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Predictions, poll: Who wins Super Bowl? 01.30.15 at 2:04 pm ET
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With Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense facing off against Richard Sherman and the Seahawks‘ Legion of Boom defense in just two days, NFL insiders and analysts across the nation are offering their predictions. And to no surprise, they’re almost split on their opinions.

At ESPN, the Pats are a heavy favorite, with nine of 13 experts choosing New England. Merril Hoge, Ron Jawowrski, KC Joyner, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, Mark Schlereth, Seth Wickersham, Keyshawn Johnson, and Mike Ditka are all leaning toward a Patriots victory. Meanwhile, Eric Allen, Mike Golic, Tom Jackson, and Cris Carter are predicting a Seattle win.

Who will win Super Bowl XLIX?

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At CBS, the Pats are also favored, but only by a 5-3 majority. Pete Prisco, Jason La Canfora, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, and Jamey Eisenberg are predicting the trophy will return to New England, while. Jared Dublin, John Breech and Dave Richard are looking for a repeat victory by Seattle.

SB Nation‘s experts, meanwhile, are leaning toward the Seahawks. Joel Thorman and Matt Ufford are the only two analysts picking the Pats. Ryan Van Bibber, Stephen White, David Fucillo, and Danny Kelly are predicting a Seattle win.

NFL.com‘s experts are also giving an edge to Seattle at an 8-6 margin. Adam Schein, Marc Sessler, Chris Weaseling, Dave Dameshek, Gregg Rosenthal, and Elliot Harrison are predicting a Patriots victory. Meanwhile, Bucky Brooks, Aditi Kinkhabwala, Charley Casserly, Gil Brandt, Kevin Patra, Charles Davis, Brian Billick, and Conor Orr are looking for another Seattle win.

Following are more Super Bowl XLIX predictions from around the country:

Adam Schein, NFL.com: Patriots 31, Seahawks 27. “New England is angry, talented and motivated to change the conversation. You never go against Bill Belichick in a big spot.”

Neil Greenberg, Washington Post: Patriots 23, Seahawks 20. “The key for New England will be to keep the pressure off Brady and for him to complete the short passes while getting the ball to their best playmaker, tight end Rob Gronkowski.”

Sean O’Donnell, Bleacher Report: Seahawks 27, Patriots 24. “Both of these teams are extremely well put together, and we should expect a highly intense game that will most likely be decided in the final minute. The nod here goes to the squad that is more likely to force its opponent to play into its strengths, and that team is Seattle.”

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Read More: Patriots, Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX,
Adam Schefter on MFB: Deflategate leaves NFL in ‘no-win situation’ at 1:12 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB to discuss Deflategate and preview the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Schefter discussed how the close relationship between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be affected by the Deflategate controversy.

“The majority of fans outside of the New England area, they don’t like the Patriots, they don’t want to believe the Patriots, and they think the Patriots did wrong,” Schefter said. “And you have this public at large that wants to see New England hung for this. And then you’ve got Roger Goodell’s biggest supporter owning that football team. So it leaves Roger Goodell and the NFL in a real no-win situation. … The challenge here may be if there is any evidence to make sure that all sides are satisfied with the outcome of this particular case.”

Last Saturday, coach Bill Belichick held a press conference addressing the controversy and passionately defending his team and organization.

“No. 1, Bill Belichick truly believes that his team did no wrong,” Schefter said. “There may have been something that went on, but I don’t believe that he had any idea that anything happened. I really believe that.”

Added Schefter: “I think [Belichick] wanted to make it very clear that he didn’t know about it and I think No. 2, he wanted to put everything that he had out there defending his team in the strongest manner possible so that they could go to Scottsdale and then say, look, I did two press conferences last week, I answered all these questions, and before the week kicks into high gear, he’s got it out of the way.”

With Deflategate still dominating the national media, Schefter discussed how the Pats should approach the Super Bowl in the midst of the controversy.

“You can’t go into a game thinking of the enormity of it,” Schefter said. “You can’t think that this game has more significance on our legacy and this season than anything else. … It has a ginormous feel. It feels different, but you can’t approach it that way, you just have approach it like it’s Week 1 or Week 8 or Week 12 or whatever it may be.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Patriots, Super Bowl
Willie McGinest on MFB: ‘The two right teams’ are in Super Bowl at 12:35 pm ET
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NFL Network analyst and former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Putting the controversy aside and looking forward to Sunday’s game, McGinest was not willing to predict a Super Bowl winner.

