The time for talking is nearly over. We’re just days away from Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, a pair of number one seeds that dominated their conferences en route to MetLife Stadium.
Super Bowl XLVIII pits Denver’s top-ranked offense (7,317 yards and an NFL record 606 points) against Seattle’s stingy top-ranked defense (4,378 yards and an NFL-best 231 points allowed).
The keys to the game start with who else but soon-to-be five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.
Manning is looking to become the first quarterback to start and win Super Bowl titles with two different teams, the first since Kurt Warner in 2009 to come this close. Manning’s 2013-14 resume is simply the best in modern football history, as he set numerous NFL records including yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55).
Manning’s targets are plentiful, and perhaps none are better than fourth-year wideout Demaryius Thomas, who caught 92 balls for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns, the most of any wide receiver in football.
While Thomas’ stats are gaudy, he’ll have the unenviable task of facing the NFL’s premiere shutdown cornerback, Richard Sherman.
Sherman’s postgame interview may have grabbed headlines, but don’t let the hype obscure the fact that he’s one bad dude on the perimeter. The third-year corner out of Stanford had eight picks this season, best in the NFL, and he is the lynchpin behind the league’s best secondary.
Can Seattle’s aptly named the “Legion of Boom” defense slow down the Broncos’ myriad of slants and
picks crossing routes?
If weather becomes a factor, we might see a pair of running backs featured heavily.
Let’s start with Marshawn Lynch. After running for more than 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, Beast Mode has kept it rolling with a pair of 100+ yard performances in the NFC Playoffs.
Denver’s rushing defense has emerged in a big way this postseason, led by defensive tackle Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton, so Lynch will be hard-pressed to find running room.
On the other side of the ball, Knowshon Moreno was perhaps one of the league’s most underrated players in 2013. He rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns, caught 60 balls and perhaps most importantly, was a huge part of Denver’s pass-blocking schemes. On top of that, Moreno also has the NFL’s premier tear ducts.
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