Seattle's Defense Hold The Key
As we contemplate the betting edges for both teams the key question is how will the Seattle defense hold up against a withering Peyton Manning passing attack and an historic Denver offense? In an era where cornerbacks and safeties are such a valuable commodity, Seattle has an embarrassment of riches in their Legion of Boom who believe they are this generations most vaunted defense and not the brutal Ravens edition of the early to mid aughts led by a much younger Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.
Last week Colin Kaepernick was able to chew up yards on the ground but it was only out of necessity as he could not muster much through the air. Kaepernick and the 49'ers bowed to the Seahawks and failed to cover as three-point underdogs in NFL odds despite having a gifted corps of receivers. On Super Bowl Sunday the Seahawks will again be confronted by world class receivers when they line up against Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas.
But the big difference will be the man pulling the trigger. While Peyton Manning will never roll out of the pocket and tear off a 40-yard sideline sprint like Colin Kaepernick, he is more than double the threat Kaepernick is through the air. He has a hair trigger release and pass rushers are often still engaged in first contact with the offensive linemen in front of them when the ball has already been flung to an open target. The key to getting Manning's uniform dirty will be in the form of coverage sacks. When Manning eyeballs the open field only to find his receivers blanketed by orange then he will hesitate and as those tenths of seconds tick off the clock the Seattle pass rush will get closer as Manning's wall crumbles around him. If that happens then this could be a game that gets out of hand early courtesy of a sticky Seattle secondary complemented by their swarming pass rush.