The Patriots last lost in a meaningless Week 17 contest to the Buffalo Bills (and on November 30 to Green Bay in a game that actually mattered); in their two playoff games since, they've scored a combined 80 points in a close win over Baltimore (35-31 in the divisional round) and a throttling of Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game two weekends ago. They enter the Super Bowl with the No. 11-ranked offense in the NFL, and their underrated defense ranks No. 13.
The Seahawks, like the Patriots, enter the big game as the No. 1 seed in their conference and are on an eight-game winning streak, having held home-field advantage against Carolina (31-17 in the divisional round) and Green Bay in an epic NFC Championship Game (a come-from-behind, 28-22 overtime thriller) to make it to the dance. They're a run-first team on offense, ranked No. 9 in the NFL, and they also field what is widely considered to be the best defense in football (yes, ranked No. 1, and by a rather wide margin).
Bill Belichick versus Pete Carroll. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski versus The Legion of Boom. Marshawn Lynch versus Vince Wilfork and the Patriots' run defense. Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Devin McCourty versus Russell Wilson. This game is chock-full of interesting characters and great players and coaches, and unlike last year's Super Bowl blowout, this has the look of a game that will go right down to the wire.
Use this as your open thread for Super Bowl XLIX, friends. Who do you like? (I'll take the Seahawks to repeat, 27-19.) Who are you rooting for? Enjoy the last pro football game for six months, Bills fans!