Statistician Nate Silver, famed prognosticator of political elections, baseball games and football rankings, explained on "First Take" why he's predicting a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl.
"This is the Football Outsiders system, so I didn't work on it directly, but they're looking at individual plays, and putting football context around it ... applying some football common sense to the numbers, basically," Silver said.
Silver doesn't necessarily like the Seahawks' chances to win it all.
"I'd say that Denver and New England are the best two teams in the NFL," he said.
"You have to have one team from each conference, so if you have a Denver-New England AFC Championship Game, it might be one of those cases where it really is the de facto Super Bowl."
Stephen A. Smith asks, "How much does quality or style of play factor into some of the prognostications that are put out there?"
Silver says 16 games isn't a big sample size to put a lot of faith in the "eyeball test," but does say that "for my Super Bowl team I would go with the guys who have the track record, year in and year out, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady."
"Some of it does come down to -- it's not that complicated, really -- where you do have the coach and you have the quarterback. And they make sure that in every phase of the game, they're doing the little things well. And Bill Belichick is kind of a sabermetric coach, where he's looking for little edges in how they run their special teams, and the decisions they make. ...
"Things, for example, like the Patriots are very aggressive on going for it on fourth down. ... And Bill Belichick will do those things, and he reads the papers and so forth -- not the newspapers, but reads like the academic papers that say you want to actually keep your offense on the field on fourth down a lot.
"And those little marginal things when you have to win now three more games against really good teams, can begin to add up."