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Game Matchups: Darrelle Revis glued to Doug Baldwin?

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WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN


Finding a way to move the ball consistently on the ground may be essential if the Patriots want to leave Arizona with a victory. Their running game has been inconsistent, but could get a boost if rookie center Bryan Stork is anywhere near 100 percent healthy. Stork missed New England's victory over Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game with a knee injury. When the Patriots do run, expect 6-foot, 250-pound running back LeGarrette Blount to get most of the carries. It's been a feast-or-famine postseason for Blount, who was held to 1 yard on three rushing attempts against Baltimore, but ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 attempts in the victory over the Colts. Seattle's defense ranked third in the NFL against the run (81.5 yards per game). This is the matchup that will likely determine the outcome. ADVANTAGE: SEAHAWKS

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WHEN THE SEAHAWKS RUN


The Seahawks led the NFL in rushing during the regular season (172.6 yards per game), and containing Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch will be the No. 1 challenge for the New England defense. Lynch is a physical runner who led the league in yards gained after contact (771). He set a franchise record for yards rushing in a playoff game by gaining 157 against the Packers. The Seattle running game seems to get better as the game goes on. The Seahawks led all NFL teams by averaging 111 yards rushing after halftime, and Lynch averaged 5.13 yards per carry after the first two quarters. Quarterback Russell Wilson rushed for 849 yards during the regular season, which was the fifth-highest total by a QB in NFL history. ADVANTAGE: SEAHAWKS

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WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS


The Seahawks finished the regular season with the NFL's No. 1 defense in both points allowed and yards allowed. The Seattle secondary is exceptional, and helped the Seahawks defense finish first in the league in pass defense (185.6 yards per game) as well. The key matchup when the Patriots throw may be tight end Rob Gronkowski against strong safety Kam Chancellor. Chancellor is one of the few defensive backs in the league that has the size (6-foot-3, 232 pounds) to hold up against Gronkowski. Of course New England's passing game won't stand a chance if the offensive line doesn't turn in a top effort. It's an offensive line that's been exceptional at pass protection in some games, and not so exceptional at providing time for quarterback Tom Brady to survey the field in other contests. ADVANTAGE: SEAHAWKS

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WHEN THE SEAHAWKS PASS


The Patriots played man coverage as well as anyone in the NFL this season. They'll likely have cornerback Darrelle Revis glued to Doug Baldwin, Seattle's top receiver, and attempt to make the Seattle offense one-dimensional. Wilson operates behind an offensive line that's average at pass blocking, but he's good at extending plays with his feet and making something out of nothing. Expect the Patriots to apply pressure from the right side of Seattle's offensive line, where backup Alvin Bailey filled in for Justin Britt (knee) in the NFC Championship Game. Neither Bailey nor Britt is especially good at pass blocking. Wilson was intercepted four times during Seattle's victory over Green Bay. ADVANTAGE: PATRIOTS

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SPECIAL TEAMS


You could make a strong case that the Patriots had the best special teams units in the NFL this season. New England was particularly good at blocking kicks, two of which were potential game-winning field goals by the Jets. Julian Edelman provides the Patriots with a big-play threat on punt returns and Danny Amendola has been good since he took over as the team's primary kickoff returner. Covering kicks has been a weakness for the Seahawks, who rank near the bottom of the league in both punt and kickoff coverage. New England also ranked second among NFL teams in made field goals during the regular season. Stephen Gostkowski made 36 of his 38 field goal attempts. Seattle placekicker Steven Hauschka missed six of his 38 field goal attempts this season, but made two kicks from at least 50 yards. ADVANTAGE: PATRIOTS

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OTHER FACTORS


Each team enters the Super Bowl playing excellent football. The Patriots have won 12 of their last 14 contests, with one of the losses in a meaningless game (for New England) against Buffalo in Week 17. The Seahawks have won eight in a row and have allowed fewer than 10 points per game during that stretch. Seattle's winning streak began when linebacker Bobby Wagner returned from a foot injury. The game could be decided by turnovers. The Patriots and Seahawks are tied as the NFL's top teams in turnover margin since the 2012 season. Seattle became the first team since the 1982 Jets to win a playoff game despite turning the ball over five or more times when it beat Green Bay for the NFC title. Teams that win the turnover battle have a 36-3 record in the Super Bowl. ADVANTAGE: PATRIOTS

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