For the fourth consecutive year, your Fearless (and as usual, some might say feckless) Forecaster is back, with his prediction for the latest edition of the NFL’s Big Game, No. 49 in the series to be exact. After a losing pick last year in a blowout, your Forecaster might be excused if he didn’t come back; but he has a reputation (two wins against one loss) to uphold. So, without further ado, your winner of Big Game No. 49 is:
In the first repeat since the New England Patriots won back to back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005, the Seattle Seahawks.
If there is any surprise that the Seahawks‘ path to consecutive titles runs through New England, there shouldn’t be; the Pats have been one of the most consistent performers in the league under the guidance (legal or otherwise) of Bill Belichick. However, these self-same Patriots have become the corporate pick because of this success; indeed, most of the money being wagered on the game favors the Pats.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have been playing as underdog types for the last two seasons, wearing a chip on their collective shoulders and daring folks to knock it off — and for the most part, teams have not been able to. The Seahawks are also a team of big personalities — Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman being two of the biggest.
And it’s through Sherman that the Seahawks’ primary strength runs — that defensive unit, known as the “Legion of Boom” for its hard-hitting nature. Through the years, teams with great defensive units have had good success winning championships; which is why so many coaches will tell you that “defense wins championships.”
While the New England offense will make plays — Tom Brady is almost guaranteed to make some — the Seahawks’ offense has its own gunslinger in Russell Wilson, who can beat you with his arm or his legs; and when Lynch goes into “Beast Mode,” he is nearly unstoppable, capable of putting a team on his back (and not just showing up to avoid fines).
Las Vegas sports-book experts have the Seahawks and Patriots roughly even; though the statistics, both offensively and defensively, favor Seattle. Three Super Bowls ago, this was indeed the case as well, and the New York football Giants were indeed victorious. Defense wins championships, after all…and it’ll be Seattle in a close game (despite FiveThirtyEight’s prediction of a possibly bad game).
Now, as always, I must adjourn to the kitchen for that pot of chili.