Now, I hate both teams (for different reasons), and will probably watch just the bare minimum of the game because I'm still recovering from being sick all last week, and there's nothing else on. So I don't have a dog in this fight. But these really are the two best teams right now in the league, certainly the best in their respective conferences, peaking at the right time.
No team and quarterback has done more with less on-field talent and roster stability than Brady has with what the Patsies have given him. Without a marquee receiver for at least two straight seasons, and a revolving door of running backs and defensive backs, Brady has managed to keep New England in strong contention year after year. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has finally come back after a barrage of injuries and surgeries to post one of his best seasons, and the Patriots had solid numbers in all major offensive and defensive categories, again without a ton of elite talent. Under-inflated balls might help here and there, but most of New England's victories throughout the regular season were blowouts.
On the other hand, where the Patsies have been very good, the Seahawks have been great, especially on the defensive side of the ball, finishing first and third in pass and run yards allowed respectively. They also finished first in running the ball, thanks to a career year from media mute Marshawn Lynch. Lynch's performance art antics aside, his "Beast Mode" persona is more than just hype, as the hapless Green Bay Packers found out the hard way last week, after holding Seattle scoreless in the first half.
It makes sense that observers might see two evenly matched teams, but I believe a closer look will show one team on its way up (that would be Seattle), while the other is on its way down (at least in terms of its usual expectations). It's not hard to understand why some might still pick the Patsies to squeak this one out, but I don't see it; in fact, the only reason the Packers were able to hang on as long as they did last week was because of a barrage of very uncharacteristic Seahawk turnovers in the first half. Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse had two embarrassing passes clank right off his hands into the arms of Green Bay defenders last week, but he also has made some brilliant catches throughout the playoffs, including last week's game-winner in overtime.
So it won't be the skull-fucking the Seahawks put on the hapless Denver Broncos last year, and there will probably be some heroic comeback attempt by Brady late in the game, I'm putting $50 on Seattle and the over.
Final score: Seattle 33, New England 20.
[As always, backpedaling and ballsplaining will be after the game, depending on how entertaining Katy Perry's wardrobe malfunction turns out.]
[Update 10:30 PST: I don't think I've ever seen a team completely shit the bed quite this badly before in the big game, right up to the very end, culminating in what has to be the most all-time baffling play call ever. You have the best running back in the league and he's rolling hard, you're on the 1-yard line, with two timeouts and 30 seconds on the clock. Literally all Seattle had to do was give Marshawn Lynch three tries to punch it in. As soon as we saw them going into a shotgun formation the wife and I turned to each other and laughed, "What the fuck are they doing?". The brawl on the subsequent Patsies victory kneel-down was just icing on the cake; the Seahawks blew this thing even before that dumb play call, and they knew it. At the very least, that cost Russell Wilson a lot of money heading into his off-season contract negotiations.]