The Seattle Seahawks will look to win their second Lombardi Trophy in as many years Sunday evening in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots and below are five things that I feel they must accomplish in the game in order for that to happen.
Take Brady Out Of His Comfort Zone – Much like the Seahawks did last year in the Super Bowl against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, they must make Patriots quarterback Tom Brady very uncomfortable in the pocket in this game. It starts by having their cornerbacks and safeties be physical with the Patriots eligibles off of the line of scrimmage. Brady likes a rhythmic passing game that relies on his receivers getting open quickly and interrupting that timing will cause him to hold on to the football and possibly move off of his spot. The Seahawks defense want to force Brady to beat them deep and by that I mean forcing throws more than 10 yards down the field. When the Patriots receivers do catch short passes underneath, the Seahawks big defensive backs must make each one of them pay a price for it. If the Patriots underneath passing game cant be contained, this game could get out of hand by the fourth quarter.
No Short Fields – The Seahawks managed to escape their NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers with a win even though they turned the football over five times. The Patriots are sure to do a better job in this game at providing maximum POOTOS than the Packers did two weeks ago, so the Seahawks would be wise not to turn the football over Sunday evening. In addition to that, keeping the field flipped with punter John Ryan is also a must for the Seahawks.
Second Level Beast Mode – Including the playoffs, the Seahawks are 21-1 when quarterback Russell Wilson attempts 24 or less passes in a game during his career. In order to ensure he doesn’t have to attempt 25 or more passes against the Patriots, the Seahawks offense has to get running back Marshawn Lynch on track early in the game. As previously mentioned in the last post, Lynch can do a lot of damage at the second level and he’ll have to do that Sunday in order for his team to win the game. The Patriots defense had problems during the regular season at stopping runs to the right of the center and that’s exactly where the Seahawks had most of their ground success in 2014.
Correctly Timed, Controlled Deep Shots – While the Seahawks aren’t likely going to want Wilson to win the game Sunday with his arm, the young quarterback has completed 45.6% of his deep pass attempts this season and that includes their two playoff games. Seven of Wilson’s 12 interceptions this season have come via deep pass attempts, however, so he has to make sure he’s on target when attacking the Patriots secondary Sunday. Seahawks wide receivers Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin are responsible for catching 28 of the 47 deep passes completed this season and one of those two will be blanketed Sunday by Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, who I wouldn’t advise throwing at much. Baldwin has registered 18 of the Seahawks 64 explosive passing plays so far this season and I fully expect he’ll see a lot of Revis in this game.
Wilson Has To Connect Some With Willson – The Patriots will likely blanket the Seahawks wide receivers with a lot of man-coverage in this game so tight end Luke Willson might benefit from that by having space in the middle of the field. While Willson only caught 22 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season, he’s caught six for 79 yards and a touchdown so far during the post season. The Patriots defense allowed tight ends to catch 80 passes for 1,006 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season and that still seems to be a weakness of theirs so far in the playoffs.