Why the Seahawks will win
by Benjamin Siepak
With Super Bowl XLVIII only days away, fans are choosing sides and placing bets. This season’s number one offense will face the number one defense in a showdown for the Lombardi trophy. The Broncos are favored in Las Vegas to be crowned the champions. After a year of record-breaking offensive numbers, led by one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step foot on the gridiron, the Broncos are riding high. There are two words they should fear though – Beast Mode.
Marshawn Lynch has three touchdowns in two postseason games and rushed for over 100 yards in each game. He has carried the offensive load on his back, running behind a hard-nosed offensive line led by center Max Unger.
However, the Broncos can’t just focus on Lynch’s running, as Russell Wilson has shown to be a very successful rusher when rolling out of the pocket. Once he gets outside of the defensive ends, he is about as elusive as a running back in the open field.
The Bronco’s secondary has been their weak point in the defense. That should give wide receivers Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse, and Doug Baldwin a chance to make things happen. The return of Percy Harvin, after suffering a concussion injury in Seattle’s first postseason game, should aid Wilson. Harvin is possibly the most elusive player on the team, and has big playmaking ability anytime he touches the football.
Peyton Manning picked apart just about every defense he faced this season with ease, but there is one defense he hasn’t faced this year. They just so happen to be the number one defense in the league.
The Seahawks defense held their opponents to a league-best 14.4 points per game, nine points better than the league average. They also recorded the most interceptions in the league, picking quarterbacks off 28 times. The Seattle secondary has earned the name Legion of Boom, or L.O.B.
How will the L.O.B. stop Damaryius Thomas and Wes Welker? The Seahawks will match them up with first team all-pro and self-proclaimed best cornerback in the league, Richard Sherman. Alongside him will be first team all-pro safety and potential defensive player of the year, Earl Thomas.
For the Broncos, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas, who combined for 22 touchdowns this season. For them, Seattle has another all-pro in strong safety Kam Chancellor, and an emerging star with Byron Maxwell.
Weather is also expected to be a factor for both offenses, especially in the passing game, which could hurt the Bronco’s offense more than it should the Seahawks power running game.
Pete Carroll is a players coach. He loves to coach his players, and his players love to win for him. He lets his players be themselves (Sherman for example), and he isn’t afraid to show his own emotions on the sideline. Few coaches look like they are enjoying themselves on the sideline as much as Carroll.
He has coached in many big games in his career, most at the college level where he won two national championships at USC. He has been praised for his preparation and in-game adjustments. Carroll’s biggest win in the NFL awaits at MetLife Stadium on February 2nd, where he will have his Seahawks chomping at the bit and ready to bring home the ultimate prize.
Expect nothing less than a grind out until the final whistle is blown. Both teams will show up to play, but the team that commits the least amount of mistakes will win. Seattle is going to come out with more of an edge, and their defense will set the tone right off the bat. Manning will be forced to throw into tight windows against dangerous defenders, and running back Knowshawn Moreno will be hit hard all night long.
Wilson should limit his mistakes and has shown poise when pressured in the pocket. Marshawn Lynch will show why he is one of the premier backs in the league by rushing for over 100 yards, which will open up Seattle’s passing attack.
The game will be close from start to finish, but a few big late defensive stops with the game on the line will land Seattle their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. Seattle wins, 24-20.
Why the Broncos will win
by Jeremaih Girard
The Seattle Seahawks have generated a lot of hype for themselves with a menacing defense that hits hard and a smash-mouth style offense. They are a team built for playoff football. A lot of the past NFL dynasties, like the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s, were built the same way.
Even though this team is built like a championship team, and could win championships if they keep the core together, but this year is not their year. The Denver Broncos are led by the best statistical offense in the history of the game and not even the Seahawks can stop them.
The Denver offense was absolutely ridiculous this year. They put up numbers that would be borderline ridiculous even in Madden. They are led by Peyton Manning, who at 37-years-old put up not just the best season of his career but the best quarterbacking year in the history of the NFL.
Manning’s 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns both broke previous NFL single-season records by a wide margin.
The Broncos wide receiver core also had the best season in history by a core of wide receivers. They are by far the best in the game right now, and maybe the best in history. Four different receivers (Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas) all had over 750 yards and 10 touchdowns. Richard Sherman of the Seahawks is the best corner of the game but he can only lock down one of these guys. The athleticism of tight end Julius Thomas means he has to be guarded by a safety instead of a linebacker which will allow two great receivers to roam free. Manning throwing to these guys makes them even more dangerous, and they can beat you with short passes or with the long ball.
The Broncos also have the best kicker in the game, Matt Prater. Earlier in the year, he showed off his leg strength by making a 64-yard field goal, which is the longest kick in NFL history. He is much more than just a strong leg though. Prater made 25 of 26 field goals this year, including seven from 50 yards or more.
This isn’t even mentioning that running back Knowshon Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns.
This is the one area of the game that the Seahawks appear to have an advantage in. However, the Broncos defense is by no means weak. They will have trouble stopping Marshawn Lynch, but who doesn’t?
Russell Wilson is a smart quarterback, but he is never expected to carry the team with big plays and big numbers. The Broncos will jump out to a lead and put the Seahawks into a position where they have to throw more. Wilson does not appear ready for that challenge. Even though their secondary is not the same as Seattle’s, the Denver secondary is still not one that is easy to test.
The closest thing the Broncos have to Sherman is Chris Harris, but he is out for the playoffs with a torn ACL. It will definitely make things harder on the Bronco secondary. However, both Rahim Moore and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are formidable defensive backs with five interceptions between the two of them. Linebacker Danny Trevathan has shown huge athleticism this year and will help out in coverage.
The Broncos are also still without Von Miller, who is one of the best pass rushers in the league. But, these injuries will only allow the Seahawks to keep the game interesting.
Coaching is another area that the Broncos have an advantage in. John Fox, the head coach, has been around the league for a long time and is one of the most experienced head coaches out there. Their defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, has head coaching experience and has done a wonderful job with a defense that has been hounded by injuries all year. Adam Gase is the 34-year-old offensive coordinator of the Broncos and is quickly proving that he can be one of the best in the game for a long time to come.
The Seahawks’ defense will no doubt make this game tougher for Manning and the offense than most other teams have been able to do. However, their offense and lack of many big-play guys will ultimately be their downfall.
The Broncos will jump out early and hold off Seattle late and win 27-23.