TALE OF THE TAPE

Super Bowl Preview: Seattle Seahawks Vs. Denver Broncos

Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos
(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after they defeated the New England Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after they defeated the New England Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Seahawks were the NFL’s best team in the regular season and they have continued to assert themselves in the playoffs. They continue to feed off of Russell Wilson’s athleticism and creativity. Wilson’s production has slowed in recent games with five TD passes in his last six games, but his ability to scramble, buy time and make big plays late could prove to be the difference maker in the Super Bowl.
Winner Peyton Manning was not only fighting to get his team to the Super Bowl when he led the Broncos to their AFC Championship game victory over the Patriots, he was seemingly fighting for his legacy in his battle with Tom Brady. Manning came through with flying colors, throwing for 400 yards and dictating the outcome. Manning threw 55 TD passes this year and he is the game’s pre-eminent quarterback.
Offense
The Seahawks are going to try to establish their physical dominance with their power running game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 1.257 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, and his drive and power can wear down the most physical defenses. Golden Tate is a solid receiver who caught 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns, while Doug Baldwin and tight end Zach Miller are solid playmakers as well.
Winner The Broncos have more game-changing offensive weapons than any team in the league. When Manning attacks, he is going to look for Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas downfield. Wes Welker is one of the most reliable possession types in the league, while tight end Julius Thomas is an X-factor who can keep drives alive. Running back Knowshon Moreno is a solid runner who takes pressure off of Manning.
Defense
Winner This is the Seahawks’ most decisive advantage in this game. They are a big, strong, nasty and physical defense that is led by its Legion of Boom secondary. Richard Sherman has eclipsed Darrelle Revis at the top cover corner in the game, while free safety Earl Thomas is a dominant hitter. The linebacking crew of Bobby Wagner (team-high 120 tackles), K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith is quite underrated.
The Broncos shut down the Patriots’ running game because they controlled the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton dominated the interior and never let LeGarrette Blount get started. While the Broncos ranked 26th against the pass, they will attempt to slow down the Seahawks with hard-hitting linebacker Danny Trevathan and safety Duke Ihenacho.
Special Teams
Winner The Seahawks have been consistent in their coverage units all season, and they simply don’t allow their opponents to have any yards returning punts. Placekicker Steven Hauschka had a brilliant season, making 33-of-35 FG attempts and 6-of-6 in the postseason. Jon Ryan is a solid directional punter.
Winner Trindon Holliday has superb quickness and is one of the best returners in the league. Matt Prater made 30-of-32 FG attempts this season (postseason included). Britton Colquitt gets excellent height and averaged 44.5 yards per punt this season

The Winner Is

Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after they defeated the New England Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Winner Denver Broncos
3 out of 4

If the Broncos are going to survive this game and win their first Super Bowl since the John Elway era, they are going to have to survive a terrific physical battle against a vicious Seahawks defense. Denver has the weapons, but the Seahawks are battle-tested and should be able to impose their will.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

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