The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will meet in the 2015 Super Bowl, after wins on NFL Championship Weekend. Seattle is looking to become the first team in a decade to win back-to-back titles, while New England plays in their sixth Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm.
Seattle was an overwhelming favorite in the NFC Championship Game, but they barely got by the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks engineered one of the greatest comebacks in NFL playoff history, scoring 15 points in the final 2:09 of regulation, eventually winning in overtime.
Russell Wilson’s struggles highlighted the first three quarters of the contest. The quarterback, who entered the game with the best postseason passer rating of all time, threw a career-high four interceptions. He finished the game having completed 14 of 29 passes for 209 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
New England had a much easier time en route to the Super Bowl. The Patriots cruised past the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game, 45-7. Leading 17-7 at halftime, New England scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to clinch another AFC title.
Brady threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns, but New England’s defense might have been the most impressive part of their victory. The team held Andrew Luck to 12-of-33 passing for just 126 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. It was the quarterback’s worst game of the season, posting a 23.0 passer rating.
This year’s Super Bowl might be one of the most difficult to predict in the game’s 49-year history. One day after the Seahawks and Patriots advanced, the betting line is a pick’em at multiple Las Vegas casinos.
Before nearly losing to the Packers, the Seahawks had been the best team in the NFL. Seattle ended the 2014 regular season with six consecutive victories, all coming by at least 10 points, and they topped the Carolina Panthers by 14 points in the divisional round of the playoffs. The 22 points scored by Green Bay were the most Seattle allowed in a game since Week 11.
Led by the “Legion of Boom,” the Seahawks’ defense has been the most dominant unit in all of football. They surrendered the fewest total points in the regular season, and limited Aaron Rodgers, the likely MVP, to a 55.8 passer rating. Seattle’s red-zone defense kept them in Sunday’s game, forcing Green Bay to kick two field goals inside the 20-yard line.
The Patriots’ offense was one of the best in the regular season, ranking fourth with 29.3 points per game. The unit has been even better in the playoffs, totaling 80 points in two games. New England scored 35 points on the Baltimore Ravens, who ranked sixth in points allowed. In Week 12, the Patriots scored 34 points against the Detroit Lions, who trailed only Seattle in scoring defense, during the regular season.
Despite their success on the offensive end, New England might find it very difficult to score against Seattle. They’ve totaled 30 points or more in 10 of 18 games, but the Seahawks haven’t allowed more than 30 points in a single game.
Seattle’s defense has a few health concerns, heading into the Super Bowl. Cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas both suffered injuries in the NFC Championship Game, including a dislocated shoulder for Thomas. With two weeks to rest, both players stated that they will play in the Super Bowl.
If their defense is at full strength, the Seahawks might have a slight edge over the Patriots. If the unit can limit New England, Wilson should be able to do enough to help give Seattle the win.
The Seahawks beat the Packers, even though their quarterback had the worst game of his career, and Wilson will almost certainly play much better in the Super Bowl. His four interceptions against Green Bay were more than half the number of picks he threw in the previous 17 games.
Prediction: Seattle over New England