Super Bowl XLVIII -- Seahawks-Broncos Game Preview ...

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  • Best of the Best …
    Super Bowl XLVIII -- Seahawks-Broncos Game Preview …
    5 Keys to a Seahawks Victory …

    [Steve Raible on the Call]”... Kaepernick trying to save his last 2 time outs. Calls the play. His wide receivers slotted on the far side. Shotgun for Kaepernick. Takes the snap … looks … fires … near side, going for the end zone. Ball is tipped up [Warren Moon screams for joy] and knocked away. Is it picked off? Is it picked off? IT IS! IT’S PICKED OFF IN THE END ZONE! THE SEAHAWKS INTERCEPT IN THE END ZONE! RICHARD SHERMAN TIPS IT! MALCOLM SMITH PICKS IT OFF IN THE END ZONE! INTENDED IN THE FAR CORNER. THE SEAHAWKS ARE GONNA RUN THIS BABY DOWN! WE ARE GOING TO NEW JERSEY! HOLY SMOKE! THE DEFENSE DOES IT AGAIN! HOLY CATFISH!”


    And now … it all comes down to this. 60 minutes of winning football. That’s all that stands between the Seattle Seahawks and the Lombardi Trophy. To BE the best … they’ve got to BEAT the best though, as the #1 Defense in the NFL (and one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen) … goes up against the #1 Offense in the NFL (and one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen). Can it get more dramatic than that? Ever since the Seahawks and Broncos faced off in the Preseason, many Seahawks fans sat dreaming about seeing the Seattle go up against Denver in the Super Bowl. Now those dreams have become reality. The #1 seeded Broncos (the Best of the AFC) and the #1 seeded Seahawks (the Best of the NFC) square off in an epic clash that will determine who is king of the NFL’s mountain. Will it be the Legend in Peyton Manning grabbing the brass ring one last time before he rides off into the sunset … or Russell Wilson cementing his status as one of the true rising superstars in this league and starting to build his own resume for the Hall of Fame?

    Before we get into just who the Denver Broncos are and the specific keys to victory for Seattle in this game, let’s delve in to the numbers for both of these teams and see what story they tell ...

