Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview: Seahawks vs Broncos

     Tomorrow is the day we have all been waiting for. Unlike other sports, where there can be a potential seven games to decide the league champion, the NFL needs just one game to crown a winner, and that game is the Super Bowl. Although tomorrow marks the end of the 2013 season, the Super Bowl brings great commercials, incredible foods, and most importantly, the two bests teams playing for the Lombardi Trophy on national television. Peyton Manning just won his fifth MVP Award on the eve of the Super Bowl, and the league's best offense will now be playing the Seattle Seahawks, who have the NFL's best defense. Good luck to both teams, and we wish everyone a great Super Bowl Sunday!

Denver Broncos: Earlier this evening, Peyton Manning won his 5th MVP Award, as he was just one vote shy of a unanimous selection. Manning passed for 5,147 yards and 55 touchdowns this season, both single season records. Manning's incredible season is a result of years of experience, as well as an incredibly talented receiving corp. Demaryius Thomas caught 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns, and even if he's shutdown by cornerback Richard Sherman in the Super Bowl, Manning has three other options in Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas. All three wide receivers had more than 778 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013, which is why I think the Seahawks will struggle to shut down Denver's passing game, even though Seattle has the best pass defense in the league. Thanks to the incredible passing game, the Broncos have been able to set up a solid running game with Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns, both of which are career highs. Even if the cold weather hinders Denver's passing game, the Broncos may be able to keep up with Marshawn Lynch on the ground with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball leading the way. Denver's run defense has been spectacular during the postseason, where they limited the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game to just 64 yards and 1 touchdown, even though the Patriots rushed for 234 yards and 6 touchdowns the previous week. Marshawn Lynch is clearly one of the best running backs in the league, so it will be interesting to see how Denver's defense will fare against the man known as "Beast Mode". The Broncos' pass defense is nothing special, but as long as the pass rush is able to pressure Russell Wilson, Seattle's passing game will not be a major problem. Also, be sure to watch returner Trindon Holliday, who returned both a kickoff and a punt for a score in 2013.

Seattle Seahawks: Immediately after the Seattle Seahawks beat San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, Fox reporter Erin Andrews pulled aside cornerback Richard Sherman, and his arrogant display of emotion has been seen by most everyone through television and social media. Richard Sherman is able to have self-confidence, seeing that he has become the best cornerback in the league. Sherman's 20 interceptions in the past three years ranks first in the league, five more than other cornerback in the NFL. Sherman will likely be covering Demaryius Thomas throughout the game, which leaves defenders like Byron Maxwell, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor to smother Welker, (Julius) Thomas, and Decker on Denver. In 2013, the Seahawks defense ranked first overall in passing yards allowed, total defense, opposing quarterback rating, interceptions, and points allowed per game. The run defense did not do as well as the pass defense in 2013, but the run defense's most important accomplishment is the fact that they ranked first overall in rushing touchdowns allowed with 4. Defense seems to be very important in the Super Bowl, and in the eleven games where the league's top defense made it to the Super Bowl, the best defense has won nine times. The Seattle Seahawks' offense revolves around star running back Marshawn Lynch. Due to the cold weather, Marshawn Lynch is bound to have many attempts on the ground, seeing that throwing the ball will be slightly more difficult in the Super Bowl. For the third straight year, Lynch ran for more than 1,204 yards and 11 touchdowns, which is why Lynch was named to his fourth career Pro Bowl in 2013. Quarterback Russell Wilson makes few mistakes, which is key to an offense that revolves around the running game. Wilson passed 3,357 yards, 26 touchdowns, and, most importantly, 9 interceptions. Wilson's lack of mistakes allowed him to eclipse the 100 passer rating mark for the second time of his career, but who knows if nerves will get the best of Wilson in the Super Bowl, which would likely destroy any momentum built by Seattle's offense.

Prediction: If Peyton Manning were to beat Seattle, the second Super Bowl ring would make him the best quarterback of all time, and he knows that, too. Even though the number one defense normally beats the number one offense whenever the two teams meet, the Denver Broncos have the best offense in NFL history, and their abundance of wide receivers, as well as Manning's ability to throw the ball before the pass rush reaches him, is why Denver will win its third Super Bowl in franchise history.
Broncos over Seahawks 30-23
MVP: Peyton Manning: 305 passing yards, 2 TDs

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