The Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots will play in Super Bowl XLVII, famed forecaster Nate Silver is predicting. Silver, who runs The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, explained during an interview on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday how he came up with those two teams.

“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. He added, however, that he thought the two best teams were the Patriots and the Denver Broncos. But, since both of those teams are from the AFC, only one can advance.

“Seattle had the best balance throughout the year,” Silver said. “So they had the best stats from the regular season. Again, you can worry about, will teams adjust to them? Will Russell Wilson be a guy that won’t surprise people as much in the playoffs now? But, I think, if you have to pick one team in the NFC, I’m still comfortable with the Seahawks.”

Seattle’s players will have their work cut out for them to make it to the Super Bowl. The NFC’s No. 5 seeded team would have to beat the conference’s No. 1 seed, the Atlanta Falcons, on the road and then play the winner of the San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers game.

The Patriots, the No. 2 seed in their conference, play at home this weekend against the Houston Texans. If they win, they will face off against the winner of the Denver Broncos-Baltimore Ravens matchup.

Silver thinks that the Patriots are the safe bet to win the Super Bowl because “It’s hard to go against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.”

The statistician extraordinaire has correctly predicted presidential elections, baseball games and football rankings, which is why his Super Bowl picks warrant a close look.

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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