    Broncos vs. Seahawks Offense-Defense Comparison (Regular Season Stats)…
    Broncos Off. Category/NFL RankSeahawks Def. Category/NFL RankSeahawks Off. Category/NFL RankBroncos Def. Category/NFL Rank
    457.3 Yards/Game (1st)273.6 Yards/Game Allwd (Fewest)339.0 Yards/Game (17th)356.0 Yards/Game Allwd (19th)
    37.9 Points Scored/Game (1st)14.4 Points/Game Allwd (Fewest)26.1 Points Scored/Game (Tied 8th)24.9 Points/Game Allwd (22nd)
    46% on 3rd Downs (2nd)35% of 3rd Down Allwd (Tied 8th)37% on 3rd Downs (17th)38% of 3rd Downs Allwd (Tied 15th)
    27 Fumbles (Tied 4th)26 Fumbles Caused (Tied 4th)26 Fumbles (7th Most)25 Fumbles Caused (Tied 7th)
    461 Rushing Attempts (11th)422 Rush Attempts Against (10th Fewest)509 Rushing Attempts (2nd)420 Rush Att Against (8th Fewest)
    1,873 Rushing Yds (15th)1,626 Rush Yds Allwd (Tied 7th Fewest)2,188 Rushing Yards (4th)1,626 Yards/Game Allwd (Tied 7th Fewest)
    117.1 Rushing Yds/Game (15th)101.6 Rush Yds/Game Allwd (Tied 7th Fewest)136.8 Rushing Yds/Game (4th)101.6 Rush Yds/Game Allwd (Tied 7th Fewest)
    9 Runs of 20+ Yds (Tied 18th)6 Runs of 20+ Yds Allwd (Tied 4th Fewest)11 Runs of 20+ Yds (Tied 10th)13 Runs of 20+ Yds Allwd (22nd)
    16 Rushing TD’s (Tied 7th)4 Rushing TD’s Allwd (Tied Fewest)14 Rushing TD’s (Tied 13th)15 Rushing TD’s Allwd (Tied 23rd)
    107 First Downs (10th)83 First Downs Allwd (9th Fewest)116 First Downs (4th)90 First Downs Allwd (13th Fewest)
    10 Rushing Fumbles (Tied 27th)7 Rush Fumbles Caused (Tied 10th Most)6 Rushing Fumbles (Tied 14th)9 Rush Fumbles Caused (Tied 5th)
    675 Pass Attempts (2nd)524 Pass Att Against (7th Fewest)420 Pass Attempts (31st)613 Pass Att Against (27th)
    5,444 Passing Yds (1st)2,752 Pass Yds Allwd (Fewest)3,236 Passing Yards (26th)4,070 Pass Yds Allwd (27th)
    340.2 Passing Yds/Game (1st)172.0 Pass Yds/Game Allwd (Fewest)202.2 Passing Yds/Game (26th)254.4 Pass Yds/Game Allwd (27th)
    8.3 Average Yds/Pass (3rd)5.8 Yds/Pass Att Allwd (Fewest)8.4 Average Yds/Pass (2nd)7.1 Yds/Pass Allwd (Tied 15th)
    12.1 Avg. Yds/Reception (8th)9.9 Yds/Reception Allwd (Fewest)13.1 Avg Yds/Reception (3rd)12.2 Yds/Reception Allwd (Tied 24th)
    68.3% Pass Completion (3rd)59.0% Pass Comp. Allwd (Tied 9th)63.6% Pass Completion (9th)58.2% Pass Comp. Allwd (6th)
    55 Passing TD’s (1st)16 Pass TD’s Allwd (2nd Fewest)27 Passing TD’s (10th)29 Pass TD’s Allwd (Tied 21st)
    68 Passes of 20+ Yds (2nd)30 Passes of 20+ Yds Allwd (Fewest)52 Passes of 20+ Yds (Tied 13th)61 Passes of 20+ Yds Allwd (27th)
    114.4 QB Rating (1st)63.4 QB Rating Allwd (1st)102.4 QB Rating (5th)84.5 QB Rating Allwd (17th)
    10 Interceptions Thrown (Tied 5th Fewest)28 Interceptions (Most)9 Interceptions Thrown (Tied 2nd Least)17 Interceptions (Tied 12th)
    20 Sacks Allowed (Fewest)44 Sacks (Tied 8th)44 Sacks Allowed (Tied 20th)41 Sacks (Tied 13th)
    54 QB Hits Allowed (3rd Fewest)NA93 QB Hits Allowed (22nd)NA
    NA114 Passes Defensed (Tied 5th)NA109 Passes Defensed (8th)

    Forced Fumbles …
    Seahawks … 17 (5th Most)
    Broncos … 16 (Tied 6th Most)

    Give Away/Take Away Margin …
    Seahawks … +20 (1st)
    Broncos … +0 (Tied 13th)

    Key #1: KNOW and own the ground game …

    In so many ways, these 2 teams couldn’t be more opposite. Here were the numbers in terms of the Broncos Offense and how they compare with those of the Seahawks …

    2013 Broncos (Regular Season Stats)...
    Rushing Attempts …461 (40.58% of Offense)
    Passing Attempts … 675 (59.42% of Offense)
    Total Attempts … 1,136

    2013 Seahawks (Regular Season Stats)...
    Rushing Attempts …509 (54.8% of Offense)
    Passing Attempts … 420 (45.2% of Offense)
    Total Attempts … 929

    As you can see, unlike the Seahawks the Broncos’ primary means of moving the football is via the pass. In fact, they passed the ball 675 times during the regular season -- 2nd most attempts of any team in the NFL.

    So, why focus on Denver’s running game so much?

    Because Denver’s running backs are a deceptively large part of what they do on offense.

    Before we get into that though, let’s take a brief look at their rushing numbers on the season ...

    2013 Broncos Rushing Offense (Top Rushers)
    PlayerRush AttemptsRushing YardsYards/CarryRuns of 20 Yards+Touchdowns
    RB Knowshon Moreno2411,0384.3510
    RB Montee Ball1205594.734
    RB Ronnie Hillman552184.001

    The further you break down the Denver passing attack, the more evident it becomes just how involved the Broncos running backs truly are. Let’s take a look at just how many times Broncos running backs have been targeted this season …

    RB Knowshon Moreno … 74 targets … 60 catches … 548 yards … 3 TD
    RB Montee Ball … 27 targets … 20 catches … 145 yards … 0 TD
    RB Ronnie Hillman … 14 targets … 12 catches … 119 yards … 0 TD
    Total … 115 targets … 92 catches … 812 yards … 3 TD

    So, they’ve accounted for ...
    115 of 675 targets (17.03% of passing attempts)
    92 of 461 catches (19.96% of catches)

    Denver running backs have been nearly 20% of the Broncos total passing offense this year.

