Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Preview of Super Bowl XLVIII: Broncos Take On Seahawks

It’s finally here!  Yes, this is it: The BIG GAME!  In less than a week, all the talk will finally come to a screeching halt.  It won’t matter how big of a tool Richard Sherman is, it won’t matter whether Peyton Manning calls it quits after the game, it won’t even matter that this epic Super Bowl will be played in freezing temperatures outside in New York.  No, on the afternoon of February 2nd, as the sunshine of the great light that has been the 2013 NFL season drifts across the sky and prepares to set, two teams will proudly march onto a football field and compete for the greatest prize in the sport.  What should we expect, and who will come out on top in this fantastic matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks?
There may be some weather during the game like snow or rain, but I don’t think it really will have any effect on the game.  Remember, this is football, and while both passing offenses would surely prefer a comfortable outing, these pros can catch balls and run routes on any surface.  This will be a game of willpower between the two most talented teams in the NFL.
The hyped up and talked about matchup here is the Broncos’ prolific offense vs. the Seahawks’ hard-hitting defense.  Peyton Manning can gouge defenses and broke many records this year.  The likes of Eric Decker, Damaryius Thomas, and Wes Welker can each make great plays.  But the defenses they have faced have yet to be as nasty and powerful as Seattle’s, with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor making plays in the secondary, while Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett put the heat on quarterbacks and generate sacks.  In these big games, I often see such top ranked sides result in a stalemate.  I expect the Broncos to put up roughly 20-25 points and the Seahawks to force at least 1 or 2 turnovers.
But what usually dictates such a matchup is the other side of the game: the Seattle offense vs. the Denver defense.  Both are quite average (Seahawks offense was ranked 17th, the Broncos defense ranked 19th).  Whichever of these units rises to the task will win Super Bowl XLVIII.  Seattle harbors an excellent young quarterback in Russell Wilson, though he is young and often falls into that labeling of a game manager.  Marshawn Lynch pounds the ball and makes tackling hard for opponents.  His ability to push the pile will have a great influence on the game’s outcome.
Meanwhile the Broncos defense is built around a team cohesiveness that has grown tremendously throughout the season.  They played their best football as the season wound down and into the playoffs (Champ Bailey’s return also helped).  Although superstar pass rusher Von Miller went down and won’t play, the team still generates some pressure through Shaun Phillips and the rest of the team.  In the last 4 games, the Broncos defense has allowed just 15 points per game, and most of those have come in the 4th quarter with the team leading by a wide margin.  Remember, this includes tremendous playoff games against Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, who were both largely shut down by the defense.
Therefore, I give the edge to the Broncos.  I think they will slow the Seahawks’ rushing offense and force them to pass.  A couple early Manning touchdown passes will put immense pressure on Seattle to score.  With the ball in Wilson’s youthful hands, expect some costly mistakes late in the game.  I’ll take the Broncos’ experience over Seattle’s talent any day of the week.  Manning will be riding off into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion again, and the Denver Broncos will win this game 24-14.
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