Edge of Glory: Super Bowl XLIX Preview: Linebackers

Welcome Back to Graz’s positional breakdown of the Superbowl.  On this wonderful addition we will be talking about linebackers and their impact on the game.  As a former underachieving high school linebacker I can tell you that this is going to be a fun one.  Both teams have linebackers that can make big run stopping plays in the backfield and maybe even snag a few picks. Follow us after the jump to see what we think about this matchup

Patriots: The Patriots come in with a young but explosive group of core players that are looking to make a big impact in the game.  Dont’a Hightower is a tough downhill linebacker that plays physical and can plug holes.  He is going to play a crucial role in trying to contain Marshawn Lynch.  He has both the speed and size to match up with Lynch.  The only question is if he can handle it over a period of four quarters.  Jamie Collins is by far their best all around linebacker.  He is a great player in zone coverage and can even man up with tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.  His best quality is actually his blitzing abilities.  He knows how to time a blitz and blow up a block thrown up by a running back.  The issue is they need him in pass coverage most of the time so they can not use this talent that often.  

Seahawks: These birds roll in with a Superbowl MVP and in my opinion an emerging star in NFL on it.  Malcolm Smith’s pick six in last years Superbowl was the catalyst that kick started his team to winning it all.  He is an athletic coverage linebacker that can cover space and like all of these birds he can tackle excellently.  He is a talent, but I do not think he will win MVP again.  Bruce Irvin also has loads of talent within this defense.  He is a downhill linebacker that can make plays down the stretch.  He also can tackle well.  The real player on this core group is Bobby Wagner.  After battling through injuries earlier in the season he has come up big down the stretch.  Teams average almost 60 less yards per game against the Seahawks when he plays in the game.  He can cover, fill holes and he can lay the WOOD.  He is also a smart player that helps this team get in the right spots and puts them into position to win.  He will be a player that is only getting better.

Edge: Hawks.  Both experience in big games like this and just more talent they will have the edge.  They will bottle up Blount and make Brady have to go west coast to beat them.

Next: We are going to do the highly anticipated match up of the secondaries.  Both are really good, but whose is better? #LOBvsRevis I leave you with the thought that Michael Crabtree is a MEDIOCRE WIDE RECEIVER.


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