Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

7 Things to Watch : Seahawks vs. Patriots; Patriots Have No Choice but to Focus on Seahawks' Lynch

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

7 Things to Watch : Seahawks vs. Patriots; Patriots Have No Choice but to Focus on Seahawks' Lynch

Article excerpt

SUPER BOWL XLIX: NEW ENGLAND VS. SEATTLE, 5:30 P.M. SUNDAY, KSDK (CH. 5)

FOCUSING ON LYNCH

Marshawn Lynch's ongoing media "feud" has become laughable, basically a marketing tool for Lynch to get his name out there and increase his brand. However, no one on the New England defense will be laughing on Super Bowl Sunday. Every time Lynch has the football he runs as if it's his last carry. Since the start of the 2011 season, he has more rushing yards (5,357) and more touchdowns (56) than anyone in the game. Rest assured, the focal point of coach Bill Belichick's defensive game plan for the Patriots is to stop Lynch. Load the box, gang tackle and trust your gifted cornerbacks, Darrelle Revis and ex-Seahawk Brandon Browner, to blanket the Seattle wide receivers.

THE GRONK

If Seattle has the best running back in the game in Lynch, the Patriots boast the NFL's top tight end in Rob Gronkowski. The last thing the Seahawks want to see is a couple of those thunder spikes in the end zone after Gronkowski touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how Seattle attempts to cover him. A linebacker won't work; it almost never does against Gronkowski's combination of speed, size, and athletic ability. It's even debatable whether strong safety Kam Chancellor can hang with him coverage isn't his strong suit. So that leaves free safety Earl Thomas or one of the Seattle cornerbacks. In the AFC title game, the Colts used cornerbacks against him with some success.

LEGION OF BOOM

The health of this talented group bears watching. In the NFC title game, Thomas suffered a dislocated shoulder and cornerback Richard Sherman finished the game playing with one arm because of a hyper-extended elbow. And late in Friday's practice, Chancellor fell near the end of practice and tweaked his left knee. All three stars are listed as probable, but let's see how they hold up over the course of what figures to be a physical game. …

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