NFL Week 10: Goss’ three good things, three bad things and one thing to watch

photo: Getty Images

By Anthony Goss

Last week, I noted that the Steelers had a small COVID-19 outbreak within their organization, and one of those exposed was QB Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger basically did not practice all week and attended zoom meetings online.

Despite this hindrance, he was able to take the field Sunday, and his performance (333 yards and four touchdowns) dismantled the Cincinnati Bengals defense. This has been a strong year for the veteran QB, and he has shown how much the Steelers missed him last season. This year, the Steelers (9-0) are strong on both sides of the ball, but Roethlisberger should be the unquestionable leader for comeback player of the year.  

Three Good Things 

Cardinals Win on a Prayer 

Sometimes, a football game comes down to great players making great plays. 

Bills QB Josh Allen capped off a seemingly game-winning drive with a great throw to WR Stefon Diggs with 34 seconds left in the game. Then, wit htwo seconds remaining, QB Kyler Murray avoided a defender to scramble left, heaving the ball into the end zone right into the enormous hands of WR DeAndre Hopkins.

There is a lot to pick at for Buffalo, whether that be the porous defense against Murray, or Allen’s costly interceptions that led to the team’s blown lead, but at the end of the day, Arizona’s best players made an outstanding play. Murray has been outstanding this year, and his dual-threat ability has given defenses fits. The win vaulted the Cardinals into first place in the NFC West division, setting them up for a rematch against the reeling Seahawks in Seattle on Thursday night.  

Brady and the Bucs Bounce Back 

When the Buccaneers are not playing the Saints, they look like one of the best teams in football. QB Tom Brady rebounded after one of his worst games by throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, adding another on a quarterback sneak. 

All of the talented weapons on the perimeter for Tampa Bay got involved, including WR Antonio Brown, who posted seven receptions for 69 yards. His progress going forward could make this offense even more dangerous. Carolina looked completely outmatched as the Bucs defense buckled down in the second half after allowing seventeen points and a couple big plays in the first half. The Buccaneers now turn to a Monday night tilt against the Los Angeles Rams, which will be an important game for wild card seeding. 

Colts take Control on Thursday Night 

After a disappointing effort against the Ravens, the Colts had a short week to prepare for the Titans and RB Derrick Henry, but they were up for the challenge. The Titans outgained the Colts on the ground, but the Colts defense stifled QB Ryan Tannehill in the air.

RB Nyhiem Hines accounted for 115 total yards and two touchdowns to lead the way for a Colts offense coming off of a bad outing against Baltimore. A blocked-punt touchdown gave the Colts separation in the third, and after another touchdown in the fourth, the Colts held on to win 34-17. After a hot start, Tennessee has cooled off and now Indianapolis has the edge in the AFC for the foreseeable future.  

Three Bad Things 

Seahawks Start to Fade 

Seattle rode the play of QB Russell Wilson to a fast start, but as the competition has picked up, the Seahawks have now lost three of four and some major flaws have come to light.

Seattle has a porous defense giving up the most yards per game in the league, most of those coming through the air. All of the Rams’ touchdowns came on the ground, but QB Jared Goff threw for 302 yards to eight different receivers. The Seahawks have been able to mask the defensive woes with the play of Wilson; on Sunday though, the Rams kept him out of rhythm by forcing horrible reads and some bad turnovers. 

Wilson’s play was poor, but there was not any help coming from another source against Los Angeles. The Seahawks offensive line allowed six sacks, and Wilson’s best target, WR DK Metcalf, struggled to get open against one of the league’s top defenders in CB Jalen Ramsey. It’s a quick turnaround for the Seahawks, who host the Cardinals on Thursday night, but Seattle has never lost three games in a row with Russell Wilson under center. 

Eagles Blow Another Divisional Matchup 

There will be an NFC East team hosting a playoff game, and surprisingly, it still might be the Eagles. In a must win game to create separation in this horrible division, the Eagles looked awful. QB Carson Wentz took care of the ball, but his 208 passing yards were nothing of substance.

