Passing Judgment: Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

Super Bowl XLVIIIIt will be the irresistible force going up against the immoveable object this Sunday as the Seattle Seahawks battle the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Most of the buzz this week has either been about the weather conditions in New Jersey or wondering if Richard Sherman will run his mouth. But, let’s not forget that we have a great game to be played as the top ranked offense goes up against the top ranked defense. This has not happened since 1990 when the Giants dominant defense went up against the Bills’ high powered offense.

Since the championship games were decided last week, Denver has been the favorite all along according to odds makers. This makes sense given how dominant they have been most of the year, and the fact they are led by Peyton Manning and his record-breaking statistics.  So if you want to try and cash in either way then go to sites like Sports Betting Info to play the odds.

The key match-up in the game will be whether Seattle’s front four can get any pressure on Manning without having to blitz. Seattle will need all hands on deck to cover the Broncos’ many offensive weapons such as Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas and Knowshon Moreno. You can expect Manning to get the ball out quickly and avoid the pass rush as much as possible. But if Seattle can penetrate Denver’s offensive line and disrupt Manning’s timing, then that could allow the Legion of Boom to do what they do best.

Marshawn Lynch 1Another key factor will be Seattle’s ability to move the ball, control the clock and convert third downs. Russell Wilson has been an effective game manager over the second half of the season and in the playoffs thus far. But he has relied more on Marshawn Lynch and the running game as opposed to making explosive plays down the field. Seattle will need Lynch to be in full Beast Mode and move the chains. This will keep Manning and Denver’s offense off the field.

Typically the Super Bowl is played inside a dome or at a warm-weather stadium where wind is usually not a factor. However, wind will likely play a big role in the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. For those of you who have never been to MetLife Stadium or the old Giants Stadium, it is a unique environment in terms of the wind. It could be gusty up in the stands but calm as a cucumber on the field. The wind could be blowing in one direction at mid-field, but the tassels on the goal posts could be blowing in the opposite direction. Both Steven Hauschka and Matt Prater are very good kickers capable of booting long field goals. However, John Fox and Pete Carroll are all too familiar with these conditions from their previous experience coaching the Giants and Jets, respectively. This will unquestionably play a big role in each team’s strategies starting immediately with the coin toss

I think this will be an extremely close game as both teams overcome early struggles. We know Peyton Manning will make adjustments and eventually he will be able to execute his game plan. But I also foresee Seattle being able to contain Denver just enough to remain close throughout. As the game progresses and it looks like Denver is going to put the game away, Seattle will come up with a huge turnover and turn the game around. Then, their big time defense will prove why it was the best in the NFL as they hold off a late comeback attempt by the Broncos.

PREDICTION: Seattle 31 Denver 27
MVP: Marshawn Lynch

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