Streak: Won 3
All-time vs. Denver: 18-34-1
Last time: Seahawks 14, at Broncos 31 (9/19/10)
The Line: Broncos by 3
AFC vs. NFC. Offense vs. Defense. Peyton Manning vs. Richard Sherman. The league's best offense faces the league's best defense in a clash of
Titans Seahawks and Broncos that promises to thrill the world February 2nd.
The Broncos are led by an All-Pro, and a future Hall of Famer. The Seahawks are led by a combination of players, highlighted with their young up-and-coming quarterback Russell wilson and their trash-talking, media darling/enemy (depending on who you ask) cornerback Richard Sherman. It's not just offense vs. defense, it's Old School vs. New School.
But the Broncos have a lot of youth on their team as well, and they have built the NFL's most prolific offense in its history. Let's take a first look at their opponent this week, the Seattle Seahawks, who we will be breaking down much more thoroughly in the 10 days ahead.
RB Marshawn Lynch. When everyone starts calling you simply "Beast Mode," you know you're on a hot streak right now. The Seahawks running back is their most dangerous offensive weapon this season, and he comes into the Super Bowl off two consecutive strong games that saw him rushing for over 100 yards in each game while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Lynch has three touchdowns to show for his efforts as well.
You will not see a running back run harder for a two-yard gain than Marshawn Lynch. He is tough to bring it every play, and if he breaks into the open, he can change direction and turn it to another gear faster than even many defensive backs.
QB Russell Wilson. Let's not pile on Russell Wilson. His team is in the Super Bowl; he's doing just fine. The second-year quarterback enjoyed a 101.2 passer rating for the 2013 season behind 26 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He also added 539 rushing yards and one touchdown. He's a dangerous playmaker capable of turning this corner any minute, and he will certainly try in the Super Bowl.
However, his postseason performance was fairly average. A 58.1% completion percentage and 89.1 passer rating led to mediocre 0.1 and -2.0 grades from PFF in consecutive weeks - in fact, he's only graded green (above 1.0) once over his past six games.
Matchup to Watch
CB Richard Sherman vs. WR Demaryius Thomas. Bronco Mike will be back this week with a thorough scouting report on Seattle's embattled superstar, but Sherman's ability to line up against Denver's Demaryius Thomas will easily be the best one-on-one matchup of the Super Bowl. Sherman was only targeted 60 times this season (a league low among starters); he allowed 30 receptions in those targets, and he had a league-high eight interceptions. He shut down many elite receivers this year, such as Houston's Andre Johnson (4 catches for 44 yards), but got beat a few times as well (see the 73-yard reception by the Colts' T.Y. Hilton).
Demaryius Thomas is a unique combination of size, speed and hands that makes him one of the best receivers in the NFL. This best vs. best matchup will be fun to watch.
What are your early thoughts heading into Super Bowl XLVIII? What matchup are you most looking forward to watching?