Football is a game of inches, but Super Bowl XLIX might be decided on two 20-yard plots of land at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday night.
More specifically, one of the most important matchups will come between the New England offense and the Seattle defense when the Patriots have the ball in the red zone.
Ex-NFL linebacker Matt Chatham wrote Sunday on FootballByFootball.com that he expects the battle in the red zone to be one of the biggest factors in the Super Bowl, and that showdown could decide the winner.
The Seahawks’ personnel — lots of size and length — makes it difficult for teams to effectively throw in the red zone, as the Green Bay Packers found out in the NFC Championship. That might make the running game even more important for the Patriots.
“If the Patriots offense can run the ball in the red zone, or if the Seahawks can stop the opposing run game, that will go a long way towards telling you who wins this game,” Chatham wrote. “This particular factor may come down to just a handful of snaps over the course of the game, but they will be critical.”