The media and teams have decended on New York this week for Super Bowl 48 between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. The MetLife Stadium will host the first-ever “cold” Super Bowl and in anticipation of the game, I thought I’d look at the keys to success for both teams.
The AFC champions’ biggest weapon is their soon-to-be 5-time MVP Peyton Manning. The veteran quarterback, who is already regarded as one of the greatest of all time, could make history by being the first passer to win two Super Bowls with two different teams.
He will be their key player, he always is, but his main objective this Sunday will be to not turn the ball over. He’s a master of calling plays on the line and he knows just as much as anyone else how ball hungry this Seattle defence is. Clever passes, audibles to run plays when needed and as few risks as possible will be needed because you won’t get too many good opportunities to score against Seattle.
On the other side of the ball, Denver have really improved over the past two weeks on their defence stopping the opposition QB for long periods of time. This needs to continue on Sunday, keep Wilson in the pocket so he’s not tempted to use his legs and keep the recievers covered well beyond the play because Wilson will keep a play alive for as long as he can.
But the key for the defence is to slow down “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch. If you stuff him at every attempt, don’t allow him to break out a long one and it hurts their passing game too. They killed the San Diego and New England rushing attack, they need to do it again or Seattle could put up big points.
With Special Teams it’s the basics, Prater is a good kicker so that isn’t a worry and Colquitt is a solid punter too. The only worry is Trinton Holiday, the return specialist, as he has a tendancy to fumble and that cannot happen Sunday. He can break out a TD play, but he’s too much of a risk to take into a game against a hard-hitting side like Seattle.
We all know Seattle’s strength and if you don’t, go ask Richard Sherman to yell it at you. The Legion of Boom have been utterly dominant this year with 28 interceptions and ranking first in total yards per game. This Sunday, they go up against the best offence in the league and their main goal is simple, to stop them winning Denver the game.
First of all, their excellent pass rush needs to make Peyton panic early on, pressing him hard and if possible getting some hits. Hopefully this will lead to one or two wayward throws, which is a gift that Seattle has to take, keep the ball out of Manning’s hands.
On offence, they need to establish the run early and get Beast Mode dominating the line so that it opens up more play-action opportunities. From there, even if a play leads to Russell Wilson scrambling because sometimes that can lead to their biggest chunk of yardage.
If Percy Harvin is able to start, he needs to start. He’s their best passing weapon, despite barely playing all season long and getting him into the game will make more space for players like Golden Tate to get easier catches.
Again, Special Teams is about doing nothing silly and not turning the ball over cheaply. This tends to chalk up a few field goals, they need to make sure they go through so that if they get out in front they stay there.
It should be an exciting game, the elements could be a factor but with it likely to stay dry during the game it’ll probably be an old fashioned tussle between the best two teams in the NFL. The only shame is that it’ll be the last game until September, so make sure you soak it all in before the long, long off-season begins.