It seems like a matchup that’s been coming for months now. The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks have been the best teams in the NFL for the vast majority of the season, and they will meet on Feb. 2 in the Super Bowl. Denver beat the New England Patriots handily in the AFC Championship game, with Peyton Manning throwing for 400 yards and absolutely torching the Pats’ secondary while utilizing all of his weapons in his receiving corps. Their defense was also stout, holding the potent New England offense to only 16 points, after they’ve scored over 40 their past two games.
Seattle’s victory did not come so easily. They were within 22 seconds of giving up the game, as the San Francisco 49ers were driving down the field on their way to a potential game-winning touchdown. All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a pass from San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith grabbed the interception, sealing the game for the Seahawks. For Kaepernick and the 49ers, it is another season where they fell just short of the championship, but for the Seahawks, it will be an opportunity to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Denver is going to focus a lot of their energy and defensive game plan on stopping Russell Wilson this week. They can’t allow Wilson to beat them running the ball, and he needs to be accounted for at all times. Seattle is also an incredibly run-heavy team, so the Broncos will surely see a huge dose of Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. Even if they are behind, Seattle will continue to pound the football, as they did in the NFC Championship. On the other side of the ball, Peyton Manning will have to be very careful passing into the Seattle secondary. The Seahawks lead the NFL in interceptions, and they employ two of the best defensive players in the league, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Denver has so many weapons, however, (Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas) that Manning should be able to spread the ball around efficiently and keep Seattle’s defense guessing. In a matchup of the top-ranked defensive team in Seattle, and the top-ranked offense in Denver, this will be a must-watch.