|01.31.15 at 3:22 pm ET|
(Special thanks to the Patriots media relations department for the great work they do with their media guide, helping to find some of these, and other stats throughout the season)
1. Patriots are 12-0 this season when scoring 23 or more points and 159-12 under Bill Belichick.
2. Dating back to 2012 in the last nine Seahawks losses, they have allowed 100 yards or more rushing.
3. In the postseason dating back to 1970 and the NFL merger, the Patriots are 19-1 when winning the turnover battle.
4. In the five previous Belichick/Tom Brady Super Bowls, the Patriots have failed to score first quarter points in all five.
5. Patriots are 10-0 this season when scoring a first quarter touchdown.
6. Patriots are 10-0 this season when scoring first.
7. Including the postseason, the Patriots are 49-1 when having a 100-yard rusher under Belichick.
8. Patriots are 12-2 this season when winning the opening coin toss.
9. Since 2000, the Patriots are 12-4 against the NFC West, but are 1-3 in their last four games.
10. Since 2000, including the postseason, the Patriots are 151-20 when leading at halftime.
11. The Patriots and Seahawks have faced each other 16 times in both franchises history, with each team winning eight games.
12. Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in all five of his Super Bowl games, and in 24 of his 28 total playoff games.
13. Since Nov. 13 against the Lions, the Patriots have allowed only 22 second half points, spanning eight games and have outscored opponents 116-22.
14. Belichick is appearing in his ninth Super Bowl — six as a head coach and three as an assistant. Only one other person has nine — Dan Reeves.
15. Robert Kraft has the most Super Bowl appearances of any NFL owner in the Super Bowl era (7).
16. When leading after three quarters in the postseason, the Patriots are 20-4.
17. 17 members of the Patriots have played in a Super Bowl before.
18. Patriots are 2-5 in their last seven games played on grass.
19. Patriots’ 13 turnovers were the second-fewest in team history.
20. The six rushing touchdowns allowed by the Patriots this season were the second-fewest in team history.
21. Stephen Gostkowski‘s 94.6 field goal percentage was the best in team history.
22. Including the playoffs, the Patriots scored 193 second quarter points (10.7 per game) and have outscored opponents 193-114.
23. Seahawks have allowed 6.8 points per game in the second half this year, the fewest in the NFL.
24. Patriots averaged 16.2 points per game in the first half of games this year, the second-most in the NFL.
|01.31.15 at 2:37 pm ET|
WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN THE BALL
The Seahawks were third in the league in run defense over the course of the regular season. The Patriots faced the four other teams in the top 5 in the regular season and the playoffs, and here’s what they did when it came to running the football:
vs. Detroit: 20 carries, 90 yards
vs. Denver: 25 carries, 66 yards
vs. Jets (two-game average): 20 carries, 74 yards
vs. Baltimore (divisional playoff): 13 carries, 14 yards
While much of the play calling will depend on the situation, if history is any indication, expect the Patriots to run the ball roughly 20 times. If they hit an average of four yards per carry, that will likely be enough to keep the Seattle defense on its toes throughout the contest, and should also be enough to keep the Seahawks mindful of play-action. One important thing to remember, at least as it relates to the running game — Seattle has undergone serious changes up front over the course of the year because of injury and personnel, and as a result, this isn’t as good a defensive front as the one it opened the year with. Without Brandon Mebane in the lineup, and if the interior of the New England offensive line is truly healthy, it could open up some holes in the interior of the Seattle line and create some opportunities for LeGarrette Blount and the rest of the Patriots ground game. Just don’t expect New England to do as much running as it did in the AFC title game against the Colts.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS THE BALL
This might be the most important matchup of the evening, with the veteran Tom Brady going against arguably the best secondary in the league. The Seahawks do an excellent job when it comes to team defense — they don’t get a lot of pressure on the quarterback, but they do get coverage sacks because of the work of their defensive backs and the cover time involved. The real key will be where Brady decides to go with the football.
Rob Gronkowski will be the No. 1 target for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that when it comes to elite tight ends, the Seahawks have shown themselves to be a little vulnerable underneath with some soft spots in their Cover 3. Look for that to be one of the target areas for Brady and Gronkowski, who will likely face combo coverage that will include safety Kam Chancellor as well as linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
Brady will also look for Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman underneath, but only if they can gain separation off the line. In the past, New England has tried to get its smaller receivers like Edelman and Amendola free with pick plays and rub routes underneath, which will theoretically allow them to get some separation from the bigger and more physical Seahawks defenders. New England has utilized plenty of motion in the past when it comes to finding a way to get Gronkowski free off the line, including having him line up in the backfield. And look for plenty of pre-snap movement into stack sets. Make it as hard as possible at the point of attack for the Seattle defensive backs to get their hands on players.
One other member of the Patriots who might be able to achieve some matchup advantages is running back Shane Vereen. One of only five backs in the league this year who had at least 50 catches and 50 carries, Vereen’s speed and shiftiness can be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Look for the Patriots to try plenty of pre-snap movement in hopes of getting Vereen matched up against a slower linebacker, or just getting him in space against a bigger defender. Per Football Outsiders, the Seahawks are also 18th in the league in defending running backs in the passing game.
