The dust has barely settled from championship weekend, but it’s never too early to start dissecting who will win Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
As far as the matchup, both teams entered the season as relative favorites to win the Super Bowl, so there is little surprise there.
The Broncos opened the season at 5/1 to win the Super Bowl. The Seahawks were right behind them with 49ers at 6/1.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 20, 2014
Let’s take a look at some of the major factors heading into the game.
No. 1 Offense, No. 1 Defense
Denver brings the league’s top scoring offense into the matchup. During the regular season, the Broncos scored 161 more points than the next closest team. They also outscored opponents by nearly 13 points per game.
Seattle carries the league’s best scoring defense. They allowed only 231 points all regular season – just over 14 points per game. The Seahawks’ defensive scoring was 143.5 points better than the league average.
Denver rides and dies on the golden arm and savant mind of Peyton Manning. As he has been his entire career, Manning is a coach on the field. At 37 years old, he is coming off, arguably, the best season of his illustrious career.
The Broncos led the league in passing offense, but were around middle of the pack in terms of rushing. Their offense depends on Manning dissecting Dan Quinn’s schemes, and then besting Seattle’s athletic secondary.
Seattle may be Russell Wilson’s team, but Marshawn Lynch is the catalyst. He is one of the few backs in the league, much like Adrian Peterson, who has the potential to break a big run on any play. With that in mind, Darrell Bevell never has to shy away from the ground game. He can keep playing field possession ball until Beast Mode is engaged.
From Denver’s side of things, it’s all about solving Seattle’s defensive schemes. Can Peyton Manning crack the code, or will the two-week layoff give him too much time to study? Sometimes he seems like a computer with clogged memory that needs a quick reboot.
The Broncos’ defense has been good, but not great. They are stout against the run, and will try to keep Lynch from reaching the second level.
As for the Seahawks, they’re the more balanced team – both between run and pass, as well as offense and defense. They can grind a game, winning 12-7, or they can post 45 points.
Russell Wilson has proven unflappable in his young career, but he will now be on the grandest stage of all. Can Richard Sherman control his bravado and capitalize if/when Manning makes a mistake?
From a numbers standpoint, this will be a great game. Top defense versus top offense, and both sides jockeying to control the tempo. As it stands now, weather won’t be a factor, so it should be two teams, built very differently, throwing haymakers in the sport’s ultimate showcase.
Now it’s time to settle it. Who wins Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks?