Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and for those who stand by their fallen teams, we salute you.
As for Seattle and Denver, to both the lifelong fans and, yes, even the newcomers, it’s game time.
It’s been nine years since the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fell 21-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ford Field, but this year, the Seahawks are back and could very well win their first title.
This is for a number of reasons.
First, start with Marshawn Lynch, the seventh-year running back out of University of California, Berkeley and Seahawks’ offensive kingpin, who rushed for 1,257 yards, 12 touchdowns and 68 first downs this season alone.
Now, compare that to Denver’s Knowshon Moreno, who accounted for 1,038 yards, 10 touchdowns and 53 first downs throughout the season.
Though there is not much separating the two, also compare them to their opponent. Lynch is rushing into a defense ranked 19th in the league, whereas Moreno is rushing into the NFL’s No. 1 defense. A defense that allowed only 231 points this season as compared to Denver’s, which allowed nearly 400 points this season.
This brings us to what will be the biggest factor of the game: the Seattle Seahawks’ defense, which is coming into the game ranked No. 1 in the league.
Though Denver may be coming into the game sporting the No. 1 offense, it’s been said before: defense wins championships.
This is only the fifth time in Super Bowl history that the No. 1 offense has been put up against the league’s No. 1 defense, and out of those five games, only one offensive team has taken the title.
Although Peyton Manning has a better overall game, he’s going to be pitted against the most aggressive defense in the league, so it’s important to consider the quarterback’s ability to make quick, in-game decisions such as rushing personally. Wilson accounted for 539 rushing yards this season, whereas Manning accounted for -31 rushing yards.
Against the aggressive Seattle defense, if the quarterback can’t find his way out of pressure situations, then a No. 1 ranked offense is going to fall apart.
Even as a devout Seattle Seahawks fan, I have to admit Denver has an upper hand with the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker in their wide receiver slots.
But this is where Seattle’s defense comes into play once more.
Richard Sherman, the trash talking cornerback who may have overshadowed his skills with his mouth during last week’s NFC championship game when his post game interview lit up social media sites, is going to play a huge part in Sunday’s game.
Take a look at his stats: during this season, Sherman led the league with eight interceptions.
Not only this, but during the course of five games this season, Sherman allowed only nine receptions of 25 passes thrown his way, holding quarterbacks throwing his way to a 39.3 passer rating.
To put that into perspective, Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who finished dead last in this season passer rating stats, finished with 66.5.
Sherman has also held Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to zero catches on two different occasions, allowed only 19 yards, picked off Eli Manning twice in week 15, and forced Calvin “Megatron” Johnson to tie a season low with three catches during one of Sherman’s worst weeks on record.
Hate it or love it, Richard Sherman and his No. 1 ranked defense is ready to take on Manning and the Broncos’ offense, and if the cards are played right, then Seattle will be heading home with its first Super Bowl win.