Will you be one of the 110 million-plus people tuning in to watch the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX? Well, if you're reading this, it's a strong possibility. Do yourself a favor and ingrain the game's start time in your mind—you won't want to miss a moment of what's to come.
After all, just in case you feel that tuning in a little late won't come with any major consequences, let's take a quick look back at Devin Hester's opening kick return in Super Bowl XLI:
Don't be the guy or gal who misses a moment like that.
As the game fast approaches, here's one last look at its start time and essential viewing information, followed by a look at an important key to the game for both teams involved.
Super Bowl XLIX Viewing Info
When: Sunday, February 1
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Betting Info (via Odds Shark):
- Over/Under: 47.5
- Spread: Patriots -1
Keys to the Game
New England Patriots: Stop the Run
New England's defense is going to have its hands full against Seattle's top-ranked rushing offense. Not only is bruising running back Marshawn Lynch one of the league's most dangerous ball-carriers, but dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson led the NFL's signal-callers with 849 rush yards and an average of 7.2 yards per carry during the regular season.
Seattle isn't much of a passing team. Wilson threw for just 3,475 yards and 20 touchdowns during the regular season, as the team ranked 27th in the league in passing offense. Wilson is also coming off the worst game of his career, tossing four interceptions against the Green Bay Packers in the conference championship. While the quarterback is mentally tough, his nerves could show following an early pick in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots must force the Seahawks into passing situations. Not only does Tom Brady and Co. need to get off to a fast start, but the team's defense must make Seattle's offense face many 3rd-and-long attempts. Although, that won't be easy for a New England rush defense that's been slacking of late.
While the Patriots finished the regular season ranked ninth against the run, they haven't duplicated that success in the playoffs. In the divisional round, Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett rushed for 129 yards and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. In the conference championship, Indianapolis Colts ball-carrier Daniel Herron only rushed 10 times, but he averaged 5.1 yards per clip.
Considering Wilson's gaudy yards-per-carry average, and the fact that Lynch is coming off a 157-yard performance in which he averaged 6.3 yards per rush, this won't be an easy ground attack for the Patriots to contain.
Seattle Seahawks: Contain Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski earned Comeback Player of the Year at the 2015 NFL Honors ceremony Saturday evening. The award was well-deserved, as he followed up an injury-plagued 2013 season with a brilliant 2014 campaign that resulted in 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns.
While Seattle's defense has certainly been phenomenal this year—it finished first in the league in both yards and points allowed—it has struggled at times against opposing tight ends. The Seahawks allowed a total of 11 touchdowns to the position during the regular season, good enough for the third-most in the league. That's not a good statistic for the team that's about to face the NFL's best.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor should be expected to see plenty of action against Gronkowski in the Super Bowl; however, he sustained a knee injury during practice earlier in the week. According to an interview with Emily Kaplan with the Pro Football Writers of America, via Terry Blount of ESPN.com, head coach Pete Carroll thinks his safety will be ready to go.
Said Carroll, "He looked pretty good today. We will make sure we test him in pregame, but he remarkably looked great today and so that's all we have to go on."
Still, Chancellor may not be 100 percent for the championship game, and if that's the case, he may have a difficult time containing Gronkowski on his own. That could lead to the Seahawks rolling more coverage in the tight end's direction, which could open things up for other weapons in New England's offense.