The New England Patriots have allowed a mere 22 second half points since Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo scored a second half touchdown, over eight games ago. This includes the 10 second half points that the Ravens scored in the divisional round. In all, the Patriots defense is allowing less than a field goal per game over the equivalent of half a season.
These games have come against the likes of Matthew Stafford and the Lions, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Lambeau, Phillip Rivers and the Chargers in San Diego, against the Bills in week 17 with the Patriots back-ups on the field, facing January Joe Flacco and the Ravens (and not regular season Flacco), and the NFL touchdown passing leader Andrew Luck and the Colts.
The Patriots have come damn near close to perfect in shutting them down.
The Seattle Seahawks are coming from a similar place, having allowed just 26 second half points during their past eight (undefeated) games. While these eight games have come against pretty poor quarterbacks (Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley, the imploding Colin Kaepernick 2x, Mark Sanchez, and Shaun Hill, in addition to Cam Newton and one-legged Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs), Patriots fans should appreciate how difficult divisional games can be (read: Jets every dang time).
These two teams have found a way to peak not just in the middle of games, but when the season came down to the wire:
While both teams started out the first half of the regular season on uneven footing, they certainly found their stride down the back stretch.
Since Week 10 (and including the playoffs), no teams come close to these two. Even the Bills, with their strong defense and the luxury of playing the Patriots back-ups, allowed 36 points over their final six games.
With the entire season on the line in the Super Bowl, both teams can take comfort in the reliability of their defenses. In all likelihood, the team that can crack the defensive code in the second half will be the victor. At this point in the year, these defenses might be unbreakable.