There has been a whirlwind of media coverage surrounding the New England Patriots since they crushed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game due to the Deflategate controversy.
It’s hard to argue that under-inflated balls impacted that final result against the Colts because the game was so lopsided, but it may actually end up keeping the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots from over-inflating their egos heading into the big game.
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Playing with a chip on their shoulder has always seemed to help the players and coaches on this team more than hurt them in the past.
That being said, here are five reasons why New England will win the Super Bowl and cover the spread . . .
Motivation: It seems like forever ago that the media was ripping Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for being too old when they were 2-2 and coming off a brutal 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs as 2.5-point road favorites on Monday Night Football. New England proceeded to go on a season-high seven-game winning streak – going 6-1 against the spread – and emerged as a legit Super Bowl contender. All it took was a lot of doubt from outside the team and even more focus inside, led by Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, who righted the ship towards another Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Quarterback: Say what you want about Brady, but he is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and will likely tie former San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana with three by beating the Seattle Seahawks in this spot. Despite the distraction of Deflategate, Brady is fully capable of rising above it and picking apart the Seattle secondary with the short passing game that has become his bread-and-butter over the past few years.
Injuries: Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman essentially said he could care less about deflated balls because it will not change his opponent on Super Bowl Sunday. But he and his team should be concerned about his sprained elbow along with the separated shoulder suffered by safety Earl Thomas in the NFC Championship Game. While both players will be on the field, they should be targeted by Brady.
Secondary: Due to those key injuries for Seattle, the Patriots have the better defensive backfield and should be able to shut down the opposing receivers, who were able to take advantage of a similar depleted secondary of the Denver Broncos in last year’s Super Bowl. New England CB Darrelle Revis is as good as a healthy Sherman, if not better, and he was signed as a free agent in the offseason specifically to not only get the Patriots to the Super Bowl but also help them win it.
Coaching: Last but certainly not least, Belichick is a future Hall of Fame coach whose legacy could depend on whether or not his team wins this game. A loss puts himself and Brady on a three-game losing streak in Super Bowls and will make many question how much they really cheated during their run together. But winning cures everything, and a fourth Super Bowl victory against two losses makes him one of the all-time greats.