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Super Bowl XLIX: 5 keys to victory for the New England Patriots

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The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are preparing to face each other on Sunday night in Super Bowl 49, and they are very equally talented teams. Neither team is going to blow out the other, and it is expected to be a very entertaining game.

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Super Bowl XLIX: 5 keys to victory for the New England Patriots

1. Force Marshawn Lynch outside

Perhaps the most obviously key for the New England Patriots is to find a way to slow star running back Marshawn Lynch down. He took over the game for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, and is more than capable of doing the exact same thing against the Patriots. Against Green Bay, he ended up carrying the football 25 times for 157 yards and a touchdown.

New England cannot afford to let him run through the middle, or else they will suffer the same kind of fate. They need to force him to the outside and force him to make plays with speed rather than strength.

Lynch is still more than capable of making plays around the outside, but it would be much more difficult on him. Not allowing him to blow through holes in the middle also forces him to run farther, and hopefully wear him out. The Patriots have the defensive ability to slow Lynch down, and this is the best way to do it.

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

2. Establish LeGarrette Blount early

LeGarrette Blount was signed by the New England Patriots mid-season after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers due to walking off the field before a game was completed. He wasn’t happy with the way that he was being used, and he decided to return to the Patriots to make another run at a title.

That move paid off in a big way in the AFC Championship game, when Blount ran all over the Colts for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. New England is normally thought of as a passing team with Tom Brady under center, but that wasn’t the case against Indianapolis. They will need to establish the ground game early against the Seattle defense in order to take pressure off of Brady and the aerial attack.

There is no question that Blount possesses the ability and running style to succeed against the Seahawks. New England needs to set the tempo offensively in order to succeed, and picking up the consistent three to four yards on first down will be crucial. That will be Blount’s role, and he is more than capable of producing.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

3. Put pressure on Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks showed some major weaknesses in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, and Russell Wilson played one of the worst games of his career. He ended up throwing four interceptions, and that was in large part due to the pressure that the Packers were able to put on him.

That is exactly what the New England Patriots’ defense is going to have to find a way to do. Wilson is a very normal quarterback when he is contained and pressured, and Green Bay proved that last week. The Patriots have the personnel to get the job done, but they are going to need everyone to step up in a big way.

Players like Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, and Akeem Ayers are going to be asked to step up in a big way among others.

If the Patriots can force a Seahawks’ turnover or two, they are going to be in good shape. New England is a much more aggressive team than the Packers, and they won’t allow a big lead to slip away if they can jump on Seattle earlier. Putting pressure on Wilson and forcing him to make a mistake or two needs to be a big part of the Seahawks’ game plan on Sunday.

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

4. No risk taking by Tom Brady

Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks of All-Time, and he is looking to take his legacy forward another step. He is already one of the best Super Bowl quarterbacks to ever play, and with another win could take yet another step towards the number one overall ranking in NFL history.

In order to win another ring, however, Brady is going to have to find a way to battle a very talented Seattle Seahawks’ defense. They have been well-known for their playmaking ability, and they forced Aaron Rodgers to throw two interceptions in their NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Brady cannot afford to throw interceptions, but that is going to be easier said than done.

Seattle has extremely dominant players in their secondary like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor. All three of those players are capable of making any play on the field, which makes Brady’s job extremely difficult on Sunday night. He simply cannot afford to take risks, and will need to take what the defense gives him.

Having a big target like Rob Gronkowski is going to be an advantage for the Patriots, but the Seahawks are going to do everything they can to slow him down. That would leave Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell as Brady’s top two targets. Brady has to take care of the football at all costs, and cannot afford to make dangerous throws.

Playing cautious football while still not playing scared is difficult, but the Patriots have a great coaching staff and they will figure out a way to attack the Seahawks and still take care of the ball.

(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

5. Keep the pedal to the metal

The Green Bay Packers know that they should be preparing to take on the New England Patriots, but Mike McCarthy decided to play not to lose and it cost them the game. New England cannot afford to make that same mistake against the Seattle Seahawks, and they have to keep playing aggressive football until the final whistle sounds.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are not likely to let their feet off the gas pedal if they get up on the Seahawks, but it is still an easy trap to fall into.

Seattle is the type of hard-nosed team that will never accept defeat. Teams that beat them are the teams that play with the same mentality and play like they are losing the game even if they are blowing their opponents out. That will have to be New England’s mentality heading into Sunday night.

Needless to say, this is going to be a very intense football game between two very intense football teams. New England knows what it will take to knock off the defending champions, and they are ready to take on the challenge. There are plenty more things that they need to focus on, but these five are going to be major keys for them.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots are also going through a lot of drama with the "Deflate-Gate" scandal, and that could have taken some of their focus away from the game on Sunday.

All of that being said, these are the five keys the Patriots need to focus on in particular in order to come out with a win over the Seahawks.

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For more sports coverage, please visit and follow Evan Massey on Twitter: @massey_evan
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