Having two weeks to get ready for the Super Bowl can affect both teams practicing their tails off to become pro football’s world champion Sunday night.

The media had a field day with the New England Patriots’ weak explanations of how their dozen game footballs lost a couple of pounds of pressure during the AFC championship game Jan. 18 against the Indianapolis Colts.

And the defending world champion Seattle Seahawks have assured the media that their two injured All-Pro defensive stalwarts—cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas—will be able to go full speed by Sunday.

New England head coach Bill Belichick and starting quarterback Tom Brady both held news conferences last week claiming to have “no knowledge” of how or why their game footballs lost air pressure during the game with Indianapolis, but the Colts dozen footballs were all up to National Football League specifications when checked by game officials.

Belichick even tried to give a lengthy and wordy explanation of how the footballs could have lost the pressure that was totally refuted Sunday morning on CNN by Bill Nye, The Science Guy.

“What Belichick said didn’t make any sense to me,” Nye commented in the interview. “The only way a football loses air pressure is with this thing.” He displayed an inflation needle and then added, “Go Seahawks.”

Before the Seahawks left for Glendale, Arizona, head coach Pete Carroll delivered a state of the Seahawks press conference Friday in Seattle and said his team “practiced as though we were playing the game last week.”

“Richard (Sherman) participated in all the practices and he looks to be fine. He still has an elbow to take care of, but he’s practices well,” the personable Carroll said. “Earl (Thomas) was taking it a bit easier, letting his injured shoulder get better but he practiced Saturday, getting the last day of practice in and looked fine. Both these guys are scheduled to play Sunday and should be OK,” Carroll explained.  “The have to deal with their issues, but they’ll be playing in the football game.”

Both Sherman and Thomas got hurt making tackles in the Green Bay game. Sherman hurt his elbow but never missed a down while Thomas suffered a slight shoulder separation and missed a few plays when he was taken to the training room to be checked out and then returned to action.

According to an Associated Press article that appeared in Monday’s editions, Earl pronounced his separated left shoulder as “pretty good”. Thomas added that tackling the likes of New England’s star tight end Rob Gronkowski will be a challenge he will meet in the Super Bowl.

Earl said that his first major injury is “a lot to deal with.” He said he got the big picture. “When I come alive, nothing is limited, I can play fearless and throw my body around and whatever happens, happens,” Earl told the AP.

The Seahawks know they need both Thomas and Sherman as close to full strength as possible against the potent Patriots.

If the Legion of Boom is not well, booming the opposition, particularly in the match-up, Seattle will be in trouble.

Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who most likely will be the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons next season, is willing to let Seattle play a significant amount of man-to-man defense with Thomas the only protection in the back.

The rest of Seattle’s coverages are simplified. Quinn said that there isn’t a lot of disguise and confusion with Seattle’s defense, resulting in the Seahawks playing faster and more efficiently.

Seattle was one of three defenses in NFL history to lead the league in scoring defense in three straight seasons, according to the AP. They were the first team since the Chicago Bears in 1985-86 to lead the NFL in total defense and scoring defense in consecutive seasons.

“The numbers Seattle has posted lend credence to the argument the Seahawks are among the best of this generation,” the AP article concluded.

But the way Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can put points up on the scoreboard, Seattle had better keep living up to its defensive reputation.

And the key to Seattle’s offense is All-Pro tailback Marshawn Lynch. Whether he is barreling up the gut, darting outside or flashing his underrated receiving skills, Lynch opens up the offense for everyone else.

Don’t be surprised if the New England defense stacks up the box and dares Lynch to beat them.

Because the Patriots know as well as the Seahawks that defense wins championships!!

I believe Seattle has the better defense and will find a way to win Super Bowl XLIX 27-21.

KWICKIES…I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ernie Banks, 83, who was loved by the Chicago Cubs fans and the players alike and referred to as “Mr. Cub”. He played all 19 years of his career at Wrigley Field, wore No. 14 on his uniform and coined the phrase “Let’s play two.” Banks became the Cubs’ first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953 and went on to become an 11-time All-Star and two-time National League Most Valuable Player (1958-59). He hit 512 home runs, had 1,636 RBI and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977 and is considered to be one of the greatest players of all time not to play in the post-season. He played 1,125 games at shortstop and finished his career by playing 1,259 at first base.

More than 113 million pro football fans will be tuned in to Super Bowl XLIX Sunday on NBC and be treated to a great game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots plus 30-second commercial spots costing a record $4.5 million—up from last year’s record $4 million for 30 seconds.

The Lamar Cardinals men’s basketball team has an unblemished 8-0 record at the Montagne Center going into this week’s schedule but is only 2-9 away from the Beaumont school. The Redbirds hope to keep their home streak alive as they hosted Stephen F. Austin Monday night and Abilene Christian Saturday at the Montagne Center.

And while on the topic of collegiate basketball, congrats are in store for Duke’s brilliant coach Mike Krzyzewski who became the first NCAA Men’s Division basketball coach to reach the 1,000-win milestone Sunday when his Blue Devils (17-2) rallied to defeat St. John’s 77-68. The only other college basketball coaches to reach 1,000 wins are NAIA coaches Harry Stratham (1,085) of McKendree College and Danny Miles (1,015) of Oregon Tech who both are still active and NCAA Women’s Division coach Pat Summitt (1,085) who is retired from the University of Tennessee.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros will go into spring training next month with several new faces and a much higher total salary number. General manager Jeff Luhnow hired A.J. Hinch as the team’s new manager, an entirely new coaching staff and new additions to the roster such as catcher Hank Conger, shortstop Jed Lowrie, slugger Evan Gattis, outfielder Colby Rasmus, relievers Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. Potential starter Dan Straily and infielder Luis Valbuena. The total salary figure is expected to spike more than $18 million to above $68 million.