    And when you factor in their yards on the ground as well, the importance of keying on stopping their running backs becomes abundantly clear ...

    If you take a look at the overall numbers, you will discover that Denver Running Backs have accounted for …

    576 of their 1,136 total plays (50.7% of the Broncos Total Plays)
    2,685 of their 7,445 total yards (36.1% of the Broncos Total Yards)
    12 of 64 total TD’s (18.75% of the Broncos Total TD’s)

    So, as has been the case all season long, the first and foremost important job of the Seahawks Defense will be to stop the run -- and that means shutting down Knowshon Moreno. Let’s take a look at his numbers on the season ...

    Knowshon Moreno’s 2013 Rushing Statistics
    WeekOpponent/ResultOpp. Run Defense (Football Outsiders)AttemptsYardsAvg. Yards/CarryLongest RunTD’s
    1 (9/5)49-27 WIN vs Ravens-13.6% (10th)9283.170
    2 (9/15)41-23 WIN at Giants-17.2% (3rd)13937.2252
    3 (9/23)37-21 WIN vs. Raiders-3.6% (18th)12393.390
    4 (9/29)52-20 WIN vs. Eagles-11.3% (12th)12786.5171
    5 (10/6)51-48 WIN at Cowboys4.3% (28th)19934.9161
    6 (10/13)35-19 WIN vs Jaguars1.1% (24th)15422.8113
    7 (10/20)33-39 LOSS at Colts-0.1% (22nd)15402.791
    8 (10/27)45-21 WIN vs. Redskins-5.4% (17th)13433.380
    10 (11/10)28-20 WIN at Chargers8.6% (31st)15654.390
    11 (11/17)27-17 WIN vs. Chiefs-6.4% (15th)27792.9110
    12 (11/24)34-31 (OT) LOSS at Patriots4.3% (27th)372246.1181
    13 (12/1)35-28 WIN at Chiefs-6.4% (15th)15181.2130
    14 (12/8)51-28 WIN vs Titans1.3% (26th)14785.6251
    15 (12/12)27-20 LOSS vs. Chargers8.6% (31st)8192.460
    16 (12/22)37-13 WIN at Texans-11.4% (11th)11766.9310
    17 (12/29)34-14 WIN at Raiders-3.6% (18th)6233.8100

    Knowshon Moreno’s Postseason Rushing Statistics
    WeekOpponent/ResultOpp. Run Defense (Football Outsiders)AttemptsYardsAvg. Yards/CarryLongest RunTD’s
    (1/12)24-17 WIN vs. Packers8.6% (31st) 23823.6141
    (1/19)26-16 WIN vs. Patriots4.3% (27th)14594.2280

    The Broncos tend to use their running game as a change of pace to set up their potent passing attack. But as demonstrated above, they are also heavily involved in the passing game as well. Moreno and the other Denver Running Backs have been targets coming out of the backfield on those swing and screen passes … and they’ve obviously been pretty successful at it.

    So, it’ll be incumbent upon Seattle to be wary of Denver’s Running Backs and to keep an eye on them. The Seahawks defense against the run was very good down the stretch. Since allowing 200 yards on the ground to the Rams in Week 8 … and 205 yards on the ground to the Buccaneers at Century Link in Week 9 … the Seahawks run defense has been fairly solid ...

    Falcons (Week 10 -- 11/10/13)… 16 Carries … 64 Yards Rushing (4.0 Yards/Carry)

    Vikings (Week 11 -- 11/17/13) … 33 Carries … 132 Yards Rushing (4.0 Yards/Carry) … BUT, 58 of the Vikings 132 Rushing Yards in that game came against the 2nd and 3rd String after the starters were pulled at the start of the 4th Quarter. The Vikings managed only 73 yards on 28 carries on the ground total (2.81 Yards/Carry) against the starters.

    Saints (Week 13 -- 12/2/13) …17 Carries … 44 Yards Rushing (2.6 Yards/Carry)

    49ers (Week 14 -- 12/8/13) … 33 Carries … 163 Yards Rushing (4.9 Yards/Carry). However, 51 of Frank Gore’s yards came on 1 play. Take away that 1 play and the Seahawks limited San Francisco to 32 Carries … 112 Yards Rushing (just 3.5 Yards/Carry).

