Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs drills during a team practice for Super Bowl XLIX. — AP Photo/Matt York

After all the “Deflate-gate” talk concerning footballs and Marshawn Lynch interviews, it’s time to play the game. And that would be Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on NBC-TV (Channel 10) at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s Super Bowl winner should be the same as last year’s winner. That would be the Seattle Seahawks. It should be a lot closer than last year’s blowout where Seattle crushed the Denver Broncos, 43-8.

This contest should come down to the final minutes. The Seahawks and Patriots are certainly the two best teams in the NFL. However, Seattle looks like the team that’s built to handle head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots’ high-powered offense.

Seattle has the best and most active defense in the league. Don’t worry about statistics against the pass and run. That doesn’t tell the story with the Seahawks’ defense. It’s the team’s ability to shutdown the run with its quickness and tackling ability. Seattle has the best tacklers in the NFL. They really know how to swarm to the football. The team isn’t fooled by players going in motion or different formations. They’re not going to let the Patriots beat them with big plays.

Defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Bruce Irvin will keep pressure on Brady. He won’t be able to throw the ball down the field very easily. The Patriots big advantage is Gronkowski because of his size. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 265 pounds. He’s a handful for any team, but Seattle has some talented linebackers with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Look for them to take the middle of the field away from Gronkowski where he makes most of his receptions.

The secondary is excellent at covering the receivers. The “Legion of Boom” has some great defenders in cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor.

On offense, Seattle has Russell Wilson, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Actually, Wilson is a lot better than people think. He can throw the ball under pressure. He can throw down the field. He knows how to take off out of the pocket and make plays. Wilson is a huge problem for the Patriots.

He doesn’t have any big-name receivers. But that doesn’t matter. Wilson has some receivers who know how to get open and catch the ball. Wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and tight end Luke Wilson have been solid pass catchers. Another receiver to watch is Ricardo Lockett, who has been coming up with a lot of big catches.

Wilson will keep the chains moving with help from the passing attack and the running game. Lynch is the Seahawks’ bruising runner. He can run inside and outside and was terrific in the NFC championship game victory over the Green Bay Packers.

If Seattle can get an early lead, it may put the ball in Lynch’s hands behind the Seahawks offensive line. Seattle is solid in just every area. That’s why the Seahawks should stand in the winner’s circle again.


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