The big game has arrived and someone must win. X-factors will decide whether the Broncos or Seahawks are crowned Super Bowl champion. We debate as the 2014 NFL season closes out. Sports debate between Dan Salem and Todd Salem in part four of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
If we agree that the weather shouldn’t be looked at as a hindrance toward one side or the other, then where does the advantage rest in this game? Everyone is only talking about the Denver Broncos’ offense versus the Seattle Seahawks’ defense. Well what about the other half of the game and special teams?
Seattle’s offense has been putrid through the air for most of the year. Russell Wilson makes a couple big plays throughout the course of a game, but he has hardly lit it up behind center. His NFC Championship game performance was buoyed by that one scramble play and the touchdown bomb when the 49ers were offsides. Other than that, he was worse than mediocre.
Meanwhile, the Broncos actually had a good rush defense for most of the season. In fact, they finished in a tie for 7th in rushing yards allowed with…Seattle. The only difference between these two teams’ rushing defenses was the fluky touchdown numbers. Seattle somehow only gave up four scores on the ground all regular season long. Meanwhile Denver, who allowed the exact same amount of yards, gave up 15 rushing touchdowns. There may be something here about being stout in the redzone and manning up, but it’s probably closer to the side of coincidence and luck that separated those two figures.
So if Seattle won’t be able to run very easily against the Broncos, what can it rely on? Percy Harvin?
These two teams match up so well its scary. Seattle is going to have to rush the ball well to score in this game, but that’s pretty much football in a nut shell. I think the key for the Seahawks is not Percy Harvin, but Russell Wilson versus the Denver linebackers. You can rip him apart all you want, but he has speed and the ability to scramble. Watch for some designed runs, a few flee flickers that become end around runs and for Seattle to spread the field with the versatility of their quarterback. If we’ve learned anything about Seattle’s offense, it’s that Wilson gets the ball deep down the field when he has a lot of time to throw it. His receivers get open and he has the touch to put it in their hands. Denver’s defensive front will need to knock him down early or he’s going to run and throw all over them.
You hinted at special teams playing a key role as well. This is often the case in the Super Bowl and its even more true this year. I’m calling it now, if one team can run back a kickoff they will win. The field position game will be very very important. Seattle’s offense will be dangerous on a short field and Peyton Manning loves to chew up clock. But if Manning’s playing on a short field all day, he may score, or he may get field goals like he has all year. That plays to the Seahawks’ strength.
I’d also like to call out the Denver running backs. They’ve been ignored in most discussions of Denver’s offense, as Manning throwing the ball is the only thing people seem to care about. How about short throws to the flat? His running backs need to make plays out of the backfield catching the ball to open things up deep for the Broncos.
Can you tell I’m stumped on who wins? Both these teams neutralize one another’s strengths so well. Anyone have the flu? I’ll pick against them.
There is certainly no doubt that Russell Wilson is going to be a key for Seattle in this game. And saying he can throw well deep when he gets a lot of time is like saying the Jets are great on offense when the other team is not trying to tackle them.
My concern here is that the game IS going to come down to Wilson making a bunch of plays, and he’s not going to be able to. Taking a look at all the units playing in the Super Bowl, the worst two are probably Denver’s pass defense and Seattle’s pass offense. It is hard to give either team the edge in that regard, especially considering all of the Broncos injuries. However, having your worst unit be the key to victory does not inspire confidence.
Super Bowl XLVIII is certainly a stumper, but I am giving the edge to the Denver Broncos. If neither team is able to do what they want on offense (Denver throwing and Seattle running), I love Denver’s backup option a lot more. To summarize, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball will be able to run more effectively than Russell Wilson can throw. In a convoluted way, call Denver the favorite because of that.