    Giants (Week 15 -- 12/15/13) … 14 Carries … 25 Yards Rushing (1.8 Yards/Carry).

    Cardinals (Week 16 -- 12/22/13) … 43 Carries … 139 Yards Rushing (3.2 Yards/Carry)

    Rams (Week 17 -- 12/29/2013) ... 18 Carries ... 13 Yards Rushing (0.7 Yards/Carry)

    Saints (Divisional Playoffs -- 1/11/14) … 26 Carries … 108 Yards Rushing (4.2 Yards/Carry)

    49ers (NFC Championship Game -- 1/19/14) … 28 Carries … 161 Yards Rushing (5.8 Yards/Carry) However, Colin Kaepernick was the bulk of that running attack, rushing for 130 yards on 11 carries. Outside of him, San Francisco’s running backs gained a grand total of 31 yards on the ground last week.

    According to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks defensive line ended the season with the 4th most stops in the league. They had tackles Brandon Mebane (+22.7 Run Defense Grade) and Tony McDaniel (+17.4 Run Defense Grade) graded as their 2nd and 4th best run defenders this year. Michael Bennett and Red Bryant both also finished in their Top 12 in terms of Run Stop Percentage among 4-3 defensive ends, so Seattle has the horses to be able to shut down the run in this game and outside of a few instances, they’ve done a good job of doing so (the Seahawks 11 runs of 20 yards or more ranked 10th Best in the NFL this year). Since the Saints game in Week 13 (so the last 7 games including last week’s playoff game), the Seahawks defense has allowed just 6 big plays (3 of them last week) ...

    Frank Gore of the 49ers in Week 14 (51 Yards) … [Gore had just 59 yards outside of that run and averaged just 3.69 yards/carry otherwise]

    Andre Ellington of the Cardinals (26 Yards) [Ellington gained just 38 yards on 14 carries, averaging only 2.71 yards/carry outside of that run]

    Khiry Robinson of the Saints in the Divisional Game (17 Yards) … [Robinson averaged just 3.3
    yards/carry on 12 runs]

    Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers had 3 this past weekend (17 Yards) in the 1st Quarter … (58 yards) in the 2nd Quarter … and (22 Yards) in the 3rd Quarter.

    Now, obviously Peyton Manning isn’t exactly Colin Kaepernick in terms of his ability to move. He’s as still in the pocket as a statue -- he’s not going anywhere in terms of his scrambling. That brings us back to Knowshon Moreno.

    On the season, here were Moreno’s largest runs and who they came against (according to Football Outsiders) …

    Week 2 -- NY Giants … 25 yard run (Giants were 3rd in Defense … 32nd in Offense)
    Week 4 -- Eagles … 17 yard run (Eagles were 14th in Defense … 2nd in Offense)
    Week 5 -- Cowboys … 16 yard run (Cowboys were 32nd in Defense … 14th in Offense)
    Week 12 -- Patriots … 18 yard run (Patriots were 22nd in Defense … 1st in Offense)
    Week 14 -- Titans … 25 yard run (Titans were 25th in Defense … 11th in Offense)
    Week 16 -- Texans … 31 yard run (Texans were 24th in Defense … 31st in Offense)

    By in large, most of those big runs came against some of the poorer defenses in the league.

    Back in Week 15, the San Diego Chargers were able to knock off the Broncos in part because they absolutely shut down the run, holding Denver to just 18 total yards on the ground that day. Seattle has had several instances of doing exactly that to opposing teams this year. If the Seahawks can simply play gap disciplined football, Seattle has a good chance of limiting the effectiveness of the Denver running backs due to the overall speed and sideline to sideline coverage ability of that defense.

    Let’s turn our attention now to the obvious focus coming in to this game ...

    Key #2: L.O.B. -- Time to MANning Up! …

    Before we get more in depth with Peyton Manning, let’s take a look at his numbers this season ...

