Seattle matches Denver easily
The more I dive into the strengths and weaknesses of each team, the more I become convinced that barring some wacky officiating or some tremendously bad luck, the Seattle Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLVIII in stunning fashion.
With all due respect to Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos and all that they have accomplished, they just don’t match up very well against the Seattle Seahawks.
Everything that makes Denver’s offense great is where Seattle’s defense does it’s best work.
The Seahawks struggle against teams with an athletic QB and against defenses that play the run well. I’m sorry folks but that’s just not Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Here are 5 matchups that prove my point.
Demaryius Thomas vs. Richard Sherman
Thomas has had a spectacular year. 92 catches, 1400+ yards, and 14 touchdowns are certainly nothing to sneeze at. I think you have to consider what kind of defense he’s been doing that against, though, and when you do – you see mostly teams that play off coverage and some type of two deep zone in their secondary.
The Denver passing attack is built on time to throw for Manning and well timed throws that are designed to dissect zone defenses and off coverage.
Seattle just doesn’t play that way. Richard Sherman, like always, is going to line up right on Thomas and press him at the line. Thomas hasn’t dealt with that type of defense hardly at all and when he has the results have not been good.
Peyton Manning vs. Seattle Front 7
Allow me to state the obvious– Peyton Manning can’t run the ball. He’s no Kaepernick.
During the NFC Championship, the 49ers could not run Frank Gore at all. Thank Seattle’s secondary for that. By bringing up that extra guy into the box and playing press man coverage outside, the run was not there for Frank Gore all evening long.
It was there for Colin Kaepernick and the reason why is that now the running back is the extra blocker that takes care of the extra defender while the QB runs. Do you really see Manning trying a designed run play against the Hawks? Is Denver going to go back to the Wildcat? Uhhh… no.
So with Moreno and Manning not able to run, Denver will try to pass into a defense that they don’t typically see which is exactly what Seattle wants them to do and is Seattle’s strength. Manning will get sacked or hurry his throw, the receivers will get bumped off their routes at the line and well…you know the rest.
Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate and Percy Harvin vs the Denver Secondary
Doug Baldwin admittedly plays with “a boulder on his shoulder” because of the lack of respect the Seahawk receiving corps gets in the press.
If I’m Doug Baldwin, I’m not scared of Champ Bailey. Bailey is 35 years old and does not have a single interception on the year.
On the other side of the field you have Golden Tate who will be lining up against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Cromartie has 3 picks on the year and while he has some height not typical for a CB outside of Seattle he certainly doesn’t have the speed and shiftiness to keep up with the likes of Tate.
As much as I think those matchups favor Seattle all by themselves, you still have to factor in Percy Harvin who will play in the game. Remember the first half of the playoff game against the Saints where the Seattle offense was constantly moving up and down the field? Percy Harvin is the reason.
Percy Harvin is that unique player that when he’s on the field, you have to account for him, even if you don’t think the ball is going his way. That dynamic gives Tate, Baldwin, Miller, even Lynch that much more room to work with.
Marshawn Lynch vs Denver Front 7
This isn’t even a fair fight. Denver is a team that AVERAGES allowing a team over 100 yards on the ground per game and no one has run the ball more, or more effectively that the Seattle Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch has to be absolutely licking his chops looking at this defense.
The issue is compounded for Denver as their best linebacker, Von Miller, was lost for the Season in December. Yes, Denver has won a couple of games against San Diego and New England but those teams aren’t exactly known for winning games on the ground. Seattle is.
The Turnover Battle
My final thought on this game is to keep an eye on the turnover battle. The Seattle Seahawks lead the NFL with a +20 turnover margin during the regular season. Denver, on the other hand, was a flat 0.
Manning threw 10 interceptions on the season. Russell Wilson only threw 9.
I’m not saying Denver turns the ball over a lot, but they don’t force many turnovers either which is a reflection of their middle of the road defense. The only way to beat the Seattle defense is to get a short field on a turnover and that’s just not something Denver does well.
Prediction: Just like in the pre-season, Seattle wins big over Denver 31-17.