Super Bowl XLIX scouting report: Seahawks-Patriots match-ups, key players

Celebrity predictions are great and all, but how about the nitty gritty? When the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks step on the field Sunday in Arizona, what should true football fans be looking out for?

SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Jim Miller, Pat Kirwan and Gil Brandt each broke down different aspects of Super Bowl XLIX, including the match-ups between the Seahawks’ offense and Patriots’ defense, Patriots’ offense and Seahawks’ defense, and a look at which players may prove to play key roles in the outcome of the game.

Miller: Patriots offense vs. Seahawks defense

[The Seahawks are] the No. 1 defense in the league for a reason: They are very simple in what they do. …

[The Patriots] can run the football with LeGarrette Blount, they bring in extra tackles in terms of unbalanced lines, they do ineligible vs. eligible, so it’s about the volume of offense. … It’s not always gonna be the case where Kam Chancellor is on Rob Gronkowski, because we know from New England’s standpoint, they’ve lined up Gronkowski [all over the place]. …

It should be a great battle, Seattle’s defense has been extremely physical, that’s why they’re No. 1 in the NFL, and if there is one weakness in the New England Patriots, they have a tough time going against physical defenses. …

I see a very close game, I see it 27-24, New England Patriots get the victory.

Kirwan: Seahawks offense vs. Patriots defense

Seattle is a triple-threat offense. … They always offer the run of Marshawn Lynch, the run of the quarterback, or the passing game. Ironically, it’s hard to stop all three, so you guess most of the time. You take away two things. Russell Wilson‘s job is to decide which you’re giving him, and he’s the master of taking it. …

Darrelle Revis, terrific corner. He can take one of those receivers away. Maybe it’s Jermaine Kearse. … On the other side is Brandon Browner. I think the Seattle Seahawks are going after Brandon Browner. They know him, they’ve practiced against him, and he struggles against double moves. He’s also been penalized 14 times this year. On key third downs during the game, I expect Seattle to go after Brandon Browner. …

I’m thinking the score should be 24-21, something like that, and a free touchdown on an interception could be the difference.

Brandt: Key players

Past history of the Super Bowl tells us that somebody will be a key player in this game who we don’t expect to be a key player. …

My key players in this game, because I think it’s gonna be a very close game, are the two kickers. Steven Hauschka, who is a player that really only kicked one year in college … Stephen Gostkowski, [who] at the University of Memphis was more of a baseball player than a football player, but has kicked really well. …

My key player is Jermaine Kearse, who was an undrafted free agent, and a guy that came in and won the game last week. … Patrick Chung, because I think that we’re gonna have to have somebody that’s gonna be able to stop the run.

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