MMQB previews the key Super Bowl matchups and storylines between the defending champion Seahawks and NE Patriots:
SEAHAWKS’ OFFENSE VS. PATRIOTS’ DEFENSE
1) Seattle’s passing game
The Patriots have the best man coverage in football. The Seahawks’ passing attack is heavy on isolation routes, and we just saw their receivers get stifled for 55 minutes by the Packers’ man-centric defense. Expect Darrelle Revis to shadow Doug Baldwin, eliminating Russell Wilson’s top target. The Seahawks might be able to occasionally work Baldwin open from the slot with short-area pick routes, stack releases, and their staple wheel routes, but Revis is phenomenal at working through traffic to defend those (see his interception in the AFC Championship Game). Most likely, Wilson will have to look elsewhere. But with two safeties in help coverage—a tactic the Patriots use often and will certainly employ against the mobile Wilson—do we really foresee Jermaine Kearse consistently separating from Brandon Browner? Or Ricardo Lockette shaking free from Kyle Arrington and a safety?
Sports Illustrated previews Superbowl XLVII, Ravens vs 49ers:
Even though the San Francisco 49ers failed to secure the NFC’s top playoff seed, their appearance in the Super Bowl comes as no surprise to most people. The Ravens, on the other hand, limped into the playoffs as losers of four of their last five regular season games and faced what looked like an impossible road to New Orleans.
Three weeks later, here we are.
The Ravens will be making their first Super Bowl appearance since winning it all during the 2000 season. The 49ers have not competed on the NFL’s biggest stage since the 1994 campaign — a drought during which 12 other NFC teams played for the Lombardi.
Neither team has lost in the Super Bowl: San Francisco is 5-0, and the Ravens victorious in that lone trip.