Seahawks Insider

Breaking down the game

Post by Kenny Via / The News Tribune on Feb. 2, 2014 at 10:19 am with 19 Comments »
February 2, 2014 8:19 am

A unit-by-unit look at who has the advantage:

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS VS. DENVER BRONCOS

3:30 p.m. Sunday, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: Ch. 13. Radio: 710-AM, 950-AM, 97.3-FM, 1240-AM, 1030-AM.

Quarterback: Broncos

Here’s the most discussed position at the Super Bowl: the legendary Peyton Manning and youngster Russell Wilson. Manning set numerous passing records this year. Wilson is in Year Two of a career he hopes has a similar arc to Manning’s. Experience, knowledge and ability to adapt for Manning pushes this to Denver.

Running back: Seahawks

As Marshawn Lynch said during the week, he’s “about that action, boss.” The Broncos have said during the week that stopping Lynch is their top priority. Denver has a solid running back itself. Knowshon Moreno ran for 1,038 yards during the regular season. He’s no Lynch, however.

Wide receivers: Broncos

The Broncos have three wide receivers with 10 or more touchdowns this season. They have a slot/possession receiver in Wes Welker, a deep threat in Eric Decker and a big receiver in Demaryius Thomas. The return of Percy Harvin bolsters the Seahawks’ group, as does Doug Baldwin’s 106 receiving yards in the NFC title game. It’s closer than some might think, but the edge still belongs to Denver.

Tight end: Even

The Seahawks have done an excellent job of shutting down pass-catching tight ends such as San Francisco’s Vernon Davis and New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham. The Seahawks have used multiple defenders to cover tight ends. They’ll face another good one in Denver’s Julius Thomas (12 touchdowns). Zach Miller is an experienced tight end who is supplemented by the speed of rookie Luke Willson and blocking of Kellen Davis.

Offensive line: Broncos

Peyton Manning has been sacked 18 times in 18 games. A large part of that is because he releases the ball so quickly. Another aspect is his offensive line. The Seahawks’ offensive line has been in flux all season because of injury or mediocre play. Seattle has yet to reveal who will start at left guard Sunday. It could be a crucial position because Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton will need to be stopped. The Seahawks have two former Pro Bowl selections, Max Unger and Russell Okung, to lean on, though neither has played up to their usual standard this season.

Defensive line: Seahawks

Terrance Knighton, nicknamed “Pot Roast,” is the defensive line anchor for Denver. Seattle’s experiment of bringing in several defensive linemen and rotating them has worked beautifully. Each says they are rested, even into Super Bowl week, because of the reduction in snaps played during the season. The Seahawks have a much deeper and more versatile defensive line.

Linebackers: Seahawks

The return of K.J. Wright to a starting spot will be important to the Seahawks’ ability to cover Denver tight end Julius Thomas. One of the quietly developing players on the team is second-year linebacker Bobby Wagner. He led the Seahawks in tackles. Danny Trevathan is a force for Denver, which lost Von Miller in Week 16.

Defensive backs: Seahawks

There was a mini brouhaha last week when a couple of Denver radio hosts said the Broncos’ secondary was as good as the Seahawks’. That’s a stretch from someone serving home cooking. Byron Maxwell is the least-known player among the starters in the secondary and could start for a lot of teams. Both Denver cornerbacks, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Champ Bailey, are near retirement. Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho is prone to mistakes. The Seahawks have the best secondary in the league.

Special teams: Seahawks

Steven Hauschka has been on-point almost every kick this season. Jon Ryan has helped the Seahawks control games via field position with his punts. Golden Tate has been solid in punt returns, and Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin provide a strong kick return duo. Jeremy Lane could be the league’s best gunner. Denver’s diminutive Trindon Holliday (5-foot-5) is among the league’s best returners. He has run back a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this season. Kicker Matt Prater has missed just one field-goal attempt all season. One thing to keep an eye on: Denver allowed the highest average kick return in the league this year. Hello, Harvin?

Coaching: Even

Pete Carroll is in his first Super Bowl but has managed dozens of big games in his life. This will be the biggest. However, I don’t see it fazing him. John Fox has coached in a Super Bowl before. He knows how this works. This will be more about nuanced, in-game decisions. Will Carroll get “hormonal” in the biggest game of his life? Will Fox be desperate to win now with Manning? Neither is likely.

Pick: Seahawks 30, Broncos 23

The Seahawks’ secondary will buy its rush just enough time to get to Peyton Manning often enough that he ends up fumbling. That turnover, plus an interception, a solid throwing day for Russell Wilson and a big Percy Harvin kick return deliver the Seahawks their first title.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com

Leave a comment Comments → 19
  1. Just took a long walk through Manhattan. The 12s own the entire city.

  2. averagejay says:

    Field position is key. Kickoff returns and Punt returns will be huge for the Hawks. LOB two picks!

  3. MikeFromNewJersey says:

    The 12’s are dominating the parking lot

  4. I was embarassed by Super Bowl XL and the lack of representation by the 12th Man. I realize the Steelers only had a 4 hour drive, but it was pretty bad.

    That being said, I’m glad to see the Seahawk fans are rockin’ the house in comparision to the Bronco fans in this one! Good job guys.

  5. SandpointHawk says:

    The 12’s take Manhattan…That’s great.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    Mike and pabs: Bring it home, boys!!

  7. jawpeace says:

    Way to represent the 12!

  8. UG – I just can’t stand this!

  9. montanamike2 says:

    Off to meet the lads and bring home a trophy boss. GO HAWKS!!!

  10. seatowntp says:

    The ONLY advantage I care about is that we have the advantage on the scoreboard at the end of the game! GO HAWKS!

  11. in before georgiahawk says something about the QB advantage going to the broncos.

  12. pabuwal says:

    This is a long and slow moving security line. So get in now for anyone here.

  13. raymaines says:

    Larry Fitzgerald is on the radio right now and said he’s “close” with Chris Carter and said that CC would trade hundreds of yards and catches to be on this stage.

    Lets take Larry at his word. If CC had hundreds of yards and catches less than he does he wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. I wonder how Doug Baldwin feels about his separation now?

  14. Guys, I haven’t posted in a long time (years), but I just wanted to mention that it’s been fun reading the blog this season. Thank you.

    Pulled out my “Bronco Busters” t-shirt, that I’ve had since the old AFC West days, to wear today. I’ve been dreaming of this SuperBowl match up since we switched divisions. What’s sweeter is that Elway is still a Bronco.

    We’ve got this.

  15. Let’s bring this thing home by beating ‘ol Mr. Ed’s team.
    I can hardly wait for the dang game to start.
    L.O.B. is the new 2014 version of the Bronco Busters!

  16. The thing I LOVE about sports, specifically the Seahawks is that it brings everyone together. Regardless of sex, race, religion, political perspective, whatever it is…it brings everybody together. I feed off the energy, I love the passion and live for days like today.

    GO HAWKS!!

  17. That segment about Fox is the exact reason this game has me worried – the Broncos have played very well since his return.

    I still think we win, gonna be tight

  18. Dukeshire says:

    Bowie inactive.

  19. vichawkfan says:

    Enjoy the game everyone….win or lose I’m proud as s**t about this team. I’ll be back with my over the top exuberance after we see Carroll hoist the big one over his shoulders.

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