“Anything could happen, I mean, it’s tough to try to predict,” McGinest said. “Look at all the games that nobody could get right this year. What I’m saying is, this is a heavyweight matchup. I love the way these two teams match up. The two right teams are here.”

Added McGinest: “There’s no excuses [for the Patriots]. The No. 1 thing going into this year from last year is health. They’ve got a lot of guys healthy outside of Jerod Mayo. Pretty much the defense is together and they’re ready to play. Offensively, all hands on deck. When you look at the mentality and the way they’re playing right now, beating teams in a lot of different ways. Whether it’s the ground game against Indianapolis, whether it’s the pass attack, spread offense vs. Baltimore, the defense playing a lot of man — Browner, Revis — they’re taking guys away. … It’s exciting.”

When asked for his response to Deflategate and the Patriots legacy, the three-time Super Bowl champion said that nothing should take away from what the team has accomplished.

“You talk about Deflategate, you break all those scenarios down,” McGinest said. “OK, they took the footballs at halftime, they went on a 28-0 run after that. I mean, I understand that this team knows the rules probably better than any organization in the league, and do they use it to their benefit? Yeah. Do they certain things that are cutting edge or pushing the line? Maybe. But is that the reason for all the Patriots’ success as far as the players, what they put into it and coach Belichick’s success? No, it’s not.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategateichick, Patriots, Willie McGinest
Appearing on Dale & Holley, Tedy Bruschi fires back at critics of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Patriots 01.26.15 at 4:20 pm ET
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Speaking on his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley Show, Tedy Bruschi offered an impassioned take on both nationwide analysis of Deflategate, and critics of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots.

When asked if Bruschi has ever known Belichick or Brady to be cheaters, responded succinctly, saying, “I’€™ll answer that question. No I don’€™t. I know I have not. I won’€™t expound on it but just give you the word ‘€˜no.’€™”

Here are Bruchi’s other comments:

Regarding some of the criticism coming from his fellow ESPN analysts

“I think it’€™s a very difficult position for me to be on set with certain people that said certain things that of course I was listening to and I heard. Every man is entitled to their opinion. I disagree with them as strongly as I possibly can because I’€™ve been in this organization for 13 years. Tom Brady, I know. Bill Belichick, I know. If vouch is the word, vouch is the word I’€™ll use. I vouch for these guys. I know their character. There isn’€™t anything more that they can do or they can say in terms of what they know what happened.”

On how Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have been viewed through recent controversy

“What is this year all been about? It’€™s been about that word transparency. NFL transparency. Ray Rice. Adrian Peterson. Everything. We want to know. We want to know what happened. We want to know the investigation, everything. After this happened there wasn’€™t one line from Bill or Tom that said, ‘€˜There’€™s an NFL investigation going on and we have to wait and out of the respect for the investigation we can’€™t comment.’€™ That’€™s an easy out. That’€™s an easy out they could have used. But they want to be as transparent as they possibly could to say, ‘€˜This is what we know. This is what we’€™ve done. I’€™m telling you this did not happen.’€™ And Bill is out there conducting his own investigation. Lord knows what he did to those balls, rubbing them, having the quarterback do whatever they did to them. They were as transparent as they possibly could be. What more do you want from them?

“There are just certain opinions about the New England Patriots out there because somebody’€™s team got beat. Marty Hurney, your team got beat. That’€™s all it us. Move on. But you want to talk about and you want to bring it up because you need some reason why as to why you were beat. But this is the reason why: you were outcoached and you were outplayed.

“I can’€™t change the way that they think or the way that they feel. SpyGate is over and done with. Bill even addressed it in his press conference on Saturday. I had to do a lot of things individually to protect our signals because I was the signal-caller. We take the bullet for that, so be it. We move on, we paid the price and continue to win games. We thought we put it all to bed by almost going 19-0 but we didn’€™t do it. So people want answers. That’€™s just the way it is. I try and stay as level-headed as I possibly can about it. It’€™s impossible to not get emotional at times. ‘€¦ When it comes down to it I just have to be as level-headed as I possibly can about it and feel very confident.

“We won, that’€™s the bottom line. And that team is still continuing to win and people want their own justification as to why. Why? You were outcoached, you were outplayed. End of story.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Patriots, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady
Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘I really don’t care’ about Deflategate at 2:33 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Super Bowl and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Jones discussed preparing for the Super Bowl with the Deflategate controversy dominating the media.

“During a week like this I try to just avoid it all,” Jones said. “I really, honestly, I really don’t care, I just want to play. I’m really focused on Seattle, I’m focused on my matchups, who I’m going against.”

