Hey y'all, this is my first post here and I'm very excited to be a part of this community. I thought I'd do a quickish rundown of what I think the big questions are about the Seahawks that the Broncos have to answer. Please, feel more than free to tell me how much of an idiot I am, it can only help.
Who do you match up on Percy Harvin?
Nowhere will the loss of Chris Harris be more clear than in determining the matchup for Harvin. In a perfect world, Fox and Del Rio would've matched their slot specialist up against him and left Cro and Champ to handle the more vertical stuff from Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Neither is intimidating enough that I'd be worried about Tony Carter handling them, but who does that leave for Harvin, Cro or Champ? For my money, I'd have Cro shadow him. I know Champ had been playing the slot before Harris got hurt, but I have doubts about whether he still has the speed to keep up with Harvin across the field. In the divisional round, Wilson targeted Harvin 4 times in what amounted to around a quarter of work. He'll probably be Wilson's go-to, and no offense intended to one of the greatest corners ever, but I've got more trust in Cro right now.
How do you stop Marshawn Lynch?
The big question, obviously. I was curious watching the AFC Championship game why the Patriots never really tried running the ball from spread formations, giving Blount and Vereen smaller bodies to contend with at the second level. I think it won't take too much of the allotted two weeks for Darrell Bevell and co. to hit upon that idea, especially since virtually all of his yards in the NFCC came between the tackles. Luckily for us, Terrence Knighton just got done schooling one of the greatest guards of our generation in Logan Mankins, and guard has been a trouble spot for Seattle. We'll also be aided by the fact that Danny Trevathan should stay in to cover the tight end even in passing situations. Also the size of our D-Line, with Knighton, Sly Williams, and Malik Jackson should help, but my gut tells me we should get ready to see BEEFMOE bounce off a bunch of Michael Huff and Mike Adams arm tackles.
Can you keep Peyton clean?
The Seahawks ended the regular season with four players having at least five sacks (DE Chris Clemons had 4.5) and tweener Bruce Irvin probably would have as well if he hadn't been suspended for the first four games of the season. This seems to be an issue of strength-on-strength, as Pro Football Focus rated the Broncos O-Line the best in the league, but there is some potential cause for concern. Let's say the Broncos attempt to neutralize the pass rush the same way they did against the Chiefs, with an emphasis on quick-release passes. This would mean that the wide-outs have to create space in a hurry against possibly the best secondary in the league, with safeties known for enforcing in the middle of the field. Additionally, PFF rated Zane Beadles negatively on the year, calling out his pass-blocking in particular, so don't be surprised to see Bobby Wagner create problems up the middle. My inclination would be to run something similar to the AFCC, with the usual deep-attacking routes from the recievers, with Julius Thomas on underneath routes, giving him the opportunity to make plays in space (which he usually does).
How do you contain Russell Wilson?
While he's mostly kept the running to a minimum in the post-season (16 yards total), he's always a threat to scramble to a first down and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Seahawks add that wrinkle as a reaction to the man-coverage the Broncos are most likely to give the receivers. While the Broncos were 4-0 against mobile QBs this year (Terrelle Pryor twice, Vick, RGIII), two of those teams were terrible this year, while the Eagles didn't hit their stride until Foles took over. Unfortunately we're without our most athletic, dynamic pass-rusher in Von Miller to bookend Shaun Phillips, so I would not be surprised if Wilson has myriad opportunities to roll away from Phillips with ample ground before him. The difference makers here I think are gonna be Robert Ayers, Jeremy Mincey, and Nate Irving. Ayers and Mincey will be needed to supply enough of a rush on the non-Phillips side to keep Wilson honest, and given the problems Seattle has had in pass-protection this should not be an impossible feat. Irving is important because Trevathan should be matched up on a tight end or back going out in a rout, whereas Lenon lacks the athleticism to get his hands on Wilson in space. Wesley Woodyard should also be important in this area but he seems to have fallen out of favor.