    Peyton Manning’s 2013 Statistics
    WeekOpponentOpp. Def DVOA (Football Outsiders)Comp.Att.Comp%YardsTD’sINT’sQB Rating
    1 (9/5)49-27 WIN vs Ravens-11.0% (8th)274264.3%46270141.1
    2 (9/15)41-23 WIN at Giants-18.9% (3rd)304369.8%30720105.5
    3 (9/23)37-21 WIN vs. Raiders13.6% (29th)323786.5%37430135.8
    4 (9/29)52-20 WIN vs. Eagles-0.9% (14th)283482.4%32740146.0
    5 (10/6)51-48 WIN at Cowboys23.1% (32nd)334278.6%41441129.6
    6 (10/13)35-19 WIN vs Jaguars6.7% (21st)284266.7%2952192.9
    7 (10/20)33-39 LOSS at Colts6.4% (20th)294959.2%3863196.1
    8 (10/27)45-21 WIN vs. Redskins-0.7% (15th)304468.2%3544394.3
    10 (11/10)28-20 WIN at Chargers8.2% 23rd)253669.4%33040135.2
    11 (11/17)27-17 WIN vs. Chiefs1.1% (18th)244060.0%3231094.1
    12 (11/24)34-31 (OT) LOSS at Patriots7.0% (22nd)193652.8%1502170.4
    13 (12/1)35-28 WIN at Chiefs1.1% (18th)223562.9%40352118.2
    14 (12/8)51-28 WIN vs Titans8.9% (25th)395966.1%39740107.8
    15 (12/12)27-20 LOSS vs. Chargers8.2% (23rd)274165.9%2892192.4
    16 (12/22)37-13 WIN at Texans8.3% (24th)325162.7%40040113.2
    17 (12/29)34-14 WIN at Raiders13.6% (29th)252889.3%26640145.8
    Season TotalsNANA45065968.3%5,4775510115.1


    1/12/14 vs. Chargers … WIN 24-17 … 25 of 36 (69.4%) for 230 Yards … 2 TD … 1 INT …93.5 QB Rating

    1/19/14 vs. Patriots … WIN 26-16 … 32 of 43 (74.4%) for 400 Yards … 2 TD … 0 INT … 118.4 QB Rating

    Peyton Manning in a word … is Legendary. Over the course of his 14 year illustrious career, Manning is a 7 Time All-Pro … he has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls … and has been the league’s MVP 4 times. He has a career pass completion percentage of 65.5 … and has completed 5,532 passes (2nd most all time) … has thrown for 64,964 yards (2nd most all time) … 491 touchdowns (2nd most all time) … and owns a career QB Rating of 97.2 (2nd most all time). Most importantly, his teams have a record of 167-73 in games he has started. when his team has been down and they’ve needed him to help lead them to victory, he has -- having engineered 4 Quarter comeback game winning drives a mind blowing 52 times. For all of that though, Peyton Manning has but 1 Super Bowl Ring to his name (in 2006). But this year, Manning has been a man on a mission.

    The Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning on March 7, 2012 because of grave concerns that his career was all but over. In May of 2011, Manning had undergone neck surgery to alleviate pain and arm weakness that he had been dealing with. That proved unsuccessful however, so he ended up going under the knife a second time in September of 2011 -- this time to undergo cervical neck fusion. The procedure caused him to miss the entire 2011 season and rather than hold out hope that the then 36 year old could regain his old form, Colts owner Jim Irsay chose to turn the page, let the Andrew Luck era begin, and cut Manning.

    In 2013, Manning responded to his critics for posting a season for the ages. Manning passed for more yards (5,477) and more touchdowns (55) in a season than anyone in NFL History. He posted a QB Rating of 115.1 and an amazing Total QBR of 82.93 (60 is considered Pro Bowl Level).

    The numbers that the Broncos receivers put up this year are absolutely eye popping ...

    (2013) Broncos Top Receiving Targets
    ReceiverSizeCatchesTargetsYardsYards/CatchTD’s#Catches of 20 Yds+
    WR Demaryius Thomas6’3” 229 Lbs921431,43015.51419
    WR Ed Decker6’3” 214 Lbs871371,28814.81119
    WR Wes Welker5’9” 185 Lbs7311077810.71012
    TE Julius Thomas6’5” 250 Lbs658978812.11210
    RB Knowshon Moreno5'11” 220 Lbs60745489.135
    TE Jacob Tamme6'3” 230 Lbs20251849.210
    RB Montee Ball5'10" 215 Lbs20271457.301
    WR Andre Caldwell6'0" 200 Lbs163020012.532
    RB Ronnie Hillman5'10" 195 Lbs12141199.900

    Looking at the numbers above, here is the breakdown of the Broncos top receiving targets and just how well Manning has spread the ball around this year ...

