In the runup to Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, predictions are for a close game. (We'll find out how accurate they are when the Super Bowl begins at 6:30pm ET). Some favor the New England Patriots, based on their formidable defense and Tom Brady’s abilities as quarterback. Others favor the Seattle Seahawks, arguing that their tight pass coverage gives them an edge, or that teams that try for their second Super Bowl trophy in a row (like the Seahawks) usually win.

Put simply, the Super Bowl could go to the Patriots because Brady and his teammates have a question to answer, and Sunday’s contest is the very best forum of all to answer it.

Most people would agree that the teams are very evenly matched. John Avello, executive director of the Wynn Sports Book in Las Vegas, has the Patriots favored to win by 1 point. Many call the game a toss-up. 

Put simply, the Super Bowl could go to the Patriots because Brady and his teammates have a question to answer, and Sunday’s contest is the very best forum of all to answer it.

I’m not much for betting, but if I were, even excluding the fact that I make my home outside Boston, I would give the edge to the Patriots — for purely psychological reasons. They have to win to put “Deflategate” fully to rest — to bury it under a Super Bowl trophy held high by Tom Brady. Put simply, the game could go to them because Brady and his teammates have a question to answer, and Sunday’s contest is the very best forum of all to answer it. 

Here it is: Did the Patriots defeat the Indianapolis Colts two Sundays ago because someone affiliated with the Patriots took air out of the footballs to increase Brady’s grip on them?

It is never a good idea to taunt an opponent or deeply question his character or give him a reason to outperform. Ask Floyd Patterson, who insisted on referring to Muhammad Ali as Cassius Clay, refusing to call his opponent by his adopted name, and was punished twice for it in the ring. Ask Nancy Kerrigan, who skated the best two events of her life and won the silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics seven weeks after being attacked by friends of rival figure skater Tonya Harding.

The Seahawks haven’t baited the Patriots, but Deflategate has. Brady has every psychological reason to make certain officials check and recheck the pressure in the footballs he throws, then throw them with even more accuracy than he is otherwise capable of (which is very capable, indeed). His receivers have a reason to run a little faster and jump a little higher to receive his passes. The Patriots’ defensive line won’t just be blocking the Seahawks’ offense, it’ll be blocking the offensive accusation that the Patriots buried the Colts 45-7 because the balls were a little flat.

I know the Seahawks have a psychologist on the sidelines. If I were on the Patriots’ sidelines, I’d be in Tom Brady’s face, asking him whether he thinks winning by just a few points will really answer the questions posed by Deflategate. I’d be talking to Patriots wide receivers Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount about whether they can help vindicate Brady by leaving the Seahawks in the Arizona dust. I’d be asking defensive lineman Vince Wilfork whether he can shut the Seahawks down to shut down the whole peanut gallery that made a big deal out of a little air.

If the Patriots win this one, it may be because they are offended. And an offense offended is just not the one you want coming at you.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.