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February 1st, 2014 · 1 Comment


This is already an historic Super Bowl. Never in 47 prior outings has the grandest of games matched the league’s No. 1 offense (Broncos) against the No. 1 defense (Seahawks). It’s the Legion of Boom and its All Pro defensive backs vs. the Record-Breaking dynamo that is Peyton Manning with his slew of explosive and crafty receivers. Lucky for me, I found that crystal ball that cracked in the first week of the Playoffs just in time for the Big Show.

The question of how the weather will affect this game has been posed for months with the Farmers’ Almanac consulted ad nauseam by every media or broadcast source. The general meteorological consensus appears to be that the temperature will start off in the 30’s and descend to the low 20’s during the game. But the key is that the blizzard potential is virtually gone with chance of precipitation below 10% and winds expected to gust between 10-20 mph. Why the great weather detail? Well, it’s no secret. A mild day means little change for Denver’s dynamic passing offense, whose maestro is nearly flawless when the conditions permit.

Is Seattle’s Defense too good for Denver’s offense to handle? The answer would be a resounding YES if the game were being played at the venue of the 12th Man. But this is not the case, and the numbers don’t lie. Seattle’s defense is not quite the same team on the road that it is at home. Of the 3 games played on the road against Playoff teams their record was 1-2 beating the Panthers by just 5 points, giving up 34 points in a loss to the Colts, and getting edged 19-17 by the 49′ers. The entirety of the Playoffs have been played at home in their obnoxiously loud and crazed concave. The energy that the defensive front 7 and which the back 4 derive from that atmosphere cannot be underrated. So, now we take away the home acoustics and give Peyton 2 weeks to prepare. We can’t ignore that these factors weigh heavily in Denver’s favor, especially given that Mother Nature will not be there to help the NFC Champs.

What are the key match-ups that will make the difference? Peyton Manning will attack the mismatches. Expect CB R. Sherman to shadow WR D. Thomas most of the night. Watch for CB B. Maxwell to cover WR’s Decker or Welker depending on the play call. An intriguing battle will feature TE Julius Thomas and the ability of Safety K. Chancellor to press him at the line. I see that as a wash, but if Free Safety E. Thomas cheats towards Decker, watch Welker exploit the Maxwell matchup all night. Once Peyton lures one double-team he will take his deep shots. No one is better at throwing the deep ball than Peyton, as Seattle’s Legion to be doomed will ultimately learn.

Can Denver’s defense slow down Marshawn Lynch just enough? Now that Lynch has inked a deal with Skittles, rumors are he has gained 10 pounds in the past week and is looking slow in practice. Just kidding folks. Lynch is a Beast; but so is DT T. Knighton and DE S. Phillips. The former, nicknamed “Pot Roast”, likes to clog up the middle (as much as his arteries) and the latter guards against backside cutbacks like no other at his position (while posting timely sacks). Much like they did against the Pats L. Blount, who came off a huge game (at home), watch for the Broncos’ DF to aggressively shut down run lanes and force QB Wilson to either pass or execute the read-option by keeping it more than he would like. The attention that DEN will pay to stopping Lynch will ultimately change the mindset of Seattle’s attack, which would otherwise be designed to keep Peyton off the field. When Russell turns to the pass, Denver’s defense will dial up more blitzes. I like the DEN LB’s to contain Wilson, contrary to public opinion.

Who are the X Factors for either team? Percy Harvin poses the biggest threat on paper to the Denver defense, but the most overlooked player on the SEA offense is likely WR D. Baldwin. What should scare Denver is the lack of tape on Harvin. He is so versatile that he could line up at just about any offensive skill position and create a mismatch in coverage. He is also a nightmare on Special Teams as a Return Man, which could play a huge factor in creating beneficial field position and perhaps a timely score or momentum-changing play. Baldwin is always covered by a lesser CB and hardly ever doubled. Depending on the formations, either CB C. Bailey or DRC will switch to Man vs either Harvin or Baldwin (that could open lanes for WR G.Tate against a lesser DB). On Denver, watch for both RB Moreno and M. Ball to be more involved as runners and pass receivers out of the backfield. Either could have an explosive play if the Legion-guys over pursue. And pssst…Jacob Tamme is no stranger to end zones if too much focus is placed on TE Thomas. Enter the deceptive prowess of Manning and if that O-Line holds up against a ferocious pass rush, Peyton will find the open man – no matter who he is (Caldwell included).

So who wins? Denver has too many weapons for Seattle defense, who plays “decently” on the road against solid teams, but who will undoubtedly miss the otherwise decisive advantage of playing in their home stadium. Weather was the only issue for me. It likely won’t play a key factor. As such, Peyton will outgun his younger, but very capable counterpart QB, en route to a decisive, albeit close-in-score game. The defenses will likely outperform the offenses for most of the first half, but adjustments will be made after Bruno Mars finishes his gig, to make this a memorable SB 48. I thought about calling this an OT win for the Mile-High group, but I’ll shy away from going out too much on a limb.

Prediction: Denver 24 Seattle 20.

That’s it for the 2013-2014 season. See ya’ll next season.

Eric Miller @footballnutsy

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 joey michelena // May 28, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Great pick Eric. Stick to remates. pica`s,
    and arimadas.

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