MX23RW : Sunday, April 21 12:51:44| >> :600:133106419:133106419:
Feb 1, 2015 at 11.30pm UK at ​University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona
New England Patriots
Seattle Seahawks
LaFell (9:47), Gronkowski (0:31)
Lynch (2:16), Matthews (0:02)
Baldwin (4:54)
Amendola (7:55), Edelman (2:02)

Super Bowl Preview: Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots

Sports Mole previews the Super Bowl showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

The University of Phoenix Stadium will stage a clash of dynasties when Super Bowl XLIX kicks off on Sunday.

The defending champions the Seattle Seahawks are aiming to forge a lasting legacy in the NFL against the team that is looking to cement their status as arguably the most dominant in the history of the league.

Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks holds up the George S. Halas trophy after the Seahawks 28-22 overtime victory against the Green Bay Packers on January 18, 2015© Getty Images

The New England Patriots were the last successful side to win the Vince Lombardi trophy in back-to-back seasons when they lifted the title in the 2004 campaign.

Nate Solder of the New England Patriots celebrates with teammates during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2015© Getty Images

Bill Belichick's men have failed to win the Super Bowl since, enduring two heartbreaking losses to the New York Giants, one of which ended a shot at a perfect season and occurred in the very same spot where they face off against Seattle.

Pete Carroll's side have a lot of the hallmarks of the Patriots' teams of the early 2000s with a young clutch quarterback in Russell Wilson and a hard-hitting defense, which has made the best offenses in the league look ordinary in the past three seasons.

The defense revolves around the success of the 'Legion of Boom' who have formed the most formidable secondary in the NFL with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

Sherman has rightly carved out a reputation as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, and will look to take away the right side of the field from the Patriots' offense along with outside receivers Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola.

Meanwhile, Thomas has the responsibility of monitoring the deep third of the pitch, which he does better than any other player in the NFL, and also limiting the yards after the catch (YAC) on the routes over the middle of the field from Julian Edelman.

One of the main battles that will decide the outcome of the game is the matchup between Chancellor and All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. The 25-year-old is the most destructive offensive weapon in the NFL and simply can't be stopped due to his size, athleticism and football IQ.

Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor in action against San Diego Chargers on August 8, 2013© Getty Images

However, in this match he faces a man who can match him for size and athleticism in the 6'4" Chancellor. The safety can lay the biggest of hits and won't let himself be bullied by Gronkowski in the redzone and in the middle of the field.

The contest should provide a mouth-watering battle and a large victory for either player could spell disaster for their opposition's chances of winning the Super Bowl.

New England's Rob Gronkowski celebrates a TD against Miami on December 30, 2012© Getty Images

The battle in the trenches will also be a defining factor in the game as Seattle's best hope of putting points on the board lies in the running ability of Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Wilson.

Lynch has the ability to put the team on his back and truck through tackles to have a huge game which would earn him the MVP award.

However, where the Patriots differ from some of the Seahawks' opponents this season is their cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, which will allow Belichick to stuff the line of scrimmage and make Wilson beat them with his arm.

Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers on September 15, 2013© Getty Images

Lynch could have the one run that would change the course of the Super Bowl if he were to break several tackles and find the endzone as he famously did against the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs in 2010.

If the 28-year-old is held to the 41 yards on 15 carries he was limited to in the teams' last meeting in 2012, it will be very much advantage Patriots. On the other hand, if he can pick up yards with ease it will be a very long afternoon for the defense of New England.

Wilson can also get yards with his feet, but with two weeks of preparation will have drilled the message to his team to be disciplined with their pass rush to keep the quarterback in the pocket and forced to throw to his receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.

On the other side of the ball Seattle will be hopeful of matching their performance of Super Bowl XLVIII on their defensive line, as Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril dominated the offensive line of the Denver Broncos in their crushing victory.

Both players are two of the best pass-rushers in the NFL and are more than capable of ruining the game for the Patriots and Tom Brady as they did for Peyton Manning last year in New York.

One major change for the Seahawks this year is their depth across the line. Brandon Mebane was lost for the season due to injury, while Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald were lost during free agency, which has made their line thin, especially in the middle.

LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown in the first half during a game with the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2013© Getty Images

That could present a weakness to New England as they are more than willing to run the ball to victory through LeGarrette Blount, who ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns in their AFC championship win over the Indianapolis Colts.

A lot will hinge on the performance of Tony McDaniel and veteran Kevin Williams as the players behind them have little experience or known quality in the NFL, never mind the biggest game of the year.

If the duo can hold their own it will be a huge dent in the gameplan of the Patriots, but a failure in that situation could present all sorts of problems for the Seahawks, which could prove fatal.

The clash between the franchises has all the hallmarks of an all-time classic and will likely be decided on an excellent play or the bounce of the ball. The teams have been the best two sides in the NFL this season, and whoever comes out the victor will be the worthy champion of the 2014 season.

Click here for more stories about Earl Thomas

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Seattle Seahawks
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Seattle Seahawks
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Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos walks off the field a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013
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Super Bowl Analysis: Seahawks vs. Broncos

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