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Super Bowl 2014: 48 Reasons the Denver Broncos will win Super Bowl 48

Peyton Manning, Champ Bailey, and 46 more.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

  1. John Fox, Peyton Manning, and other Denver Broncos have Super Bowl experience.
  2. Players on the Seattle Seahawks have none.
  3. The Broncos are supplementing that experience with advice from others in the NFL who've won the Super Bowl (thanks, Eli!).
  4. This is Denver's 7th trip to the Big Game as a franchise - from the top on down, from Pat Bowen to John Elway to Peyton Manning, they know what to expect.
  5. Still, it's been 15 years since their last Super Bowl berth. This franchise is hungry.
  6. It may be cold in New Jersey February 2nd, but Peyton Manning has shot down the cold-weather narrative this year.
  7. The Broncos are practicing in temps that are colder than the forecast for the Super Bowl, and snow isn't expected the day of the Big Game anyway.
  8. Practice is not that cold in Seattle.
  9. Even if it is freezing and snowy on Super Bowl Sunday, the Broncos have boasted a terrific running game this year.
  10. Knowshon Moreno's breakout 2013 season saw him become the first Bronco in franchise history with over 1,000 yards rushing and over 500 yards receiving.
  11. In Denver's coldest game of the year (at New England Week 12), Knowshon Moreno rushed for 224 yards.
  12. In one of their next-coldest games (vs. Tennessee, Week 14), Moreno averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Montee Ball averaged 5.1.
  13. The Broncos' offense is prolific. Historic. (We'll come back to that).
  14. Their special teams are special, with clutch kicker Matt Prater having proven himself as a game-winner in 2011 and a record-breaker in 2013.
  15. But their defense has really come on of late.
  16. In the playoffs, Denver's opponents combined to score only three points in the first three quarters of both games.
  17. The Broncos outscored the Chargers and Patriots 37-3 in those six total quarters.
  18. Denver's defense did that against teams that were averaging 26.3 points per game (good for 8th in the NFL).
  19. The Seahawks are averaging 26.1 points per game (9th).
  20. Denver's defense is being led by a late-season resurgence of key leaders and difference-makers.
  21. Terrance Knighton.
  22. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  23. Danny Trevathan.
  24. Champ Bailey. (We'll come back to that).
  25. Robert Ayers is and always has been clutch. He earned his third career postseason sack in the AFC Championship Game, tying him for third all-time in franchise annals.
  26. Shaun Phillips has proven to be one of the best free agent signings of this offseason, leading the team with 11 sacks on the year.
  27. Just listen to him on NFL's Sound FX.
  28. Despite the loss of Von Miller, Denver's defense found ways to sack Tom Brady three times in the AFC Championship Game.
  29. Those sacks came on absolutely crucial plays that included a late-game 4th down for the Patriots when they were in field goal range. Seven potential points became three points became none.
  30. The Broncos are 13-0 in postseason games when they lead at halftime (after an interesting comment, seeking clarification from the Broncos on this one).
  31. They led at halftime in nearly every game this season.
  32. Champ Bailey has become a rallying point for his teammates. At age 35, this is his first Super Bowl berth. He may not get another. The longest-tenured Bronco on the roster, it is fair to say other players on the team have rallied around Champ's opportunity.
  33. Champ is rallying himself. Last week he showed it with a +2.6 grade from ProFootballFocus that included a +2.3 in pass coverage, the highest on the team for the week, and the highest of Bailey's 2013 season.
  34. That's right, Denver's backup plan was a 12-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer. Not bad.
  35. So about that offense. The Broncos broke a lot of records this year.
  36. Like, all the records.
  37. Wes Welker and Peyton Manning immediately connected in 2013, finding themselves on the same page during Welker's famous option routes and connecting for 110 73 catches and 10 TDs.
  38. Four other players on this offense had 10 or more TDs - Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Knowshon Moreno.
  39. The Seahawks have not played an offense with this much talent.
  40. The Seahawks have not played an offense this efficient. The Broncos are the top-ranked offense in the NFL with 33.7% offensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders. The Seahawks have only played one team that comes even close to that number, the New Orleans Saints, and they were still less than half as efficient with a 15.9% offensive DVOA.
  41. Julius Thomas emerged in 2013 as the surprise X-factor for the Broncos, making some of the season's most crucial catches for the team as other players remained the focal point of the opposing defense. In particular, his two 4th quarter catches in the divisional game were season-saving.
  42. The Broncos have the best offensive line in the NFL.
  43. Right guard Louis Vasquez has been perfect.
  44. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase has proven to be a shrewd playcaller, and will be one of the NFL's hottest head coach candidates in 2014-15.
  45. He decided to focus on Denver's playoff run rather than interview for head coaching jobs, unlike his predecessor a year ago. The difference is noticeable.
  46. Peyton Manning had 55 touchdowns this year and 5,477 yards, both NFL records.
  47. He's 37 years old, meaning he knows this is one of his last chances to win the Super Bowl, if not his last chance.
  48. As good as all of these Broncos are, and as good as all of these Broncos have been... Peyton Manning makes everyone around him better.