Pats-Hawks Super Bowl Preview

February 1, 2015

It all comes down to Super Bowl Sunday, when the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will meet in Super Bowl XLIX (6:30 PM ET, NBC) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.

This year's contest is expected to be one of the highest-rated ever, as it pits two powerhouse teams in an essentially pick 'em game.

New England advanced to the Super Bowl by defeating Indianapolis 45-7. Seattle defeated Green Bay 28-22 in overtime to earn its second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl. The AFC and NFC Championship Games averaged 46.1 million viewers, topping the 45 million mark for the second consecutive year. The NFC Championship Game between Seattle and Green Bay averaged 49.8 million viewers – the most-watched program since Super Bowl XLVIII – and the AFC Championship Game between New England and Indianapolis averaged 42.1 million viewers.

Both the Patriots and Seahawks were the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences and were the top two teams in the NFL in point differential during the regular season - New England (+155) and Seattle (+140).

Further, each squad features no less than seven players who were selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Patriots selections were quarterback Tom Brady (10th), wide receiver Julian Edelman (first), kicker Stephen Gotkowski (third), tight end Rob Gronkowski (third), safety McCourty (second), cornerback Darrelle Revis (sixth) and special teamer Matthew Slater (fourth). [3 offense, 2 special teams, and 2 defense)

The Seahawks selections were Kam Chancellor (third), running back Marshawn Lynch (fifth), tackle Russell Okung (second), cornerback Richard Sherman (second), safety Earl Thomas (fourth), linebacker Bobby Wagner (first) and quarterback Russell Wilson (third). [3 offense, 4 defense]

Lynch rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown in the win over Green Bay and his 815 career postseason rushing yards are the most by a Seahawk. Since 2011, Lynch’s 6,039 rushing yards and 55 rushing touchdowns are both the most in the NFL (including the playoffs).

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin had 106 receiving yards in the NFC Championship Game, his fourth playoff game in a row with either 100+ receiving yards or a touchdown catch. Fellow wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has now caught a touchdown pass in four consecutive postseason games.

Defensively, cornerback Richard Sherman has an interception in both playoff games this season and his 26 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2011 are the most in the league (including the postseason). Safety Kam Chancellor has an interception in three of his past four playoff games, including a 90-yard interception-return touchdown in the Divisional Playoff victory over Carolina, the longest touchdown in Seattle postseason history.

Seattle has won five consecutive playoff games and head coach Pete Carroll is 7-2 (.778) in the postseason with the Seahawks. Carroll, who guided the Patriots to two playoff berths (1997-98) in his three seasons in New England (1997-99), has led Seattle to the postseason in four of the past five years (2010, 2012-14).

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for the club to be able to get a chance to go back to the Super Bowl,” says Carroll. “It’s extraordinarily fun for us and I hope for everybody else, too. We’re going to do everything we can to go get it done.”

Wilson will be the youngest quarterback (26 years, 64 days) to start two Super Bowls and also the first QB to start two Super Bowls in his first three NFL seasons to begin a career. His 36 regular-season wins, six playoff victories and 42 overall wins are all the most by a starting quarterback in his first three NFL seasons to start a career.

“Russell and Tom Brady are both great winners,” says Carroll about the two starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLIX. “Tom has had a long time to prove that. Russell is at the early stages of proving that to the world. But he’s got a chance to be similar.”

In the AFC Championship game, Blount rushed for 148 yards with three touchdowns and Brady threw three touchdown passes to extend his career postseason total to 49, the most in NFL history. This postseason, five different Patriots have caught at least one touchdown pass: wide receiver Danny Amendola (two), tight end Rob Gronkowski (two), fullback James Develin (one), wide receiver Brandon La Fell (one) and tackle Nate Solder (one).

Defensively, linebacker Jamie Collins and cornerback Darrelle Revis each had an interception in the AFC Championship Game. During the regular season, Collins and Revis were tied for the team lead in interceptions (two) with safety Devin McCourty and cornerback Logan Ryan.

New England head coach Bill Belichek and Brady will make their sixth Super Bowl appearance, the most by any head coach-quarterback tandem in NFL history. Belichick and Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula (six) are the only head coaches in NFL history to lead their teams to six Super Bowls. Brady will start his sixth Super Bowl, the most ever by a quarterback, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (five).

Belichick’s 21 postseason victories are the most by a head coach in NFL history. Brady has won 20 career playoff games, the most ever by a starting quarterback.

“You have to have a good team,” says Belichick. “There are all the components of it. One guy can’t win in this league. All one guy can do is do his job. Tom does his job as well as anybody. I’m so thankful that he’s our quarterback. There’s nobody I would rather have. He does everything well. And with a lot of other people doing their jobs, well, then you have a good team.”

New England averaged 29.3 points per game in the regular season, the fourth-best mark in the NFL. The Patriots will face a Seattle defense that led the league in points allowed (15.9 per game), total defense (267.1 yards per game) and pass defense (185.6 yards per game). The Seahawks have led the NFL in points allowed in each of the past three regular seasons.

The Patriots and Seahawks have met 16 times with the series being split 8-8. This will mark the first postseason meeting ever between the two clubs. The two teams last met during the 2012 season (October 14) in a game won by the Seahawks 24-23 in Seattle. In that contest, then-rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the Seahawks erased a 13-point deficit.


C Bryan Stork (knee)

LB Akeem Ayers (knee), QB Tom Brady (ankle), LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), CB Darrelle Revis (not injury related), DT Sealver Siliga (foot)
Practice Report

T Justin Britt (knee), S Kam Chancellor (knee), RB Marshawn Lynch (back), CB Richard Sherman (elbow), G J.R. Sweezy (ankle), S Earl Thomas (shoulder)
Practice Report

By Staff of

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