Faceoff: Which team will be victorious in Super Bowl XLVIII?

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Bre Lehman

At the end of the day when all is said and done, it’s defense that wins championships.

The Seattle Seahawks finished the regular season with the NFL’s No. 1 defense, giving up just an average of 273 yards per game.

Seattle will face its toughest challenge yet when they face off against the Denver Broncos, who boasted the NFL’s No. 1 offense.

Seattle’s biggest advantage will be the pass defense matching up with Denver’s passing game.

Richard Sherman may have put it bluntly in his viral interview following the NFC Championship, but his league-leading eight interceptions in the regular season is all the backup he needs for his big talk.

Sherman will likely be matched up against Denver’s leading receiver, Demaryius Thomas.

If Sherman and defensive company are able to take away Thomas and Eric Decker, then Peyton Manning will be forced to use other receivers.

If Seattle can manage to shut down some of Denver’s passing game, they will have the upper hand in the running game.

Denver’s rushing game was mediocre, averaging just 117 yards per game.

The Seahawks gave up just an average of 101 yards per game during the regular season.

The Seattle defense must continue the regular season trends if they want a chance at winning the big game.
On the other side of the ball, it will be a whole different challenge.

The advantage Seattle must use is the running game.

The Seahawks rushed for a league fourth best 136 yards per game during the regular season.

Leading the rushing game was Marshawn Lynch who put up 1,257 total yards.

While Denver had a middle of the pack rush defense during the regular season, they have stepped it up this post-season.

The Broncos lead the league in post-season rush defense, giving up a mere 64 yards per game.

The Seahawks have to give the ball to Lynch and trust him to give that offense a boost.

Perhaps the most talked about factor coming into this game will be the weather.

If it snows, will that affect Manning and Russell Wilson’s passing game?

If so, then Seattle has a chance to get it done on the ground. Another outside factor will be the crowd.
Both teams will get caught up in the atmosphere of the game; the advantage will go to whichever team can overcome that and focus on the challenge at hand. If Seattle’s fans travel as well as they did in the regular season, they may be able to push that advantage into the Seahawk’s favor.

There is no denying this game is shaping up to be a fantastic Super Bowl: the league leading defense versus the league leading offense.

You can’t ask for a much better match up.

While I think it would be great to see Manning get another ring after his record-setting season, Seattle might just be the team to take that away.

If Seattle’s defense can manage to shut down Manning, I’ll take the Seahawks over the Broncos 27-17 with Marshawn Lynch earning the MVP.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”13065″ alignment=”center” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]

Matt Catrillo

It’s the matchup just about everyone wanted; the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense for the right to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Denver Broncos have all the weapons; Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and of course Peyton Manning.

This offense was unstoppable during the season, averaging 37.9 points per game and 457.3 yards per game, including 340.4 yards per game through the air.

Manning had one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career breaking, the record for the most touchdown passes thrown in one season with 55, throwing for 5,477 yards.

He is certainly poised to earn his second Super Bowl title.

The Seattle Seahawks have the ability to slow this offense down, allowing only 14.4 PPG and 273.6 YPG, including only 172 through the air.

The key matchup of this game is between Manning and the Seahawks’ defense.
Let’s take a deeper look into this: the obvious strength of this defense is the secondary, led by Richard Sherman.

He is no doubt the best cornerback in the NFL, slowing or shutting down every opponent’s top weapon.
He also had eight interceptions this season, the team high.

Sherman’s game winning pass deflection at the end of the NFC Championship game was a memorable play, but we all know what happened after the game.

Sherman said words about San Francisco 49ers’ receiver Michael Crabtree, calling him “mediocre.”
He was extremely fired up, as he should be.

He made the biggest play of his life.

But the minute he steps on the field at MetLife Stadium, he won’t be facing any “mediocre” receivers.
The Seahawks’ secondary overall is very aggressive, which has been a big part of their success.
This time however, Manning will use their aggressive ways against them.

When people normally think of high-powered offenses, they think of quarterbacks throwing bombs down the field, and making big plays.

Denver’s offense has done that here and there, but this offense is more of a finesse offense in my opinion.
You see a ton of screen passes and quick pass plays to all of their weapons.
A big reason why the Broncos won both of their playoff games was because they won the battle at the line of scrimmage.

Seattle’s front four has been solid this year, but got handled against the San Francisco 49ers.
Manning gets rid of the ball quick and very rarely holds onto the ball long, as we all know.

This all could frustrate the aggressive Seahawks’ defense, causing them to over pursue and commit unnecessary penalties, creating bigger plays for the Broncos’ offense.

If the Broncos’ offensive line can continue to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, Peyton will run the ball. He’s been able to recognize those situations before, which was a huge part of their win against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It was also a huge part of their first Super Bowl win against the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

A finesse approach, and believe it or not, the running game, gives the advantage and will give the Broncos’ their third Super Bowl title.

I’ll take Denver to win Super Bowl XLVIII 31-17, with Manning earning a second Super Bowl MVP.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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