The final game day of the 2014 NFL season is almost upon us, with Super Bowl XLIX kicking off this Sunday. The top two teams from both conferences, the Seattle Seahawks representing the NFC and the New England Patriots from the AFC, will face off in a contest full of storylines off the field and plenty of superstars on the field.
Both teams are coming into this game trying to make history. The Seahawks are looking to be the first back-to-back champions since the Patriots accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004, which would make Seattle just the ninth team in league history to repeat. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson will become the youngest quarterback to start two Super Bowls when the game starts. By the end, he could be the youngest to win two.
The Patriots are looking to win their first Super Bowl since that 2004 championship. New England quarterback Tom Brady will become the first quarterback to start six Super Bowls and he could join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four championship rings. Coach Bill Belichick would also be picking up his fourth ring, joining former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll as the only coaches to reach that mark.
Off the field, of course, there are plenty of storylines everyone is following. DeflateGate has died down a little as the game gets closer, but it definitely has had more staying power than some expected. Richard Sherman has essentially been on a warpath against the NFL this week, while Marshawn Lynch has been not talking to the media despite talking to the media - and so far has not grabbed himself during Super Bowl week.
When it comes to the game itself, the picks seem to be just as split as the stories. SB Nation recently put together a panel of analysts to predict the game. David Fucillo, SB Nation's fantasy guru; Danny Kelly, SB Nation NFL contributor; PFT Commenter, SB Nation's hot takes expert; Joel Thorman, SB Nation NFL blogs manager; Matt Ufford, editorial producer, SB Nation studios; Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation's NFL editor; and Stephen White, retired NFL defensive end and SB Nation NFL contributor all made their straight up selection.
|Super Bowl||Ryan Van Bibber||Stephen White||Joel Thorman||David Fucillo||Danny Kelly||PFT Commenter||Matt Ufford||OddsShark Computer|
|NFC vs AFC||SEA||SEA||NE||SEA||SEA||NE||NE||NE
I think what we are seeing is simply a result of what should be a really good contest. This will mark the 11th time in Super Bowl history that the game will feature the top seeds from both conferences. Both teams have the ability to dominate an opponent. It really should be a great game, and it is one that is hard to predict.
Personally, I will take Seattle to come out on top, simply because I trust their defense more than I do the Patriots' defense. Both offenses can get into a rhythm and put up points, so it will come down to the defense to make a stop or two, and I would rather have the Seahawks defense in that situation.
As of Thursday morning, the line for the game is favoring the Patriots by one point. It has bounced back and forth between the two teams, originally opening as a two point advantage for the Seahawks. Given my straight up pick of the Seahawks, I will take the point here and also take Seattle against the spread.