Sunday, January 20, 2019

What to Expect on Super Sunday

Credit: NFL
The Big Game has finally hit the Big Apple. Sunday will literally be full of lights, cameras and plenty of action.

For the first time in NFL history, two #1 seeds will play for pro football's ultimate prize. What should we look for?

To set the record straight, Super Bowl XLVIII will be played in New Jersey. The fun leading up to and after Super Bowl XLVIII will be in New York City.

Ok, now that that's cleared up, what happens when a powerful force meets an immovable object?

When the AFC Champion Denver Broncos and the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks meet at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey for the 48th Super Bowl on Sunday, we will find out if the "immovable object" that is Seattle's defense can in fact hold off the powerful force that is Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense.

Both teams were favored to be in the big game midway through the season, both teams finished the regular season 13-3, both teams had statement wins in their respective conference championship games and both teams will be playing each other for the second time this season.

For those interested, they played a preseason game in August. Seattle won 40-10.

So what should we expect when the ball is kicked off at 6:37 p.m. EST on Sunday?

What we shouldn't expect is snow. (C'mon Goodell, isn't the snow what you wanted for this game?)

1. The young signal caller vs. the great veteran

These are two very, very different quarterbacks, but it'll be interesting to see what could be the end of Peyton's career on Sunday and the more-than-solid beginning of Russell Wilson's. But we'll also see the evolution of the quarterback position and how it's changed over the years, as Wilson will run and buy time for his receivers while Peyton will remind us that Omaha possibly needs an NFL team as he'll stay in the pocket and try to surgically dissect the Seattle defense.

The one thing both have in common is preparation. While most people know extensively about Peyton's preparation for a game, Wilson is no different. For the five-plus hour flight from Seattle to Newark International, Wilson studied extensive film on the Denver defense. For the entire flight.

Wilson threw for over 3,000 yards for the second consecutive season (3,357) with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions, keeping a near two-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio also for the second consecutive season.

If this is going to be Peyton's "swan song" of sort, it's only fitting that he has the chance to win his second at his younger brother's home stadium. Eli Manning won his second ring in Indianapolis in Super Bowl XVLI two years ago, so it only seems like the "Manning thing to do" to have the second ring won at the brother's place.

Manning had the greatest season ever by a quarterback in the history of the NFL, throwing for 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns, 10 interceptions with a 115.1 rating. It's the 13th time in his 16 year career that he's thrown for over 4,000 yards and the first time he's hit the 5,000 yard mark.

Only Saints quarterback Drew Brees has hit the 5,000 yard mark more times than Peyton. Three, to be exact.

But despite the Madden-like numbers, Manning also had a career high 10 fumbles during the regular season, six of which were lost.

2. Legion of Boom vs. Denver's receiving quartet

Sounds more like a four-on-four tag team match, and might just play as such.

Seattle's secondary, aka "The Legion of Boom," led by the vocal Richard Sherman, has allowed an average of 172 yards passing a game, however Denver has averaged just over 340 yards through the air this season. Seattle's defense as a whole unit has allowed an average of just over 273 yards per game while the Broncos have ran over defenses, gaining 457.3 yards per game.

This goes back to the article's original question: What happens when a powerful force meets an immovable object?

The game could be all Denver should the Seattle defense simply not be able to contain receivers Eric Decker, DeMaryius Thomas, Andre Caldwell, and tight end Julius Thomas. Both Decker and Thomas went over 1,000 yards receiving for the season and combined for 25 touchdowns.

Oh, by the way, Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman aren't bad options for Peyton out of the backfield as well.

But this is a Seattle secondary that tends to make the big plays when needed.

They were aggressive in stopping the run in the NFC Divisional round against New Orleans and took Drew Brees' favorite target, tight end Jimmy Graham, out of the game from the word go. (Or from the pre-game trash talking, depending how you see it.) They also held Brees' to just one touchdown pass on the day.

Then against San Francisco, the 'Hawks came through in the clutch as Sherman deflected Colin Kaepernick's pass to Michael Crabtree in the final minute, which was intercepted by Malcolm Smith to clinch the win.

3. The battle at the line

This is where both teams quietly excelled in their respective conference championship games.

Denver held the Patriots to just 64 yards on the ground, and forced the Pats to pass the ball more. The Broncos front seven also got to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for a pair of sacks, while Peyton went virtually untouched.

On the other side, despite allowing Kaepernick to rush for 130 yards, including a 58 yard scamper that put the Niners inside the Seattle 10 yard line early in the second quarter, ending up in a one-yard touchdown run by Anthony Dixon.

However, the Seattle D-line forced Kaepernick to run more than he wanted to, including getting to him for two sacks.

The Denver front seven will scheme a way to contain and pressure Wilson, who can run if need be, however given how the Seattle front seven handled Kaepernick, especially in the second half, they will find ways to get to Peyton. Even if it's not a sack, the Broncos offense may get out of sync if Seattle can get pressure.

4. The weather that wasn't

Super Bowl XLVIII will be the first northern Super Bowl played outdoors. And it's not looking like it'll snow.

However, how both teams deal with the crosswinds at MetLife Stadium will be interesting. The footballs can get slick in "cool" weather, and if the winds begin to pick up, the kicking game, and even some of the passing game will be affected. This should affect Denver more than Seattle considering the Seahawks tend to run more than the Broncos do.

Overall, it looks like it'll be another classic. Or could be, at least. Seattle's not a team that can win a shootout, but Denver hasn't really played a team as physical as Seattle.

Could be game over for the Hawks should Denver take an early 14-0 lead in the first, but if we learned anything about this Seattle team, especially after the NFC Championship game: don't be too quick to count them out.

About the Writer

Jeff Weisinger is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on What to Expect on Super Sunday

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By Justin Brown on February 01, 2014 at 12:49 pm

It's going to be a great game

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By Patrycja8888 on March 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

I am so impressed

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