Coaching has been a gripe in Philadelphia for a while, and Sunday only furthered those frustrations. Head coach Doug Pederson brought his team out of the bye week flat, and he mismanaged several third down and fourth down scenarios. The decision to go for two when the Eagles were down by four was a bad one to put it lightly. 

Philly needed this game, as it has a gauntlet of tough matchups upcoming: at Cleveland, Seattle, at Green Bay, New Orleans, and at Arizona. If they can steal one of those games and finish strong in the division, the Eagles should be able to host a Wild Card game, but they have a lot of work to do. 

Ugly Weather, Ugly Night for Baltimore 

As the rain poured down in Foxborough, so did the Patriots run game on a strong Baltimore defense. Baltimore gave up 173 yards against the Patriots, well above their season average. QB Lamar Jackson had a nice showing with 249 yards and two touchdowns and one pick, but the Baltimore offense lacks the flare it showed last season.

Penalties were another killer in this game, as the Ravens finished with eight for 64 yards. There’s no cause for panic in Charm City in terms of playoff hopes, but hopes of reclaiming the AFC North dwindled with their loss on Sunday night 

Keep an Eye On…. 

Wild Card Race in the AFC 

To this point in the season, the AFC runs nine deep with teams contending for playoff spots and records of at least 6-3. The NFL added an extra playoff spot this season in each conference, but there will still be two solid teams left out of the postseason come January.

Watching the playoff picture come together will be intriguing as these teams contend for playoff spots and division crowns. A notable matchup of this group will take place next Sunday when the Titans travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.  

NFL WEEK 8: Goss’ three good things, three bad things and one thing to watch

photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

By Anthony Goss

Sunday marked the midpoint of the strangest NFL season in history. 

The league has felt the impact of the Coronavirus and has moved games around to fit the needed changes. Despite the weekly outbreaks, most usually in small numbers, the NFL has arguably handled this situation well. While games and bye weeks fluctuate, no cancellations have occurred. 

Testing has been crucial, and contact tracing with it. In some states, fans have been able to attend games in pods. With another half of the season still to go, as well as the playoffs, the NFL has navigated this season as safely as possible without the benefits of a bubble.  

Three Good Things 

Steelers Stay Undefeated 

The victory was not pretty, but the Steelers managed to steal a big divisional game in Baltimore. The Ravens gashed Pittsburgh’s run defense for 265 yards and kept the Steelers offense out of the end zone in the first half. 

The second half told a different story, as the Steelers put together the pieces on offense, QB Ben Roethlisberger tossed two touchdowns and RB James Conner ran one in as well. Despite their inability to stop the Baltimore running game on Sunday, the defense continuously made big plays and kept the pressure on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Pittsburgh’s defense finished the day with four sacks, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions, one of which LB Robert Spillane returned for a touchdown. 

One more stat that fell under the radar was the penalty yardage of each team: Pittsburgh tallied three penalties for thirty yards, but Baltimore finished with six penalties for 110 yards. In an ugly grudge match, the discipline instilled by head coach Mike Tomlin prevailed, but the Steelers (7-0) have lots of room to improve.  

DK Dominates the Niners 

Thinking back to the criticisms of WR DK Metcalf leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, experts could not have been more wrong.

Metcalf showed flashes of talent in his rookie season, but this year he has asserted himself as a future star in the league. Besides a down game in Arizona last week, Metcalf has not finished a game this season with less than 90 receiving yards; Sunday’s matchup against San Francisco showcased all the talents of the star receiver. On a hitch route, Metcalf caught a pass and dashed across the field, running past the secondary for his first score. Metcalf scored again on a goal-to-go play with a defender draped over him, using his size and strength to seal the defender and secure the catch. 

His size combined with speed make him such a tough cover for defenses and the perfect weapon for QB Russell Wilson. For years, Wilson has managed to carry the Seattle offense with receivers ranging from average to good in skill level, but Metcalf stands out among the others. Metcalf should continue to put up high numbers next week as the Seahawks travel to Buffalo in what should be a high-scoring matchup.  

