiving yards).
Explanation: I've gone back and forth on this all week (including on BGN Radio). But the more I think about it, the more I can't help but think the Pats will be able to turn their own skirting of the rules into the kind of "us against the world" performance that will be enough to topple the defending champs. Both teams' defenses have nearly identical playoff stats, and if Breaking Madden has taught me anything, it's not to count out Touchdown Tom, who gets his on Sunday.
Super Bowl MVP: Gronk, because Goodell will wag his finger at Brady by giving the award to whichever receiver has the best game.
Eagles hire of Ed Marynowitz draws high praise
People are high on the news Eagles vice president of player personnel.
Explanation: This all comes down to the Seahawks' defense; it's really good. The Packers game is obscuring what I see as a modest but real advantage for Seattle. Tom Brady is great, but that's not going to be enough to score more than a couple of touchdowns. On the other side, Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are going to cause a lot of headaches for a decent, but not elite, Patriots defense. Ball control and 3rd down conversions galore puts Seattle on top.
Super Bowl MVP: Lynch. He's likely to get the TD opportunities, and that goes a long way towards winning this award.
Explanation: First off... I sat down to write this prediction, checked Twitter for a moment and then proceeded to waste the next hour or so playing with this free agency simulator someone tweeted out. I think I figured out a way to keep Maclin & Graham while also signing Ndamukong Suh & Antonio Cromartie. It can be a little tedious and maddening, but then again so is Super Bowl pre-game coverage.
But onto the game, this one's tough right? Not to predict (the Patriots will win) but to stomach. It's like that movie Looper where (SPOILER ALERT) a young time traveler kills his older self. That's like Seahawks and Patriots. In a few years Russell Wilson will dump his pregnant SO for a supermodel and start doing commercials for a women's wear line trying to go after men. Just watch. They're the young Patriots.
You think Bill Belichick is a shady character who cheats to win? Meet Pete Carroll! Perhaps had Bill Belichick just quit and took a better job after he got caught cheating we'd all like him more. And hey, had the Patriots used more PEDs than any other team in NFL over the past 4 years instead of just deflating balls, we'd all be blissfully ignorant and look the other way. I despise both of these teams, but I've discovered a grudging respect for the way the Patriots just shrug it off now rather than cry about the media and how no one "believes" in them. Oh and the 12th Man™ (makes payment to Texas A&M)... Ugh.
So join me one and all in this year's rallying cry, "We all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions!"
MVP: Tom Brady
BGN Radio Super Bowl Predictions - Listen below:
Winner: Seahawks (4), Patriots (4)
Average Score: Seahawks (23.8), Patriots (21.6)
Super Bowl MVP: Beast Mode (3), GRONK (2), Tom Brady (2), Russell Wilson (1)
Now that you've heard our predictions, let's hear yours. Format is as follows:
Super Bowl MVP: