PFF Pick’em: Super Bowl XLIX

The PFF team offers up their final batch of picks for the 2014 season with a split decision for Super Bowl XLIX.

| 2 years ago

PFF Pick’em: Super Bowl XLIX

2014-PickemNothing better than a split field for a big game and that’s what we’ve got for Super Bowl XLIX edition of the Pick’em with four of our analysts landing on the Patriots side and four looking for a Seahawk repeat. Our resident playoff pick-master, Sam and his 10-0 mark are among those seeing Seattle through, but no one in the building thinks it’s an easy call (except possibly Neil) and a close game is what most are pointing to.

Who’ve you got? Let us know in the comments below.


New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

 NewEngland100  seattleNEW100  NewEngland100  seattleNEW100  NewEngland100  seattleNEW100  seattleNEW100  NewEngland100
Ben Gordon Khaled Nathan Neil Rick Sam Steve


Ben  New England Patriots

I think this can be the Super Bowl that last year’s game was supposed to be and it would seem that I’ve not learned my lesson as I’m going against the Seahawks for the second year in a row. On offense I think the Patriots have a chameleon nature to them that enables them to exploit the right matchups each week in the same way that Bill Belichick can re-engineer their defense from week to week to shutdown opposing offenses. Finally this year Belichick has the tools on defense not to just keep pace with an opposing offense through scheme but to take over the game and shut them down. If the Patriots can (by scheme, play calling or performance) keep Michael Bennett quiet and prevent him from playing the Justin Tuck role, I think they’ll have just enough to edge this close battle.

Gordon – Seattle Seahawks 

Like last year, when the Seahawks went up against a Peyton Manning-led offense I’m excited to see how the battle between the Seahawks’ defense and Patriots offense goes. Seemingly constantly evolving, the Patriots are always finding new ways to exploit mismatches against their opponents, with the new wrinkle of using four offensive linemen and leaving a skill position player ineligible the latest trick. In a straight up battle between the two I think Seattle has the edge, but if the Patriots can use something like that to put Seattle on the back foot, they can definitely beat the Seattle defense. Where I think the game will be won and lost is behind the arm of Russell Wilson, who hasn’t been anywhere near as good a passer as he was a year ago. We saw him rebound late in the NFC Championship against Green Bay, though, and I think they find a way to come up with enough big plays to beat the Patriots late to repeat as Champions.

Khaled  New England Patriots 

A tough one. Key battle for me is how the Seahawks move the ball against a Patriots defense that is better than what it faced against Denver in the Super Bowl last year. If New England wins they’ll get the kind of field position and situational football that doesn’t force them to become one-dimensional and play into Seattles hands. If Seattle wins then we could see a repeat of last year. Ultimately, I think NE wins in a low-scoring affair, but the reality is this one is too close to call with two tremendously talented football teams capable of hitting heights hard to handle.

Nathan – Seattle Seahawks  

There are a number of areas where they are close to evenly matched, but I think the areas where Seattle has an advantage outweighs the areas where New England does. Marshawn Lynch has been great at making guys miss, and a few Patriots have been worse than average at missing tackles. Both offensive lines have been below average, but Seattle has the weapons in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to take advantage of the Patriots’ offensive line, while the New England pass rush isn’t as effective. Seattle also has a slight edge with their special teams. If New England wins it will be in large part thanks to Gronkowski and Seattle killing themselves with penalties, but I think the slight odds go towards a Seahawks repeat.

Neil  New England Patriots 

It’s the Patriots. I picked them at the start and I like my odds even more now. Before you accuse me of boasting I should admit this is my third year in a row of going with New England but this year their defense (at least on the back end) has improved enough to help my bank balance. It’s not all plain sailing – their interior O-line is very suspect (I expect to see Michael Bennett inside a lot) while on defense they don’t muster much of a rush – but I still think it will be enough. The best mind in football will find a way to limit Marshawn Lynch (my “new” choice for MVP) and give Russell Wilson (knee deep in the worst season of his career) fits. It’ll be a lot closer than against Indianapolis, but the third time will be my charm.

Rick – Seattle Seahawks

Torn, as many are, I’m settling away from the team I chose from the outset, abandoning my chance at an “I called it!” moment, and going with Seattle. Two teams that simply have that ability to ‘get it done’ when it matters, for me it comes down to the chances of each shutting down the opposite’s biggest threat, and I see Seattle being more effective against Gronk than New England against Lynch. I don’t think either of those key players blows up as they’ll each surely be a focus, but my money would be on the not-to-be-denied nature of the Seattle runner before any other in the game.

Sam – Seattle Seahawks 

I’m picking the Seahawks but at this point it’s largely out of stubbornness. I think in the abstract Seattle has been the best team in football this season, but the more I examine this specific match up the less I like it for them. New England just seems tailor made to have success against them in the same way the Seahawks were custom made to destroy the high-flying Denver offense a year ago. I think it will be a close game either way, and if Seattle wins it’s because they don’t spot their opposition a double-digit lead for two games running.

Steve  New England Patriots 

The game features a number of great matchups on paper. Can the Patriots offense move the ball against Seattle’s defense? Can New England’s defense match the league’s best defense of the last three seasons? While I’m not expecting a shootout, I think New England can move the ball a number of different ways offensively and I think their defense can play up to Seattle’s level, at least in a one-game setting. New England’s ability to dictate matchups for Rob Gronkowski will be huge factor while the backfield threats of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson will be the key for Seattle’s offense as they might have a tough time passing against New England’s secondary. I’m expecting a close game and an outstanding back and forth battle between two well-coached teams. I’ll give the edge to New England by a field goal.


