The battle is set between the #1 offense in the history of the NFL, going up against the #1 defense from this season in almost every statistical category. I have already broken down the other side of the ball, so now let’s dive into one of the most anticipated Super Bowl matchups since Peyton Manning dueled Drew Brees.
Clash of Titans
This may be a stalemate by all means; however, it is my job to find the holes in the NFL odds. We’ll start with the Denver offense, and look at hopefully a healthy Knowshon Moreno. Moreno went down late in the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship, and since he didn’t break any ribs, he is probably a go. However, his effectiveness against the league’s best rushing defense is almost a bigger question at this point. Not being at 100% is almost a death sentence going against Seattle. The Broncos’ would have to lean on a rookie in the Super Bowl if Moreno couldn’t play. That would be a major advantage to the Hawks.
The passing game for the Broncos is obviously where their fate lies, and in the hands of Manning, I don’t care who is across from him, it’s advantage Manning and the Broncos. Even though the Hawks will likely take away Julius Thomas and possible Demaryius Thomas as well, the Broncos can still win the battle downfield. Richard Sherman should probably lock down on Thomas in this game, but if he doesn’t, it might be another preventable advantage to the Broncos.
On the other side, the Seattle defense needs to start by disguising coverages, and then attacking the Broncos where they are strongest. If Moreno is somehow limited, the Seahawks will drop 6-8 guys into coverage all game and create a high scenario for Broncos turnovers. The Hawks are good enough and athletic enough up front to only rush three or four guys and still hold down the Broncos’ screen game.
The true test is going to be the middle of the field for both units, and it might be where this stalemate is broken. If the Seahawks successfully take away the middle of the field, they might win the entire game. Denver has to have the middle of the field for their offense to work, and if KJ Wright locks in on Julius Thomas, it might be hard for the Broncos to work their screen game.
Furthermore, whoever is defending Eric Decker and Wes Welker must win at the line of scrimmage. If they don’t bump most, if not all of Denver’s receivers off their timed routes, Seattle might find themselves in long drives defensively, which is never good against the Broncos.
But, let’s talk NFL picks. If I have to give a pick, I think the advantage goes to the Broncos, simply because of #18. With all other things considered, there is a lot more experience on one side of the ball compared to the other.