Added Jones: “That just goes back to ignoring the noise. … At the end of the day, we all have a job and we have to do it.”

Jones had high praise for Seattle’s two biggest offensive weapons, running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson.

Marshawn Lynch is a guy that, I mean, if you let him he can run over your whole defense,” Jones said. “And then you have a guy like Russell Wilson and if you let him, he can juke out your whole defense and make big plays. So it’s our job as a defense to hopefully contain those guys.”

Jones added: “This is a quarterback-driven team, this is a quarterback-driven league, obviously. If you can contain the quarterback you can hopefully contain the scoreboard.”

Jones likely will spend much of the Super Bowl lined up against Seahawks tackle Russell Okung.

“I had a little success against him my rookie year and hopefully I can again on Sunday,” Jones said, adding “He’s a guy that’s very strong. He’s very strong on the running game. He has very strong hands, and he’s also a guy that’s long. When you have a guy that’s kind of a long and athletic body type, it’s kind of harder to get around.”

Added Jones: “For this week, we’re just kind of working hard and trying to polish up things so hopefully we can be successful on Sunday.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chandler jones, Deflategate, Patriots,
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘We’ve moved on’ from Deflategate at 1:35 pm ET
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Patriots receiver Julian Edelman joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Super Bowl and offer a few comments on Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Edelman indicated the team is ready to move past the Deflategate controversy.

“It’s over with, we’ve moved on, and we’re looking forward to getting ready and preparing for the Seattle Seahawks,” Edelman said, adding: “We’re not going out there to try to prove anyone wrong, we’re going out there for each other.”

The Seahawks are known for their Legion of Boom defense that will make the receiver’s job difficult.

“Seattle’s secondary is ferocious back there, they cover a lot of ground, they’re all big,” Edelman said. “They play in their scheme, they’re hard-coached. It’s definitely going to be a battle and we’re going to have to bring our A game to compete with these guys.”

Edelman said he doesn’t expect the injuries to Seahawks defensive backs Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor to limit their effectiveness.

“Everyone’s sore. … You expect nothing but their best because this is the last game of the year,” Edelman said. “So you know they’re going to be fired up, they’re going to be prepared, they’re going to be ready to go.”

Edelman said it’s key that the Patriots maintain control of the football.

“[Bill Belichick] will tell you, if you’re carrying that ball, you’re carrying the fate of every single person in the organization, from the marketing guy to the ball boy to the coach, to anyone,” Edelman said. “So the ball is the most important thing on the field.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, Julian Edelman, Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX
Former Panthers GM Marty Hurney on MFB: ‘I never accused the Patriots of everything, but when something happens …’ at 1:29 pm ET
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Marty Hurney

Marty Hurney

Former Panthers general manager and current ESPN Radio host Marty Hurney joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss Deflategate and his history dealing with the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Hurney, who ran the Panthers during their loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 38 in 2004, discussed his recent comments on ESPN questioning the Pats‘ history with rule-breaking. He got some attention after bringing up unsubstantiated allegations about the Patriots taping a Panthers practice leading up to that Super Bowl.

“If it was anybody but the Patriots, it wouldn’t have been this big a story,” Hurney said of Deflategate. “My point was there are a lot of rumors around the league from 2001 to 2007. And you’re right, you know what? The Patriots won that game; we lost it. There’s a lot of things we could have done to win that game.

“And one of the bad things that I don’t like about what I said was it comes out and makes me sounds like I’m a sore loser. I’m the last guy that wants to take accomplishments away from players and coaches because I know how hard it is to win the game. You look at the Patriots, they have pretty much of a shoo-in of a Hall of Fame coach and Hall of Fame quarterback. I wasn’t trying to take anything away from that.

“I guess what I’m saying is when these things come up they raise questions that normally wouldn’t be raised.”

 

Added Hurney: “Before this Deflategate thing you would say, hey, Bill Belichick is a detail guy, he’s a good coach, he enforces it every day, it’s a product of good coaching. And that’s still the reason. But human nature, when you connect the two to Deflategate and then those statistics, human nature makes you just ask the question.”

Hurney insists that his comments were overblown and, ‘I never accused the Patriots of everything, but when something happens …”

Said Hurney: “I’m not trying to say, ‘Hey, everybody else is good and the Patriots are the evil empire.’ I’m not saying that. But what I am saying is that when this came up again and there were rumors over a period of time, you start to say, ‘Hey, is this a pattern of behavior?’ ”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Marty Hurney, Patriots,
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