    WR Demaryius Thomas ...143 Targets (21.19% of Passing Offense)
    WR Ed Decker … 137 Targets (20.3% of Passing Offense)
    WR Wes Welker … 110 Targets (16.3% of Passing Offense)
    TE Julius Thomas … 89 Targets (13.19% of Passing Offense)
    RB Knowshon Moreno … 74 Targets (10.96% of Passing Offense)

    Total Team Receiving Targets … 675

    Demaryius Thomas runs a 40 yard dash in 4.38 seconds, was 4th in the league in receiving yards (1,430), was 2nd in the NFL in Yards After the Catch (633), 2nd in receiving touchdowns (14), and among the league leaders with 19 catches of 20 yards or more.

    Ed Decker was 12th in the league in receiving yards (1,288), tied for 8th in the NFL in touchdowns (11), and also among the league leaders with 19 catches of 20 yards or more.

    Wes Welker had 73 receptions, 10 receiving touchdowns (tied for 10th in the league), and tied Golden Tate in catches of 20 yards or more (12).

    Julius Thomas had 65 catches, 10 catches of 20 yards or more, and 12 receiving touchdowns this year -- most by any tight end in Broncos history.

    Despite statistics and overall measurables that might steal the breath away from many Seahawks fans, Seattle actually DOES have the kind of team that can slow down the Broncos.

    Lindsay Jones, who writes for USA Today and has covered both the Seahawks and Broncos, was on with KJR 950am’s Ian Furness on 1/21/14 and talked about the formula that has worked against the Broncos this year. Here were her keys for how to stop (or at least slow down) Peyton Manning and that mercurial offense ...

    1) Pressure Peyton Manning but DON’T Blitz -- he usually recognizes what kind of blitz you’re employing before you bring it and will burn you.

    2) Drop more guys into coverage than Peyton is used to having dropped against him.

    3) Be really physical with the wide receivers. Never let them have a free release off the line of scrimmage. Don’t let them run the pick plays and the rub routes they like to perform.

    4) Force turnovers.

    5) Put together long scoring drives and keep Peyton Manning off the field.

    Now, what team do we know that does all of that? If I were a Broncos fan, I would be a bit worried about this game for the simple fact that you couldn’t have chosen a worse match-up for Denver than Seattle’s Defense. Let’s go through Lindsay Jones’s points one by one in terms of how the Seahawks Defense matches up ...

    1) Pressure Peyton Manning but DON’T Blitz -- he usually recognizes what kind of blitz you’re employing before you bring it and will burn you.

    On Defense, the Seattle Seahawks DON'T tend to blitz all that much for the simple fact that they don't have to. Last season, a major reason that the Seahawks lost to the Falcons in the playoffs was their inability to generate any kind of pass rush in that game. That was a big problem down the stretch -- and especially become a real issue once Chris Clemons went down in the Redskins playoff game. This past offseason, GM John Schneider made a concerted effort to address that -- and boy did he ever. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett have really transformed Seattle's Front 4 in to a pretty scary beast. Though neither are starters (Seattle tends to rotate guys through periodically and according to situation), both cause a heck of a lot of problems when they're in there. Avril has a tendency to create a lot of strip sacks (where he causes the QB to fumble as he sacks him). That's a skill he's had ever since he was in Detroit and he did it yet again this past game against Kaepernick.

    Pro Football Focus noted that 22 of the 55 total pressures he’s had this year have translated into hits and sacks, well above the league average. Michael Bennett is a guy I was extremely excited to get, as he's someone who's unique in that he can play both interior lineman or out wide at either defensive end spot. He generates a lot of pressure as well. Both Bennett and Avril were among Pro Football Focus's top 10 defensive lineman in terms of generating pressure. And the Seahawks pass rush doesn't stop there. DT's Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel were not only two of the top run stuffers in the game (2nd and 4th best according to PFF) ... they were also two of the NFL's best pass rushing interior lineman as well. Seattle was one of the best pressure inducing teams in the NFL WITHOUT having to blitz much.

    Getting effective pressure on Peyton Manning and moving him off his spot; however, is going to be a challenge. According to Football Outsiders, Denver’s Offensive Line was #1 in football in terms of their Pass Protection this year. What makes that even more impressive is when you stop to consider that the Broncos lost their starting Left Tackle Ryan Clady was lost for the season clear back on September 18th with a Lisfranc Injury … and the man who was scheduled to be the starting Center for this group (Dan Koppen) was lost for the season after he tore his ACL in training camp. Chris Clark (who took over at Left Tackle) and Manny Ramirez (who assumed the starting job at Center) have performed very well, as they allowed the fewest sacks in football (20). Peyton Manning has also helped minimize sacks, as he not only has the fastest release in the game (average of about 2 seconds from snap to release), he is also fantastic at reading defenses at the line of scrimmage, so can help slide the protection to account for oncoming blitzes. Because of that, Seattle’s Front 4 has its job cut out for them this Sunday. It should be a great matchup.

