Sunday, February 1, 2015

Assessing the Game Factors for the Super Bowl Game Before Playing the Risk Game

(minor update: 19:18 hrs)

If you are pondering on wagering on the game, read the following post. Then reflect on it before acting on your decision.

“These are the ways that successful strategists are victorious. They cannot be spoken or transmitted in advance. ... Before the game, they resolve in their conference room that they will be victorious, have determined that the majority of factors are in their favor. Before the game they resolve in their conference room that they will not be victorious, have determined a few factors are in their favor.

If those who find that the majority of factors favor them, will be victorious while those who have found few factors favor them will be defeated, what about someone who finds no factors in their favor?

When observing from this viewpoint, victory and defeat will be apparent.”
- Art of War 1 

source: NY Daily News

By using this season statistics, the football fanatics center on the possible factors on why each team  (The Patriots or The Seahawks) could win this game, before wagering on the game.

While watching some of their previous season games, we were focused on the various categories of match ups and whether each team is able to adjust to the psychological pressure of a high-performance game situation. In our case, we did it while sipping a cup of Dragon Well tea.

New England Offense vs. Seattle's Defense
New England's has a efficient offense with a diverse set of talented players. They possessed a super quarterback (QB), a wide arrays of running back (RB's), a future hall of fame tight ends (TE's) and a group of slightly "above-average" receivers corp. The effectiveness of their passing game is usually focused on the first fifteen yardages from the line of scrimmage. 

The New England's running game is consisted of many talented game changers that Seattle has to spend an abundance of time concluding which running back will get the majority of runs and how they will handle New England's up tempo, no huddle approach. (There is nothing more lethal than a 250 lb tailback who runs angry.)

Seattle usually runs a simple defensive "bend but don't break" scheme that rushes four linemen at the opposing quarterback. Beside base zone coverage, it also includes a Cover-3 formation that is designed to prevent the opposing offense from utilizing a long vertical pass play. 

We expected the Seattle's cornerbacks to physically contain and cover the New England's wide receivers within the first 10 to 15 yards of space  

If the Seattle's strong safety (SS)  plays tight to the box (the first ten yards of space from the defensive side of the line of scrimmage) , the viewers should expect the New England Patriots TE to run a medium pass pattern. In most cases, we do not expect the Seattle's linebackers to properly cover him due to his explosive speed and his range. Simultaneously we believed that the Seattle's defense backs would not be able to contain him from catching the ball because of his size.

Expect the Seattle defense to attempt to strip the ball from the ball carrier while utilizing certain containment and coverage plays to remove New England's game changers during gametime.

In the red zone, New England's offense will consider the mismatch of TE  vs. the under-sized safety. 

Seattle Seahawks Offense vs. New England Defense
The strength of Seattle's offense is running the ball up the middle with different tactical variations.   Using that set of plays to stage the read option or vice-versa.  

The Seattle team has also successfully mastered the read option quite well that it has become a near-automatic yard-gainer . 

However, we expected that the New England Patriots defense to have already mastered the keys to neutralizing that specific approach. Expect the defensive ends and outside linebackers to punish the Seattle quarterback each time he decides to run the ball.  Do not be surprised if Seattle changes their offensive keys for the purpose of misdirecting the defensive play callers.

As long as the ratio of running the ball is greater than the passing the ball, Seattle will prevail. 

Seattle WR's are slightly above average at best. They play well within their offensive scheme while not possessing a long bomb threat.  New England's defense should "shutdown" the Seattle receivers with zero problems. 

The "wild card" factors: the QB being spontaneous in chaotic situations, the TE's and the RBs as the receivers.

New England is superb in term of never showing the same defensive formation or alignment during the game. We would not be surprised if Seattle runs a slow tempo, no huddle approach for the purpose of controlling the ball possession. 

Comments From The Compass Desk 
In most games, a team is always one injury away from losing its initial competitive disposition. (Seattle has a few players that are slightly hurt.) 

Remove the offensive and/or defensive game changer's from each team, their performance immediately drops  

Always attack the position when the starting player being replaced by a reserve player for the obvious reason. It is quite rare that the reserve player has the game experience or the athletic prowess of the starter.

Regardless that Coach Belichick is one of the best coaches in preparing a team to play a highly pressured game. Occasionally, he would implement various unorthodox tactics just to un-nerve the competition. We expected him to run a gadget play or two that might surprise the Seattle's defense.  Most likely, he spent many days ago, studying the Seattle's losses especially against Dallas and San Diego

Seattle utilizes a simple game approach that is focused on out-executing the opponent while New England fluid game approach is centered on out-strategizing and out-executing their competitors.

Subverting the opposing defense to the act of thinking and reacting is what New England's offense based on.  Influencing the decision makers to make poor decisions is the highest form of the competitive strategy game. 

While Seattle's defense executes a "bend and don't break" tactical approach, their linebackers (LBs) and SS will not be able to pass-cover NE's TEs unless they knock him out. The LBs have the difficult job of deciding whether to defend the pass or the run.  If they are stacked 6 or more in the box, The pass play is on. ... If they stacked 5 or less players in the box, The run play is on.  Forcing the linebackers and the SS to play the guessing game could disrupt the psychological continuity of the defense.  

Based on schedules, Seattle has the advantage of playing and prevailing over a higher quality of competition while the New England played in a "soft" division and a moderately less tougher schedule this past season.

It would be interesting if Seattle's implements a successful trick play that "shocks and awes" the New England's defense. (Gadget plays is not the norm of the Seattle's team.  They did surprised Green Bay in the January 2015's NFC championship game) with a fake field goal.

We think that the game is going to be a defensive battle and that both teams are able to play "shut down" defense in the red zone.  Therefore, we expected the kickers on both sides to be busy.

If New England takes the initial lead and wins the game, then the possibility of a high-scoring game would be quite relevant. However, if Seattle takes the initial lead and wins the game, then the possibility of a low-scoring game would be quite relevant. No one really knows.  The game must be played.  

We expected that the game referees to let the players play.  There would be very little penalty calling unless it is obvious and blatant.   ... In some cases, the noise factor might favor the Seattle team.

After studying the stats and the projected match-ups, we projected the total score for this game to be lower than 47 points.  Click here on the latest spread on this game.

Latest update (19:18 hrs)

New England Patriots  28   Seattle Seahawks 24

In a game of near parity and inches, neutralizing the opponent's strength while capitalizing on their errors is the dao to victory.  

Free Safety Malcolm Butler intercepted the QB pass at the end zone which preserved the victory for the New England  Patriots.

In the field of observation, chance has always favored the mindfully prepared.   ... The successful strategists have always believed that victory loves the prepared.  ... In summary, the "prepared players" factor have always decided the game winner. ... 

Click here for the non-obvious reason why the Patriots won.


Minor Points  
Retrospectively, the gist behind any victory begins with "the will of the mind (xin-yi)."  

The ranking of the "will" practice (from an ascending order): 
  • the will to be centered;
  • the will to prepare; 
  • the will to perform, to persist and to endure;  
  • the will to win; and 
  • the will to restart the process. 

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