Jan 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A general view as stadium workers clean snow from the field and stands during the Super Bowl XLVIII stadium preparations press conference at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A Look Ahead to Super Bowl XLVIII

Something needs to be clarified.  The Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey, not in New York. Can we at least give New Jersey some credit for hosting this great sporting spectacle?

Since it was announced that this Super Bowl would be played in New York, the weather has been the most talked about storyline. The early forecast for Feb. 2 in East Rutherford is “Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a chance for a couple of snow showers”, with a high of 35 degrees during the day and a low of 26 (AccuWeather). Snowy or extremely cold conditions would favor the Seahawks, a running team with a stout defense.

Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) gets shoved in the face by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) while trying to shake hands after an interception by Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (not pictured) during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

These two teams were the best of the best all season long. It’ll be a mind game between quarterback Peyton Manning and the Seattle defense. We’ll see if Richard Sherman thinks of Demaryius Thomas like thinks of Michael Crabtree (a “sorry”, mediocre receiver).

Sherman’s controversial comments after Sunday’s game have been ridiculed the whole week – it won’t have an impact on the Super Bowl; rather, Sherman’s play against the top-ranked Denver offense will. Without a doubt, the top matchup to watch is Denver’s stud pass catchers (Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas) against the “Legion of Boom”.

The common saying is that defense wins championships. Seattle’s defense is obviously better, but Denver’s defense has started to get hot over the last few weeks. The unit held Tom Brady to 16 points. He did have 277 yards, but 135 of those were in the fourth quarter, essentially garbage time. Stopping Marshawn Lynch will be the number one priority for Denver.

Peyton Manning might have to stick to a dink-and-dunk attack on offense, and keep the pace up. The rub routes and short crossing routes would possibly be more effective against Seattle’s defense than the long passes. Seattle would want the opposite, and would try to play a possession game, keeping the ball away from Manning.

Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl (especially on media day, the Tuesday before the game), all eyes and ears will be on Sherman. We’ll see if he wants to talk at all about the Broncos’ offense. As for Peyton Manning, we won’t expect anything more than his clarification of the meaning of “Omaha”.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Super Bowl XLVIII

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