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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM


Can we — for the moment — take your mind away from Deflate-Gate?
Good, ‘cause there’s only so much air in a story about so much air and you didn’t really think you were gonna a straight story from either New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick or star QB Tom Brady … now did you?

The bottom line is the show must go on and so that means expect the brainiacs that work for the National Football League practically will have armed guards monitoring the air pressure of the footballs to be used in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1st in Glendale (AZ) when the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks hook up in a battle of #1 seeds -- and darn if Belichick, Brady and Company attempt to sneak a pin onto the sidelines to do some serious deflating during the national anthem.

We’re kidding, Patriots’ fans!
Okay, so staying with Brady as a co-storyline here along with Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson, let’s sling around some keys stats with both signal-callers and what you may want to watch for come Super Bowl 49:

TOM BRADY, New England Patriots (14-4) — You might recall that the opening month of the 2014 season was one of stops and starts for the 37-year-old Brady who wound up getting his Patriots to rank “only” ninth in the NFL in passing offense (257.6 yards per game) and when you dig into his post-season numbers you’ll find Brady has completed 56-of-85 passes for 593 yards with 6 TDs and 2 INTs while scoring a solid 99.8 QB Rating.

It’s worth mentioning that Brady has been sacked a total of three times in the post-season home wins against Baltimore and Indianapolis but just how has he fared the past three years overall — the same length of time Seattle’s Wilson has been in the league?
Well, the Patriots are 40-14 SU (straight-up) for a .741 winning rate the past three seasons and they are 29-25 ATS (against the spread) for a .537 winning percentage during this time frame with Brady at the helm since the very start of the 2012 season and note that includes 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS marks in playoff games.

Brady vs The Seahawks defense — Lots already being made about whether or not the three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback will “challenge” Seattle CB Richard Sherman — don’t you just love that whole “You mad ‘bro?” bit from their 2012 showdown! — but the way we see it the really big question is just how often will Brady tangle with this Seattle secondary over the middle and deep with trusty TE Rob Gronkowski and will those short-distance slant chucks to WR Julian Edelman (and WR Danny Amendola) be available or will Seattle DBs draw closer to the line of scrimmage and take away those particular throws?

RUSSELL WILSON, Seattle Seahawks — Okay, so let’s see how this third-year whiz has fared numbers-wise:
The Seahawks with Wilson are a composite 42-13 SU for a resounding .764 winning rate and 37-18 ATS for a .673 winning percentage since the start of the 2012 campaign.

You read it right — both the SU and ATS marks for Wilson are better than the ones for Brady (hey, both ain’t bad!) and we’ll add here that Seattle is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in post-season tilts under Wilson and those are better-than-Brady numbers as well.

Overall, Seattle ranked just 27th in the NFL in passing offense while averaging 203.1 yards per game via the air waves and in the home playoff wins against Carolina and Green Bay, Wilson’s stats include 29-of-51 completions for 477 yards with 4 TDs and 4 INTs and a subpar QB Rating of just 81.9.   

Obviously, Wilson’s accuracy was a major issue for 57-or-so minutes in that NFC Championship Game non-cover win against the Packers (his receivers also dropped at least a half-dozen passes) and the truth is Wilson’s 14 carries for 47 yards and 1 TD really isn’t anything to write home about and so you could make the case that the Seahawks are here at Super Bowl 49 with a quarterback who played better in the regular season than he’s played thus far in the post season.

Wilson vs. The Patriots defense — The Seahawks have had just 17 receptions by wide receivers this post season (they’ve actually been targeted 29 times) and so even though the likes of WRs Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse — the latter catching the OT game-winning TD against Green Bay last Sunday afternoon — have not been big factors this post-season, gotta believe they’ll be way important here even if that means Wilson has to go mano-to-mano with CB Darrelle Revis. Just no way will the Seahawks be able to get that league-best ground game in gear unless Wilson can stretch the field a bit and so look for early-game chucks downfield to both Baldwin and Kearse … remember that Seattle did have a season-best five pass plays worth 25-or-more yards in the NFC Divisional Playoff win against Carolina a couple of weeks ago and we believe that “formula” must be satisfied here plus stat folks should know that Wilson probably needs to rush for 35-or-more yards with designed runs planned to shake off likely “spy” LB/DE Rob Ninkovich.

And now hear this …
Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl XLIX when you check with us on game-day morning plus go ahead and continue to pile up the profits all this week with loads of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 — go ahead and pound the books today!

There’s been plenty of history made over the years at 7th Avenue and 33rd Street in New York City — a/k/a Madison Square Garden — but this Sunday could be real king-sized newsmaker event.

After all, the famed four-time NCAA champion boss Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils is shooting for career win #1,000 in the biggest city in the world and there’s major buzz not just in the streets of NYC but all ‘round the college basketball landscape … so is an underachieving St. John’s team gonna spoil the party?

Well, “Coach K” — who enters this Sunday’s game at 999-308 — keeps reminding folks that his youth-laden squad is 16-2 SU this year and now Krzyzewski merely is hoping freshman star G Tyus Jones (22 points including four trifectas in last Monday’s 79-65 win/pointspread push against 14-point underdog Pittsburgh), frosh C Jahlil Okafor (14 points versus Pitt) and mates can snag this historic win and allow the Blue Devils’ coach to move along to more pressing matters in this 2014-15 season.

For what it’s worth, expect the Duke kids to be super-nervous for this game against the Johnnies and so don’t be surprised if this is a major taffy pull with the underdog Red Storm right there at the proverbial finish line but know the magic formula for Krzyzewski in recent years:
Great defense (okay, maybe some zone sprinkled in here to save Okafor from piling up fouls), lots of three-point shots (the Dookies nailed 11-of-23 triples against Pittsburgh) and the usual plethora of trips to the free-throw line.

Yes, sir/ma’am, the Garden will be rockin’ for this potential history-making moment but put us on the record to state this one may be a real “tough get” … okay?

In other College Basketball Notes …
Duke may be chasing ACC powers Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Syracuse — all of whom entered Thursday night’s action with just one ACC loss apiece — but if you’re looking for an ACC sleeper than look no further than a green-but-growing Miami squad that entered last night’s game against N.C. State with a 12-5 overall mark with an albeit team in transition.

Hey, if veteran cage coach Jim Larranaga gets this edition of the Hurricanes into the top half of the league than he might merit Coach of the Year votes … just watch …

Finally, if you’re keeping fingers crossed that the Kentucky Wildcats (18-0, 5-0 SEC) will stay unbeaten a while longer than winning back-to-backers on the road twice in the next three weeks is a must — can John Calipari’s deeper-than-deep squad win at South Carolina and then at Missouri this month and then at Florida followed by at LSU early next month without getting a scratch?
Hey, if so than maybe the SEC ain’t as good as some folks think, right?


NOTE: More Super Bowl Notes plus College Basketball Updates in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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