The Seahawks have a chance to solidify themselves as the dynasty of the 2010s, but the team standing in their way is the one that held that title in the previous decade.
Super Bowl XLIX is set, and the defending champion Seahawks will play the Patriots on Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., as the top two seeds will play for the league title for the second season in a row.
The Patriots crushed the Colts, 45-7, Sunday night after the Seattle's nail-biting 28-22 overtime win over the Packers. The Seahawks overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit and scored the winning touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Russell Wilson — who threw four interceptions —to Jermaine Kearse.
In many ways, the game looks to be a classic strength-on-strength matchup between New England's high-powered offense and Seattle's top defense.
This will be the eighth Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots, tying them with the Steelers and Cowboys for the most in NFL history. Quarterback Tom Brady will make his sixth start in a Super Bowl (2001, 2003-04, 2007 and 2011) and try to win his fourth title, which would tie him with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most of all time. Bill Belichick has a chance to win his fourth Super Bowl as a head coach, too, which would tie Chuck Noll for the most in league history. His sixth appearance ties Don Shula's record.
The Seahawks will play in the franchise's third Super Bowl and try to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Patriots in the 2003-04 seasons. They beat the Broncos, 43-8, last February.
The Patriots finished the season third in scoring, averaging 29.3 points per game, and were eighth in points allowed with just 19.6 per game.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks had the NFL's best defense, allowing just 15.9 points per game, while their efficient offense helped them rank 10th in scoring with 24.6 per game.
Matchup to watch: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seahawks safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Gronkowski is the top tight end in the NFL. Even though Seattle could use a cornerback or linebacker against him, the safeties will have to limit his big-play ability. The Colts held Gronkowski to just three catches for 28 yards, but he caught a touchdown in a fifth straight game.
Why Seattle will win: Defense wins championships, right? What the Seahawks defense did Sunday cannot be overlooked as they held Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense to 22 points and 306 yards despite having five turnovers. Plus, it's hard to imagine Wilson duplicating his mostly pitiful performance in the NFC championship game, and Marshawn Lynch could run through a New England defense that gave up 129 rushing yards to Baltimore's Justin Forsett in the divisional round.
Why New England will win: After losing their last two Super Bowl appearances in devastating fashion, Belichick and Brady will look for Seattle's weaknesses and use this game to solidify their legacy. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner form one of the top cornerback tandems in the NFL, and the Seahawks don't have the talent at receiver to create big plays against them.