Follow the team on Twitter: BenGordonKhaledNathanNeilRickSam, and Steve … and the main account too: @PFF


  • Andrew

    Those who have picked the Patriots based in part of the chip on their shoulder due to deflate-gate, how can that be as important as the Seattle pass rush being one of the best in the league and the NE offensive line being middle of the pack? Brady under pressure is not a pretty sight, especially if SEA gets pressure while rushing 4. Looking at both football outsiders DVOA and PFF grades show a pronounced advantage for Seattle in terms of running the ball, pass rushing and run defense. The more research I do the more I am convinced of a significant Seattle win. Also the NE backers don’t have a lot of points except good offense, Brady’s past wins, and Belichick, reminds me of SB 48 and we remember the beatdown that was. Goodluck all. GO HAWKS!

    • BIB

      “The more research I do the more I am convinced of a significant Seattle win.” You realize this is football and doing research doesn’t prove anything? Where are the Broncos fans that did research for the Colts game?

      • Andrew

        Yes, research doesn’t determine the outcome (except in that research is incorporated into game plans, player execution etc. in games), and I have no impact on who will win. The point, however, is that using available information helps to inform along with trends and intuition as to who will and should win. In particular I’m talking about position groups, and individual players being better and winning their individual and position group battles, thus winning the game. What is your point, you shouldn’t use research to inform your opinion because it doesn’t determine the outcome of game?

    • RD20

      How about the chip on PC’s shoulder from being fired from the Patriots

  • fiscalconsoclib

    I think both offenses will struggle. Seahawks offense was exposed in the championship gamewith their WRs unable to gain separation through the first 55 minutes. I am sure that point was not lost on Belichick, Revis and Browner. If Vince Wilfork can command a double team it will be very tough sledding for the Seattle offense. I expect to see a lot of people in the box and if one man occupies two blockers it will leave a lot of people to gang tackle Lynch. If Belichick does what he normally does, take away what you do best, the Seahawks will not score much.

    The Patriots will struggle on offense but should be able to run just enough to allow some plays to be made against the LBs in the passing game. Their ability to morph their offense to attack just about any area will allow them to score enough to win the game. Patriots 24 – Seahawks 13.

    • RD20

      Seattle’s offense was “exposed” in a monsoon much like last year against the saints it made no difference last year it will make no difference this year.

    • David Stinnett

      Seattle doesn’t lose by 11. Check the scores of their last 60+ games. It’s awesome.

  • Gerard

    I’m going with NE in a low scoring game. Belichick keeps Wilson in the pocket which makes him worthless and contains Lynch enough. NE uses both tight ends to do enough damage.

    • RA

      Wilson is worthless in the pocket? More like his line is worthless and not allowing him to escape pressure leads to sacks and hurries at a sickening pace.

      If you are going to make idiotic Prisco-esque comments atleast direct your hate in the correct direction.

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        Yes, holding the ball for too long and being indecisive makes you a poor pocket passer. The O’line is fine, your QB isn’t perfect. Get over it.

        • Andrew

          Wilson does hold the ball too long, but to call him indecisive is to ignore game film and stats. And before you back the seattle O-Line please check the ratings from both PFF and Football Outsiders, they are one of the worst pass blocking lines in football. If Russell Wilson wasn’t houdini that offense wouldn’t move the ball. Stop sucking on prisco’s nob and get over the fact that Wilson isn’t a traditional QB, he’s still one of the best and will be elite after winning this SB!
          P.S. I hate trolls

          • Riffle,Rod&Fly

            I don’t know or care who Prisco is. Holding the ball too long is the result of being indecisive. Wilson is a good game managing QB. He is not carrying this team. This QB worship is a bore.

          • benwaykiller

            Just check the qbr. Before Greenbay, he was the best quarterback in post season history. After such a terrible performance in that game he is still top 5 where as Brady isn’t top ten. He also has one of the highest qbrs in the first three years of a career in NFL history. So get your shit straight, he is a great passer and got nearly 900 yards on the ground this year.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      The last Seahawks play was called to appease all the children who need a their posterchild QB. The Seahawks needed him to be MVP for you. Welcome to the real world. Maybe you fairweather fans will understand after you’ve watched football for more than a couple years. I hope you’re happy.

  • Jaguars28

    24-14 Seahawks is my prediction. Marshawn Lynch wins MVP

    • Josh Knepshield

      If the game ended after the 3rd you would have had it 100% correct.

  • jim gray

    patriots have an advantage as they are better cheaters than seattle.

  • jim gray

    Who believes Belichick and Brady?

    New England. That’s it. are belichick and brady cheaters. nationwide – 63% yes. 37% no. total votes 262,929 –espn sportsnation.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      Maybe they are. The numbers are exaggerated by their success though. People always tend to hate the teams that win and be indifferent to those that don’t. A lot of people think the Seahawks are cheaters too. Their drug record over the last couple seasons hasn’t been great.

      • benwaykiller

        The big scandal was Browner, who is now on the Patriots. Sherman was absolved, so who else was there?

        • Riffle,Rod&Fly

          Did Browner get in trouble with the Pats? No. Lets see; Bruce Irvin, John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston guy, Walter Thurmond. I’m sure I can find more. Also, you’re coach helped bury a team and fled the NCAA before anything could be done about it. Sherman hardly was absolved in the world of public perception. He got off on a technicality. An argument of cross contamination that no longer works in MLB by the way. My point is that it’s no fun when your team is being called the cheater, is it?

          • Chris


  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    At least the Seahawks fanboys don’t need to worry about Wilson not being named MVP now.