    2) Drop more guys into coverage than Peyton is used to having dropped against him.

    Part of what makes the Broncos so successful is they are able to overwhelm defenses by flooding them with far more quality receivers than they can possibly cover. When it comes to the passing game though, Seattle has an equally impressive number of defensive players who are extremely adept at pass coverage.

    Because the Seahawks don’t tend to blitz that much, Seattle has a major advantage when it comes to pass coverage. They will often drop their linebackers into coverage and those guys are very good at it. Most times, putting a linebacker on a tight end is the kiss of death for a defense -- especially against really good tight ends. But Seattle's linebacking corps is a whole different breed of animal. They are big, fast, and aggressive. K.J. Wright has been somewhat of a secret weapon when it comes to opposing TE's. He's a big, long (6'4" 246 pounds) and can run. His backup (who rotates in there too), Malcolm Smith, is in the words of LB's coach Ken Norton Jr. "weapon's grade fast”. He runs a legitimate 4.4 and always seems to be around the ball. Both of those guys helped to really shut out guys like Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis -- two of the best TE's in the game. I’d look for those guys in conjunction with SS Kam Chancellor to be matched up against Julius Thomas most of the game.

    Last season, Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers walked away with Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Though not much attention was paid to him, MLB Bobby Wagner absolutely deserved to be in that DROY discussion. He's fast (runs about a 4.46 IIRC), hard hitting, and very instinctual -- he always seems to be around the ball. Last season, Football Outsiders noted that Bobby Wagner he had a tackle or an assist on 27.5 percent of run plays against Seattle (best in the league) Though Kuechly is going to continue to get his recognition nationally as being the best MLB in the game ... Bobby Wagner is right there with him.
    Last year, Bruce Irvin led all NFL rookies in sacks (8.0) from the LEO position (a hybrid pass rusher that Carroll employs in his defenses). This year, he was moved to Weakside LB to take advantage of his overall speed there. Irvin has responded with a very solid year both in terms of run and pass coverage. When healthy, San Francisco's linebacking corps is the best in the league I'd say bar none. However, I'd honestly have to put Seattle's in the top 3 or 4 in the NFL -- they're that good.

    Without a doubt, fans throughout the nation are going to be seeing Peyton Manning facing the best secondary in the league come Sunday. Their nickname, Legion of Boom, really says it all about these guys and what they are all about. They are all big, fast, and nasty defenders -- all of whom can turn, tackle, and cover. They present their own match-up problems for offenses ...

    Richard Sherman garnered a whole lot of attention this past week with his self promoting post-game comments of "I'm the best corner in the game" following the NFC Championship Game. But in all honesty, he's completely right (Sherman is the brutally honest type who will call a spade a spade, regardless of who it offends). Sherman, a one time 5th round draft choice out of Stanford, played WR in college. That experience has really translated well to the NFL for him. He studies film like crazy and because of that can often run the route as well as or better than the receiver he is facing. He is not only quick, but often positions himself so incredibly well in a way that only he can make the play. Sherman not only led the league in interceptions (8) -- he had a passer rating against of only 47.3 (best in the NFL).

    Opposite Sherman, Broncos fans will see a very underrated Byron Maxwell. There was a lot of hand wringing when Brandon Browner went down first with a groin injury and then was lost due to his drug suspension for the remainder of the season. However, the secondary has actually performed even BETTER since Byron Maxwell has been in there. Maxwell is big (6’0” 202 Pounds), very physical corner as well. Coming in to the draft, he had the reputation of being a very hard hitter with great speed and quickness (he had run a 4.37 in the 40).
    Since taking over as a starter, Maxwell has 4 interceptions and has been a shut down corner in his own right. He had a passer rating against of 47.8 (2nd in the NFL) in limited duty. Depending on the situation, I’d look for Maxwell and Sherman to be matched up 1:1 against Demaryius Thomas and Ed Decker most of the day.

