Not a good matchup for the Patriots. The Seahawks get a good pass rush with four players and can drop seven into coverage, allowing the “Legion of Boom” secondary to work its magic. Receiver
Patriots run offense vs. Seahawks run defense
The Patriots will try to ground and pound with back
Seahawks pass offense vs. Patriots pass defense
Just like the Patriots, the Seahawks use their running game to set up the play-action passing. That means running between the tackles with
Bill Belichick got his start as a special teams coach with the
This one is splitting hairs, because Belichick will wind up in the Hall of Fame, and
FARMER'S PICK >>>
The Seahawks should be able to run on New England, and if they can get about 200 yards passing and maybe a couple of touchdowns — and no turnovers — from Wilson, they'll be in good shape. Watch for them to go after Browner because they know his weaknesses. If Browner gets his hands on receivers at the line of scrimmage, he can reroute them, but he's vulnerable on comebacks and double moves. Brady is so good, and he's going to get his yards underneath. The Seahawks are focused on not giving up the big play or letting anyone get behind their defense. New England will nickel-and-dime with its passing game, and the key for Seattle is to make sure those drives end in field goals, not touchdowns.
SEAHAWKS 28, PATRIOTS 23
Patriots you should know
A second-year standout, Collins is a versatile linchpin to New England's defense. He's 6 feet 3 and is fast enough to cover running backs out of the backfield. When the Patriots do blitz, it's often Collins they'll send.
Browner played for Seattle last season but missed the Super Bowl while serving a suspension for violating the banned substances policy. He’s strong , can rough up receivers, and is a sure-tackling bookend to fellow corner
A former No. 2 receiver in Carolina, the 6-3, 210-pound LaFell is a big target. He finished the regular season with 74 catches and seven touchdowns, both career highs. He and Rob Gronkowski are New England's biggest receiving threats.
Patriots who must come through
"Gronk" is the NFL's most dangerous tight end, one whose size (6-6, 265) and strength make him a nightmare to cover. When he and Brady get on track, the Patriots tend to pull away from teams.
Revis has rediscovered his excellence in New England, and made first team All-Pro. Quarterbacks are wary about throwing his way, and he can make big plays when they test him. Is he the best corner in the game, or is it Seattle's Richard Sherman?
Seahawks you should know
The Seahawks look to Avril to bring pressure off the edge. He only had five sacks during the regular season, but had a team-high 20 quarterback hits, and picked up a sack in each of the postseason games.
Willson, who grew up in Ontario, Canada, is a de facto receiver who has the speed to make explosive plays, among them an 80-yard touchdown against Arizona in Week 16. He's dropped a handful of catchable balls, too.
Kearse scored the deciding touchdown in the NFC Championship game after four passes thrown his way were intercepted. He tends to come up big in the biggest games. With Russell Wilson looking his way, Kearse will make some plays in this one.
Seahawks who must come through
Wilson had a career-high four interceptions in the NFC Championship game but came through at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime. He needs to bounce back strong, and make some plays with his feet.
As "Beast Mode" goes, so go the Seahawks. He came alive in the second half against Green Bay, and needs to keep that momentum rolling. His running sets up the play-action passing game.
One of the best middle linebackers in the game, Wagner made All-Pro even though he missed five games because of a toe injury. If defensive tackle Kevin Williams can keep blockers off him, Wagner will be free to make plays.
Facts and figures
Participants: New England Patriots (AFC) and Seattle Seahawks (NFC). It's the eighth appearance for the Patriots (3-4) and third for Seattle (1-1). Seattle will be the home team and wear blue. New England will wear white.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.; (71,228).
Kickoff: Today, 3:30 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV — By NBC-TV (Channel 4 in Los Angeles) to more than 200 stations throughout the United States; Radio — Westwood One Radio (570 in Los Angeles) to 600 stations within the United States. Armed Forces Television will also provide broadcast to 175 countries throughout the world. (Pregame begins at 10 a.m. on Channel 4).
Player earnings: Winners: $97,000 per man. Losers: $49,000.
Overtime rules: Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regular game and a coin toss to decide which team receives the ball first, play will continue by 15-minute periods. The teams will change goals between each period; there will be a two-minute warning. If the team that receives the kickoff scores a touchdown, it wins. If the team scores a field goal, the other team gets an opportunity to score or it loses. If that team scores a touchdown, it wins. If the score is tied after both teams have a possession, the next score wins.