Well, well. The teams much of America thought were going to be there are there. The Seattle Seahawks & the Legion of Boom Defense will take on Peyton Manning & the Denver Broncos at Superbowl 48 on February 2 on Fox.
Yes, I know about the rant from Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman on 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, but that will come out in another post on Monday. This will just focus on the matchup itself.
This matchup will be based on 2 units only – the Broncos offense against the Seattle Seahawks defense, both ranked #1 in the NFL this season.
Over the next two weeks, Manning will need to make sure he has enough tricks in his bag to use the aggressive nature of Seattle’s defense against them, thus drawing them into some offsides calls on the hard counts – maybe bringing new wrinkles to the Omaha audibles and playcalls that Twitter has been blowing up about lately.
|Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning.|
A potential matchup to watch for will be Richard Sherman against either Demaryius Thomas or even TE Julius Thomas on the outside. Sherman didn’t get many plays his direction in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers, but Manning will not be afraid to challenge him early on if he can find a clear weakness in his coverage or a possible blown coverage.
In the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, Manning was able to take advantage of slant routes, audible into run plays and lull the defense to sleep and then go over the top for the TD. He will look to take advantage of the blitzes the Seahawks will bring to the table.
Where the Seahawks can win the matchup against Manning will be to get a beat on his cadence and his wording by the second quarter. While the Broncos dictate their offense based on the lineup that they see on the field at the line, the Broncos are susceptible to disguised defensive pressure, particularly from the secondary if the packages are creative enough to make him rush his throws and take his impeccable timing away from his core receivers.
|Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman.|
For the Seahawks on offense against the Broncos defense, the load will be on Marshawn Lynch. The Broncos will be open for massive runs up the gut and to the right side of the line, and Lynch has shown that he can be a big bruiser and possibly tire out that bend-but-dont-break Broncos defense.
Of course, having the strong running game will open up the play-action pass over the top for the Seahawks, where QB Russell Wilson is absolutely lethal and can gain yards on the ground and thru the air.
For the Broncos to shut this offense out, there has to be 8 in the box and key in on Lynch, making Wilson beat them with the arm, which may or may not be a good sign for the Seahawks because of the possible bad weather that could play a role for what will most likely become the coldest SuperBowl in history.
Although my NFL predictions have been a bit up and down this past NFL season, I will go with the Broncos to beat the Seahawks, 24-17, in what could be the last game of the Peyton Manning era.