Colts Keep Winning 

The Indianapolis Colts are an underappreciated team that has shown the ability to do a lot of things well. In an impressive showing on Sunday, QB Philip Rivers led the Colts to a necessary win against the Detroit Lions. 

Despite the injury to WR TY Hilton, Rivers made plenty of plays in the passing game and completed passes to eleven different receivers. RB Jordan Wilkins stepped up in the run game as well, finishing with eighty-nine yards and one touchdown on twenty carries. The final score shows a twenty-point victory for the Colts, but with just under three minutes in the third quarter, LB Darius Leonard’s strip sack of Lions QB Matthew Stafford halted a Detroit drive and ultimately boosted the Colts to a 41-21 victory. 

Defense continues to be the calling card for this team, which gave up only twenty-nine rushing yards and returned an interception for a touchdown. Quietly, the Colts’ 5-2 record has them tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South and in prime position to secure a playoff spot. The Colts will be tested in the coming weeks though, as they will face Baltimore, Green Bay, and Tennessee twice within the next four weeks.  

Three Bad Things 

Titans Take Another Loss 

Following a tough home loss against Pittsburgh, the Tennessee Titans fell once again in Cincinatti. Through the last few weeks, many of the Titans’ issues have come on the defensive end. Hidden in their historic 5-0 start was the absurd number of points given to arguably bad teams in their winning efforts. Lately, these problems have really come to light and cost them two consecutive games. 

QB Joe Burrow shined for Cincinnati with 249 yards and two touchdowns, taking care of the ball, as well. RB Derrick Henry put in another solid one-hundred-yard performance, but it was not enough for the Titans in a 31-20 loss. The Bengals built a lead in the first half by controlling the time of possession and keeping the Titans defense on the field. Despite the problems Sunday’s matchup presented, the Titans should fare well going forward. Offense can still win games for the Titans. 

QB Ryan Tannehill has been good this season, and their run game, led by Henry, has been outstanding. The acquisition of Chargers DB Desmond King should provide a boost to the secondary once he passes COVID-19 protocols and takes the field. The Titans host the Bears on Sunday, but a big divisional matchup against the Colts on the following Thursday looms large.  

Bad Offense Bears 

After a solid 5-1 start, the Bears have had a rapid fall from grace. The offense has been abysmal, especially in the last two games and a noticeable disconnect between the players and coaches has appeared, mainly between QB Nick Foles and head coach Matt Nagy.

WR Allen Robinson also distanced himself on the sideline Sunday, appearing frustrated with the lack of passes thrown his way. On the field, Foles missed on many throws and struggled with the pressure from the Saints defense, making many throws off his back foot. The offensive scheme was inconsistent and fell apart as the game went on. The success of the Bears seems predicated on the play of the defense, but this plan fails without an offense that can score consistently and give the defense manageable field position.

Sitting at 5-3 is not the end of the world by any stretch, but Chicago needs to put together more complete offensive performances to stay in the playoff race. The question remains is if they have the right quarterback to do so. 

Cam Fumbles Away a Prime Opportunity 

After several weeks of poor performances, the Patriots found themselves in position to steal a crucial win in Buffalo on Sunday. Deep in Buffalo territory late in the fourth quarter, New England was looking to run the clock and score a game-winning touchdown, or at least send the game into overtime. On a designed quarterback run, QB Cam Newton fumbled the ball inside the red zone and handed the Bills the game. 

For the Bills, they finally exercised their demons against the Patriots. As for New England, it blew a prime opportunity in a must win game. Against Seattle, Denver, and Buffalo, the Patriots have had chances to win but have not been able to finish, resulting in a 2-5 record and one of the longest losing streaks in recent memory. 

Newton’s performance exceeded those from the previous two games, but the costly turnover against a division rival stings and could spell trouble for the Patriots playoff hopes and his future.  

Keep an Eye On…. 

