Chandler Jones recorded two sacks versus Seattle as a rookie. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks have made it to Week 22.
A week removed from their conference title matchups, New England and Seattle now stand a week from their Super Bowl XLIX matchup in Glendale. But before the final two teams head into it, here is a look into six matchups that could be the difference during it.
Kam Chancellor and the Seahawks await Rob Gronkowski. (NFL Game Rewind)
One defense allowed 64 catches for 626 yards and 11 touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the course of the regular season.
One tight end caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns over the course of 15 games.
The production between the Seattle Seahawks’ defense and the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski will be tested on Feb. 1. And it will be for the first time since 2012, when strong safety Kam Chancellor along with linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner limited the tight end to six catches for 61 yards.
But there will be more names to account for when Gronkowski lines up in the seam or out wide in Super Bowl XLIX. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound All-Pro could face the likes of free safety Earl Thomas or cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell there in Glendale.
Only it’s hard to say for certain just what or whom he’ll face. Much has changed between them since they last met. Much will come down to just where Gronkowski goes and how the Seahawks counter him.
Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch will face his former team Feb. 1. (NFL Game Rewind)
Much is shared between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
And as the two teams prepare to face one another in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium, several of whom are preparing to face former teammates and colleagues.
Darrelle Revis and the Patriots are moving on to Super Bowl XLIX. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots are onto Glendale.
With a 45-7 triumph over the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium Sunday night, the Patriots are heading from the AFC Championship Game to the Super Bowl. And it is there at University of Phoenix Stadium that they will face the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated the Green Bay Packers in overtime Sunday afternoon, 28-22.
The Patriots outmatched the Colts under a steady rain in Foxborough, powering through with 148 yards and three touchdowns from running back LeGarrette Blount, 25-of-35 passing for 226 yards, three touchdowns and one interception from quaterback Tom Brady, and a defensive effort which saw Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck finish 12-of-33 for 126 yards and two interceptions.
In the process, New England tied a franchise record for points scored in a playoff game, Blount tied a team record with career playoff touchdowns, and Brady and Bill Belichick broke an NFL record upon landing their sixth Super Bowl trip as a tandem.
Jonas Gray will be in uniform as the New England Patriots kick off the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The running back, who rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries versus Indianapolis in November, has been inactive since injuring his ankle in Week 16.
Gray, eligible tight end Cameron Fleming as well as defensive tackle Joe Vellano headline New England’s notable actives.
The AFC Championship Game will kick off at 6:40 p.m. Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
For two teams, the last exit before Glendale is Foxborough.
The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will meet there for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. But before the two sides do so for the chance to go to Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium, here is one last glance at the road map for it.
The Patriots’ secondary restricted wideout T.Y. Hilton in November. (NFL Game Rewind)
Finding the right 11 is a battle that both the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts will face in the AFC Championship Game.
“I think in this league, it’s pretty hard not to get mismatched somewhere along the line,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in his news conference Friday. “You’ve got to deal with some matchups, and if you can live with those matchups or you can somehow neutralize them, then great. Then you can do that. If you can’t, then somewhere along the line you’re probably going to have to substitute and change the matchup.”
Those personnel approaches were visible when the two sides last met, as New England turned to six offensive linemen and limited the deep half of the field in a 42-20 victory. And some key players within them will be visible again this Sunday.
LeGarrette Blount scored four TDs against the Colts last January. (NFL Game Rewind)
Hit the ground running.
That has been the offensive approach for the New England Patriots over the last two meetings with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts in Week 11, on the heels of rushing for 234 yards and six touchdowns in the divisional round last January. A total of 100 carries and two victories were tallied in the process, while Brady tallied 55 passes.
Darius Butler will face the team that drafted him on Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will meet again for a 6:40 p.m. kickoff on Sunday. And as the two sides do so, former college teammates, former Patriots and former Colts will also meet again.
Jonas Gray rushed for four scores against Indianapolis on Nov. 16. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots have faced the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts three times.
The two sides will meet for a fourth time next Sunday in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium, after the former No. 1 overall draft pick and the fourth-seeded Colts defeated quarterback Peyton Manning and the second-seeded Broncos in the divisional round Sunday.
That 21-13 victory at Sports Authority Field brought Luck and the Colts to the conference title for the first time since Manning and the Colts got there in January of 2010.