Is there any way both teams can lose?
That’s what I keep hearing from Carolina Panther fans when they are talking about this season’s Seattle-New England Super Bowl.
Panther fans have no love for Seattle, a team that has beaten Carolina four times in the past three seasons – including three weeks ago in the playoffs. The Seahawks feature Marshawn Lynch, who likes to make a mockery of press conferences and, based on my own brief, personal experiences with him, is an unpleasant person to be around. But that pales compared to New England, the team America loves to hate after Spygate, Deflategate and the fact that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have just won too many darn times already.
There is no lovable underdog in this one – and no obvious favorite, either. The No. 1 seeds from each conference advanced to the Super Bowl.
The upside: It should be a really good game. I will be surprised if we see another blowout anywhere close to what Seattle did to Denver last season. I just don’t think the Patriots are nearly that fragile.
• I hope you have a good place to watch the Super Bowl (kickoff, 6:30 p.m.) and some good food to eat while doing so. It’s an unofficial national holiday, and it comes at exactly the right time to liven up a long winter.
And if you feel the least bit guilty about spending money on Super Bowl-related food, here’s something to make you feel better. As of late this week, the cheapest Super Bowl tickets available were going for about $8,000 a seat on the most popular resale sites. You will be watching the game for free with what is undoubtedly a better view. So don’t sweat a few extra bucks for the seven-layer dip.
• OK, prediction time. I only predicted the Panthers’ outcome each week this past season and ended up with a 12-5-1
record doing that after picking Carolina’s final five games in a row correctly. I am going to venture out of that familiar territory to pick the Super Bowl, though.
If Seattle’s stupendous secondary can rattle Tom Brady, that will do it, and the Seahawks will win their second straight title. I don’t think the Seahawks can do that, though. The Seahawks needed an incredible last few minutes in the NFC championship game – and a dropped onside kick by Green Bay – to get to the Super Bowl. And that was against an immobile Aaron Rodgers.
Brady is used to being immobile. It’s his standard operating procedure. And the Patriots’ defense is better than Green Bay’s. Using fully inflated footballs in a fully inflated thriller, I think the final score will be New England 24, Seattle 20.