Dolphins Sudden Success 

After the Dolphins throttled the Rams on Sunday, fans should keep an eye on Miami in the coming weeks. The decision to switch quarterbacks was a strange one, since QB Ryan Fitzpatrick provides more stability on offense.

Nonetheless, the Dolphins have held their own against some of the better teams in the NFL, and an upset win in Arizona next week could enhance their presence on the national stage.  

NFL WEEK 3 COLUMN: Three good things, three bad things and one thing to watch

photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

By Anthony Goss

Week 3 of the NFL season carried on some of the same dramatic flair seen in Week 2 (no, this is not just the Falcons blowing two 15-point leads in the fourth quarter). 

Ranging from last-second touchdowns to unfortunate mistakes, Sunday’s slew of games highlighted the success of a few great players, but also boiled the frustrations of the fanbases watching their teams continue to struggle, including the Vikings, Texans and Jets, just to name a few.

Week 3 also had a significant decrease in major injuries, which is a major plus after the notable amount of injuries sustained by big name players in Week 2. Here are three good things, three bad things and one thing to keep an eye on heading into Week 4.  

THREE GOOD THINGS 

Josh Allen Circles the Wagons 

This take may not be new to the fans in western New York, but after Sunday’s outing against the Rams, it is time for the rest of the league to take the Bills, and specifically quarterback Josh Allen, more seriously.

Give credit to the Rams for finding their way back from a 28-3 deficit to retake the lead, but this game was about Allen. In a marquee game, he delivered big time for the Bills, throwing for 311 yards and 4 TD, and running for one more. 

After the Rams took the lead with 4:30 left in the game, Allen marched down the field with a couple of huge throws to wide receiver Cole Beasley and capped off the 75-yard drive with a toss to tight end Tyler Kroft to seal the game.

Last week, the Bills found themselves down against the Miami Dolphins and Allen delivered. The Rams are a much better team than the Dolphins, but Allen’s poise has been mostly consistent against all opponents this year. If he can keep up this level of play, the Bills (3-0) can become real contenders in a loaded AFC.  

Russell Wilson is leading the MVP discussion 

There is not much else to say about Russell Wilson this season except that he has been stellar. Once again, Wilson showed he is operating on a different level, as he dissected and depleted a talent-lacking Cowboys defense to the tune of 315 yards, 5 TD and a passer rating of 130.7 in a 38-31 victory for the Seahawks.

Seattle’s offense has been electric this season with Wilson at the helm, posting over 30 points in each game. Somehow, Wilson has not received the MVP award in the past, despite his role in carrying the franchise successfully for many years, but that could change this season.

Wilson will need to keep posting similar numbers and playing at this level for the Seahawks to stay atop a daunting NFC West.  

49ers Complete Big Apple Sweep 

The 49ers arguably have been plagued the most by injuries early this season.

On Sunday, San Francisco took the field without Raheem Mostert, George Kittle or Jimmy Garoppolo, and still managed to hang 36 points on the New York Giants. The 49ers win on Sunday was an impressive response after an adverse week where several key players went down, including defensive end Joey Bosa, who may be gone for the rest of the season.

Squashing two of the worst teams back to back seems like a minor headline, but San Francisco will be glad to gather up wins like these to keep pace in the best division in pro football.  

THREE BAD THINGS 

Turn Up the Heat on the ATL Hot Seat 

If the NFL played three quarters, the Falcons would be sitting at 2-1 and tied for the lead in the NFC South. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and head coach Dan Quinn’s team has struggled mightily the last two weeks to finish football games.

After their debacle in Dallas, the Falcons headed home for what most thought would be a game for them to get back on track. Taking a 26-10 lead into the fourth quarter, it seemed like they were in a good spot.

Then, Nick Foles came in at quarterback for Mitchell Trubisky (which may be a permanent change). Foles rallied the Bears with three scores in the fourth, sending Twitter into another frenzy and the Falcons to a record of 0-3.

Granted, the team was without Pro Bowl wideout Julio Jones, but the defense struggled down the stretch and the offense could not make any winning plays to put the game out of reach. 

