Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. These teams have been dissected in every way and every language for the past two weeks. All that is left is a football game. Here, in numerical form, are some stories to watch for come game time.
596 – Seahawks Total Yards
The last time Seattle played a Top 10 defense in this building, they put up 596 yards and 35 points. Pushing 600 yards of offense versus New England is highly unlikely, but topping 400 yards would swing the game in Seattle’s favor. The Patriots were just 2-2 during the regular season when allowing an opponent to gain more than 400 total yards. The Seahawks were 4-1 when crossing that threshold this year, and 13-2 when doing so since 2012.
150 – Seahawks Yards Rushing
Seattle is 24-4 over the last three seasons when rushing for 150 or more yards. They have done it in 10 of their 18 games this season. The Patriots are 2-2 when they allow that many yards on the ground this year, but have not allowed a team to reach that level since week eight of the season. The Seahawks need a healthy run game to win another title.
100 – Patriots Yards Rushing
That Patriots average an astounding 42 ppg when they rush for at least 100 yards. They have done it seven times, including three of their last six games. Seattle has allowed eight teams to reach that ground output, including the past two. They were 2-2 in those games during the regular season, but have won the last two in the playoffs. A Patriots offense armed with a decent running game would be too much for Seattle to overcome.
90.0 – Passer Rating
New England is 2-3 this season when Tom Brady dips below 90.0 in his passer rating. The Seahawks defense has not allowed a passer to go over that mark since October, a span of twelve games.
27 – Seahawks Points
The amount of points I expect the Seahawks to score on Sunday. Seattle is 7-0 this year, and 22-2 since 2012, when scoring 27 points or more.
24 – Patriots Points
The amount of points I expect the Patriots to score. They are 3-4 when scoring 24 points or less this year, and I believe this is the magic dividing line for them on Sunday. If they score more than this, they likely win. Seattle is 9-1 this year, and 26-4 since 2012, when scoring more than 24 points.
20 – Super Bowl Teams with #1 Defense
There have been 20 teams, including the 2013 Seahawks, that have played in the Super Bowl with the top-ranked scoring defense. They are 15-5 in those games, and 7-1 since 1990.
5 – Teams Who Repeated with #1 Seed
There have been six teams who followed their Super Bowl victory by securing the #1 seed and making the Super Bowl again. Five of those six teams went on to win the Super Bowl a second straight time.
4 – Largest Margin in a Patriots Super Bowl Since Belichick
All five Patriot Super Bowls have come down to the wire, with four points being the largest margin of victory. Four is also the streak of Super Bowl games where Belichick’s Patriots have failed to cover the spread. They were underdogs in their first appearance, and won the game. They are currently still favored by one point.
3rd Down Differential
The Patriots rely on possessing the ball through a short passing game. They need 3rd down conversions to extend drives. Their overall 3rd down conversion rate is not as important as having a better rate than their opponent. The simple reason being that as long as they do better on 3rd downs than the team they are playing, their offense still will get enough possessions to be effective. The proof being a 10-0 regular season record when having a positive differential and a 2-3 record when it is negative (2-4 if you count their meaningless finale where Brady did not play). The Seahawks have had a positive 3rd down differential in 13 of their 18 games, and are 11-2 in those contests. They have been positive or even in 12 of their last 13 games.
2 – Patriots Players Who Played On 2004 Super Bowl Winner
Brady and Belichick carry a lot of Super Bowl experience with them, and have won three rings. But it has been 10 years since their last victory, and it is the Seahawks who enter this game with more relevant Super Bowl experience throughout their roster. Brady could join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four rings, or he could join Fran Tarkenton and John Elway with three losses. Only Jim Kelly would have more.
1 – Number of Seahawks Lombardi Trophies
It will only be fitting if they put a 2 after that 1.