If you’re the Seahawks, you want to do what you’ve always done. Seattle is known for playing their sides on each corner, which means there’s the very real likelihood we see a Brandon LaFell-Richard Sherman matchup. (Watch for Sherman’s level of physicality in the early going. It’s debatable how healthy that elbow is coming into Sunday’s game, and if he’s unable to get a jam on a receiver, it takes away a big part of his game.) Expect the Seahawks to be as physical as possible off the line with the opposing pass catchers.
|01.31.15 at 1:15 pm ET|
Like he did before Super Bowl XLVI three years ago in Indianapolis, the Patriots coach decided to cancel the Saturday walk-through and just have a team meeting and a team picture.
“We’re just going to meet, take a team picture,’ Belichick told Super Bowl pool reporter Jarrett Bell of said of USA Today and the Pro Football Writers. “This is it. Practice-wise, we’re done. We’re as ready as we’re going to be.’
The meetings and picture will took place at the team’s hotel in Chandler, Ariz.
On Friday, in the team’s last practice of the week at the Cardinals practice facility, Belichick conducted an hour practice in the rain even though he had the bubble available.
“I thought about going inside, but not for long,” Belichick said.
Belichick thought it was a rare chance to have practice in the rain in typically dry Arizona.
“Make it tougher in practice than it will be in the game,” Belichick said.
Here are other takeaways from Bell’s report from Patriots practice:
- One key player, though, caught a break. All-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis watched the bulk of team drills from the sideline, which Belichick said was not due to an injury. ‘We backed a lot of guys off,’ Belichick said. ‘He took a lot of reps yesterday and Wednesday.” Read the rest of this entry »
|01.31.15 at 12:40 pm ET|
PHOENIX — The day before Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady posted to Facebook a picture of Pat the Patriot and the Seahawks mascot, with Pat the Patriots on a scale, similar to a boxing pre-fight weigh in.
|01.30.15 at 6:36 pm ET|
PHOENIX — The final injury report of the season is out for Super Bowl XLIX.
Bryan Stork (knee) is officially questionable for the game. He was limited in practice all week, and last week as well, after injuring his knee in the divisional round game and missing the AFC title game.
Six other players are listed as probable, including Tom Brady (ankle) who participated in full in practice all week. Darrelle Revis (rest) was limited in practice Friday for the first time all season, and is probable for the game. Also probable include the players who were limited in practice all week — Akeem Ayers (Thur. and Fri. foot), Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Jones (elbow) and Sealver Siliga (foot).
Here is the complete Patriots injury report:
C Bryan Stork (knee)
|01.30.15 at 5:38 pm ET|
On media day he sat at his podium for less than five minutes answering every question with, “I’m here so I don’t get fined.” Wednesday at the team’s media availability at the team hotel he answered every question with, “You know why I am here.” Thursday, he changed up his answers, but never answered the questions he was asked and set his iPhone for 4.5 minutes before leaving the podium.
He also wore his “Beast Mode” hat, which is against NFL rules.
Goodell was asked if he would be disciplined for his actions during his state of the league address on Friday.
“I do not believe any decision has been made,” Goodell said. “Our staff probably will look at that following the Super Bowl and make a determination, as they have in the past.”
The commissioner made it clear he doesn’t approve of Lynch’s antics.
“I’ve been very clear. When you’re in the NFL, you have an obligation,” Goodell said. “It’s an obligation to the fans. It is part of your job, and there are things we all have to do in our job that we may not necessarily want to do. I think Marshawn understands the importance of the Super Bowl, the importance of his appearance, and the importance of him as an individual in this game. Fans are curious. Fans want to know and the media would like to make that story clear to our fans.”
“I understand it may not be the top of his list, but everyone else is cooperating and everyone else is doing their part because it is our obligation. As I said, there are a lot of things we don’t like to do in our jobs, but it comes with the territory and it comes with the privilege of playing in the Super Bowl.”
|01.30.15 at 4:53 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Although Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are very much different coaches in terms of style, they are both very successful.
Carroll is going for his second straight Super Bowl win on Sunday, while Belichick will attempt to earn his fourth.
They are also connected by current Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as Kraft hired both coaches to coach the Patriots with Carroll coaching in New England from 1997-99.
“I would say, about Robert [Kraft], I had a wonderful experience with Robert,” Carroll said Friday. “He was one that showed great interest in his people and I’m sure he and Bill, as Bill said, have a great relationship and communicate on a regular basis. I think that was the reason that I was hired in New England. I’ll forever be grateful for that.
“The character that he’s demonstrated, the class that he’s demonstrated in the years that followed to support me and my career as I went on ‘ the best thing that has ever happened is that he sent me to USC. He didn’t realize that at the time, but I’ll always be grateful for the time we spent together and will always take pride in watching the great success that these guys have had together in historic fashion for the New England franchise.”
Carroll went on to coach at USC after being fired by Kraft and was there from 2001-09, winning two national championships during his time there.
Belichick too has a lot of his success in the league because of Kraft and he taking the chance to give up a first round pick in 2000 to take him away from the Jets and bring him to New England.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t be here without his support,” Belichick said. “He gave up a number one draft choice, actually a little bit more, in order to bring me to the Patriots in 2000. I’ll be forever grateful for that. Without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I would say that’s really a no-brainer. It’s meant everything.”
2017 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2017 NFL DRAFT
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Mike Gillislee's Patriots Contract Offer Sheet Declined by Bills
- Malcolm Butler Reportedly 'Highly Unlikely' to Be Traded Despite Saints...
- Patriots Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season
- 2017 New England Patriots Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV...
- Chiefs vs. Patriots to Open 2017 NFL Regular Season Schedule in...
- Patriots Favored in Updated Super Bowl 52 Odds Ahead of 2017 NFL Draft
- After Aaron Hernandez Suicide, Victim's Family Speaks: 'I Just Started...