To make matters worse, Atlanta travels to Green Bay next Monday night to play a team averaging over 40 points per game. If Quinn fails to have his team ready, Aaron Rodgers and a potent Packers offense will not hesitate to send them to 0-4. 

NFC (L)EAST 

Once again, the NFC East is the worst division in football.

Starting at the top (surprisingly), the Washington Football Team is a young group not expected to do much, but quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the offense turned the ball over five times against the Browns. Defensive lineman Chase Young also went down with a groin injury, but it should not keep him out of action for a significant amount of time. 

Dallas has shown some good in the early stages of the Mike McCarthy era, but a lot more disappointment. Kellen Moore’s play calling has come into question on offense, but the defense has been nothing short of atrocious. Byron Jones’ departure has hurt the secondary, which has a myriad of injuries and inconsistent play from young players has resulted in Mike Nolan’s bunch giving up an average of 277 pass yards per game and 32.3 points per game.

Dak Prescott has played well for the most part, but a banged-up offensive line has underperformed expectations. There is time for the Cowboys to try and fix some of these issues, but this team has disappointed in the early stages of the season.

The Eagles disappointed once again, unable to beat Joe Burrow and the Bengals at home. Carson Wentz continued to struggle and turn the ball over, adding two more interceptions to his season total, but managed to run for a touchdown that ended up being the last score in a 23-23 tie.

The Eagles are a bad football team, but the Giants look even worse, sitting at 0-3. Losing running back Saquon Barkley has not helped, but their offense is extremely lacking so far, ranking near the bottom of the league in team offense and only averaging 272.3 yards on offense.

Despite this horrendous start for the division, Dallas still looks like the best team and should win the division, but whoever wins may not finish with a record over .500.  

Cooldown for Kyler 

The Lions shocking victory fell a little under the radar Sunday afternoon, as Matt Prater booted Detroit to its first win of the season.

More than anything, this game showed second-year quarterback Kyler Murray still has lots of room to grow. Murray threw for 270 and two touchdowns, but his three interceptions proved costly for the Cardinals.

Murray has been electric this season, and his touchdown run exemplified this explosiveness, but Sunday showed some flaws he has as a young quarterback.

Murray rushed some throws and made some poor reads, but these mistakes take very little away from him as a player. If anything, he will use this game as a lesson to grow. 

The Cardinals are still a very talented group, and Murray’s connection with newly aquired wideout Deandre Hopkins continues to demonstrate the incompetence of Texans coach Bill O’Brien (who infamously traded Hopkins away).

Regardless, Kliff Kingsbury’s team is an exciting storyline early in the season and should play a role in shaping the NFC playoff picture. Sitting at 2-1, the Cardinals now head out of the desert for a three-game road trip against teams all with losing records.  

Keep an Eye On: Status of Michael Thomas 

The New Orleans Saints sit at 1-2 after falling to the Packers on Sunday night. While a single WR should not be the deciding factor for a Drew Brees-led offense, Thomas’ presence has certainly been missed. 

Thomas, the NFL’s leading receiver a year ago, has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain.

Thomas presents a downfield threat for the Saints that other wideouts on the roster just can’t provide. The offense was better against Green Bay than it was against Vegas a week ago, but if the Saints are going to win the NFC South and an aging Drew Brees can be the best version of himself, Thomas needs to be on the field. 

The Saints have other issues besides the missing Thomas-Brees connection, but having him back will elevate Brees’ game and take the pressure off of running back Alvin Kamara to provide in the passing game. The Saints head to Detroit next week and will try to get back to .500 as Thomas’ injury status remains in question. 

NFL WEEK 2 COLUMN: Allen leads Bills, Chargers can’t finish, league fines coaches for mask violations

photo: Eric Espada/Getty Images

By Nic Gelyon

Josh Allen now has two plays that Bills fans may never forget. 

T-shirt worthy plays, if you will. 

