Thursday, 30 January 2014

Superbowl Preview

by Henry Cunnison

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
(wiki commons)
This Sunday, in New Jersey’s Met Life stadium, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will clash in the “greatest show of turf.” Denver Broncos, led by perhaps the greatest player of all time, Peyton Manning, have had a record-breaking season and are therefore the favourites. But since the arrival of quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks have had two fantastic seasons and their league-best defence has the speed and skill to halt the Broncos juggernaut. For these reasons, the game should be very close, but I would suggest the Seahawks have the edge.

The Broncos do seem formidable. In Manning, they have the best quarterback in the league, who has far more experience than his opposite number. His 2013 season has been one of the best ever, including 55 passing touchdowns, an all-time record, and a second Superbowl victory could be the cherry on the cake of a great career for the 37 year old.
Denver has no shortage of talent around Manning on offense. The wide receiver trio of Dekker, Welker and Demaryius Thomas are guaranteed to create miss-matches with the defence. This was evident in the AFC championship game. They are complemented by tight-end Julian Thomas, whose breakout season has marked him out as a crucial weapon against the Seahawks.  Furthermore their offensive line ensures Manning always has time to make a throw and rarely gets hit. These elements combined help explain why the Broncos' offense has easily ranked as the best in the NFL. But the Seahawks have the best defence in the league. They have speed and physicality. They have the ability to cover and shutdown the Denver wide receivers, and their cornerback Richard Sherman is the self-proclaimed best in the league. They can cause fumbles and interceptions.

Nor will the Seahawks offense be easy to stop.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
(Wiki Commons)
They have one of the best rushing games in the league, led by “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch. But Denver has shown they can stop similar running games when they halted New England. This will mean a larger role for the Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Although he does not have the same standard of weapons around him, he has consistently put up good statistics during his two seasons in Seattle. Potentially his most useful skill is his mobility. He has the ability to make yards on the ground. Denver will have to watch him. This can stretch the defence.

Denver has the best offense in the NFL, perhaps of all time. They have a huge amount of playmakers. Yet the Seahawks have the ability to stop them. It is a cliché in the NFL, but in the end defence wins championships. That is why Seattle has the chance to win a Superbowl for the first time in franchise history.



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