First, the game: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who completed 65% of his passes only three times in 2019, now has a 70.37 completion percentage through two games in 2020.

Allen threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in Buffalo’s 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, a game in which the Bills were missing Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano: two of their key defensive players.

Now, the play. 

It was not an incredibly important time in the game. The Bills were up 17-7 with a minute and two seconds left in the first half. 

Facing a third down from their own 33-yard line, Allen dropped back to throw and proceeded to escape from the Miami defensive front to his left. 

Anyone who has ever seen Josh Allen run knows the Dolphins were now in trouble. Allen still looked to pass, though, and pump-faked before realizing he was out of options.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy barreled ahead at Allen, and after colliding head-on, they were both headed for the ground. Allen’s hands met Van Noy’s chest while Van Noy’s arms surrounded his shoulders. A perfect tackle in the making.

Allen’s down… But he’s not.

Van Noy loses his grip on Allen, who is still standing but almost on the ground himself. The perfect combination of flash and might, Allen proceeds to run right through Emmanuel Ogbah, and into the arms of several other Dolphins defenders.  

We don’t need to talk about the fact that Allen could have destroyed his throwing arm on this play, or that he almost fumbled the ball toward the end.  

Allen, if he continues to be a combination of physical dominance and passion for his team, showed Sunday afternoon that he may just be unstoppable. And he never showed it more than with one minute to play in the half, deep in his own zone, up by ten against a mediocre Dolphins team.  

That speaks volumes.

TO THE WEST, the Los Angeles Chargers – for the umpteenth year in a row – continue to suffer massive collapses at the end of games.  

They did it again on Sunday. The Chargers, up 17-0 against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, let KC score 17 unanswered points before allowing a last-minute Harrison Butker field goal to win it for the Chiefs in overtime.  

This was always an issue that fell on the lap of former Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, or Mike McCoy, or Marty Schottenheimer. Any one of the Chargers’ old guard. 

But they aren’t in Los Angeles – or San Diego – anymore.  

So, who is to blame for the Chargers’ misfortune? I personally tend to believe that teams have a personality. The Patriots are smarter than you. The Seahawks are tougher than you. The Rams are flashier than you.  

The Chargers cannot finish a close game. 

I RETWEETED ESPN’s Adam Schefter Sunday night, after he jokingly said that Seattle and New England were winning awards for ‘best drama’.  

He’s not lying though.  

“Sunday Night Football’ gets it right, it seems, every single weekend. And I understand that it’s the NFL who decides which primetime games go to which network, and that they seem to give the best games to NBC. 

But the NFL puts those games on Sunday night because of the effort NBC puts in to making their broadcast better than everyone else’s. 

By the way, Sunday Night Football has won 10 “Outstanding Live Sports Series” Emmys over the past 12 years. And, per Deadline, they beat the Emmys in the ratings by about 7 million viewers Sunday night. 

SUNDAY afternoon, the NFL, guns a-blazing, up and fined Kyle Shanahan, Vic Fangio, and Pete Carroll for not wearing masks during their respective games. 

All three wore neck gaiters, well, around their neck. All while continuing to prowl the sidelines. 

This raises a few questions: one, should the NFL ban the neck gaiter? Because it’s obviously become more of a scarf than a protection device for NFL coaches.  

Two: what’s the issue with the neck gaiter and the headset? Can you not communicate through a gaiter for some reason? I ask because I find I can hear and talk just fine through a gaiter. And you know, I can do the same through a regular mask, as well.  

A point I saw all over NFL Twitter on Sunday night was, that shouldn’t the NFL have called to teams during these games to get coaches to put their masks on?  

The answer, for me at least, is no. Because the NFL is allowing fans into stadiums, and lots of them. Because the NFL doesn’t – and never will – care about the optics of anything they do. Because the NFL is consistently late to the party on the issues that matter most, to their players and their fanbase.  

Because no matter how long we had to watch Pete Carroll’s gum-chewing, mask-less face parading the sidelines Sunday night, nothing was going to take the wider, general focus off the football game. And that is what makes the NFL indestructible. 

Intrepid Sports Super Bowl Picks

By The Intrepid sports staff

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and the Patriots and Seahawks are ready to face off! Our sports staff made their predictions for the big game:

Anthony Sambrotto: As much as this pains me as a diehard Bills fan, I feel like the Patriots are the stronger team in this year’s Super Bowl. Tom Brady knows this may be his final chance to win the big game, and he has the weapons surrounding him for a chance to pull off his elusive fourth Super Bowl win. For that to happen (LeGarrette) Blount needs to continue his amazing stretch and the Patriots need to stop (Marshawn) Lynch and force Seattle to throw the ball.​​

Trystan Rushia: The champs will be the Seattle Seahawks. Every sports news show has been all about the “deflategate” with the New England Patriots, but that has nothing to do with the Seahawks and their defense. The Seahawks defense is called the “Legion of Boom” for a reason. Sherman may be injured, but he is not the only part. Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas will step up their game for the injured Sherman. Chancellor is going to have another Superbowl interception, and the “Legion of Boom” and the “12th Man” are going to get to the Patriots and Tom Brady. Deflated balls won’t help Brady this time. Seattle takes the Lombardi back to Seattle by a score of 33-27.

Joshua Svetz: Both teams are solid, but what it comes down to is total defense and offensive turnovers. Going off of which defense is playing the best in the playoffs, it’s the Patriots. The Pats allowed 637 yards combined versus the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. Compare that to the Seahawks who gave up over 300 yards in each playoff game, totaling 668 total yards against in the playoffs. Offensively, the most telling stat is turnovers. The Patriots have only turned the ball over twice while the Seahawks have turned the ball over five times so far in the playoffs. For these reasons, I’m going with the Patriots to edge it out in a close one, 24-20.

Jeff Fasoldt: These two teams could not be any more opposite of each other. You have Belichick’s Patriots who’ve seen their dynasty become marred by constant accusations and evidence of cheating. Still, you cannot overlook the competitiveness and winning attitude of Tom Brady and this New England Team. The Seahawks are a team that thrives on their defense, especially their hard-hitting secondary. Their head coach, Pete Carroll, is known more for his off-field friendships with celebrities than what he’s done for this Seattle Seahawks team. However, the Seahawks will be back-to-back champions after it’s all said and done Sunday. This Seahawks defense is still the best in the league and Tom Brady doesn’t have the elusiveness to avoid the rush that (Seahawks coach Pete) Carroll will no doubt be sending. It’s going to be a close game throughout unlike last years super bowl, but the Seahawks win again, 34-24.

Jason Klaiber: My strongest premonitions tell me that the Patriots, with their deflated balls in stock, will snag the victory in this year’s Super Bowl. It’s hard to argue that this will be a matchup between two absolute powerhouses, and it’s easy to assume that it’ll be an enthralling game. Defeating two of the league’s most distinguished quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (and in consecutive years no less!) is a feat that seems unlikely to me. The Patriots’ defense isn’t far behind the Seahawks’ in my opinion, and to add on to that, New England’s offense exceeds that of Seattle. If Tom Brady and his boys can put on a show as dominating and exhilarating as their run through the AFC playoffs, particularly their dismantling of the Colts, and the defense can repress Marshawn Lynch, they’ll overpower the Seahawks in convincing fashion.

Chuckie Maggio: I’m going with the Seahawks. One of the key things that was lost in the Patriots’ two Super Bowl losses against the Giants was how much New England struggled against the dominant New York defense. Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora made Tom Brady feel extremely uncomfortable in the pocket, forcing plenty of sacks and rushed throws. This Seattle defense doesn’t have as big of a pass rush, but they are just as dominant. It will be a close contest, but the Patriots defense doesn’t have that big-play ability when the game is on the line. They’ll get a big stop when they need it the most, Russell Wilson will cap off a game-winning drive with a touchdown pass to Luke Willson and Seattle will repeat. 24-20 Seahawks