    A key matchup in this game that’s going to be particularly interesting to watch is in the slot -- to see how Walter Thurmond does against Wes Welker. As you can see from the stats above, Welker is a dynamic receiver and he presents a lot of problems for most teams, as they typically don’t have answers for him. Thurmond, though has been a very good nickel corner this season, as he has a passer rating against of just 67.4 (13th in the NFL -- that was better than either Dominque Rogers-Cromartie [whom the Seahawks Offense will be facing in this game] or the Patriot’s Aqib Talib). Keep an eye on that this Sunday.

    And Seattle has good depth all the way down in terms of its DB’s, as Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead are very much in that same mold. Both are capable corners and displayed very good coverage skills that you’ll undoubtedly be seeing more of next year. Though Lane has had limited duty this year, he’s looked very good when he’s played this year. Heading into the Cardinals game, Lane had a QB Rating Against of just 56.3 -- comparable with Darrelle Revis -- so he is quite capable if the Seahawks choose to go with a dime package this Sunday.

    Seattle safeties are elite -- truly the best of the best. What really makes the Seahawks secondary click is the play of FS Earl Thomas. Thomas has sideline to sideline speed and is a blazing fast runner (he runs a 4.43). He is also a very physical, punishing hitter with great instincts and a nose for the football. Teams think twice about throwing deep often because Earl is back there. He changes the game, as he plays center field and does a phenomenal job of it. Thomas is an All Pro that Manning is going to have to be cognizant of where he is at on the football field at all times.

    At the Strong Safety position, Kam Chancellor is the enforcer. Chancellor (who has the nickname “Bam-Bam”), is as big as a linebacker (6’3 232 Lbs), has good speed (4.6), and hits like a Mack Truck. If you like big hits, that shot that he put on Vernon Davis in the NFC Championship Game was a thing of beauty. He is also very good in coverage and was a big reason why TE’s Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis got shut down for the most part when the Seahawks faced them this year. He’s a 2 time Pro Bowler himself and was named All Pro this year as well. Pro Football Focus noted that so far this Post-season, Chancellor has been targeted 13 times … and has surrendered just 6 catches for 38 yards (a Passer Rating Against of just 21.0). The Seahawks are going to need more of that from him this Sunday, as they will be facing one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.

    But Seattle has been very good at shutting down even elite quarterbacks this year. Back in Week 13 when the Seahawks faced the Saints up in Seattle, Drew Brees had a ton of problems. At a few points in that game, you could see him trying to go through his progressions … and he couldn’t find anyone open.

    Mark Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger in New Jersey made the following observation regarding a potential weakness of Peyton Manning heading in to this game ...

    If anyone can lure (Peyton) Manning into his few moments of weakness, it is the Seahawks. Manning has been human this year when facing third down and six or more yards to go, completing just 56.3 percent of his passes and garnering a 82.5 QB rating. Seattle, with a stingy run defense (3.9 yards per carry) and a fleet of pass rushers led by Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, can put Manning in those situations and then pressure him.


    Seattle’s posted a team Passer Rating Against of just 63.4 -- lowest since 2009 and tied with the 2008 Super Bowl winning Steelers. If the same defense we’ve seen all year long shows up against Peyton Manning again on Sunday, that could be just the kryptonite Seattle needs to help rob Denver’s Superman of his powers.

    3) Be really physical with the wide receivers. Never let them have a free release off the line of scrimmage. Don’t let them run the pick plays and the rub routes they like to perform.

    Denver’s receivers tend to create separation for themselves by running pick plays -- plays in which the receiver throws his body into the defender in order to create space. Pick plays are key for the Broncos and are a major reason why Demaryius Thomas was 2nd in the NFL in Yards After the Catch.

    Last year, Pete Carroll gave a very interesting interview on 710 ESPN in which he talked about his younger years of being influenced by watching those Raiders defenses of the 1970s. His ideas about defensive backs (and what they should look like) were heavily shaped by watching guys like Jack Tatum, George Atkinson, and others on those teams -- punishing big hitting guys -- which he has (in essence) recreated with the Seahawks. Because of that, the Seahawks secondary might just be the most physical in the game. They will jam receivers off the line of scrimmage and tend to play a lot of man to man coverage. Against the Legion of Boom, pick plays could be suicide, as Seattle’s defensive backs LIKE to get physical with receivers and mess up their timing. If Denver’s receivers are looking for a knock down drag out fight, the Seahawks will most certainly oblige. I’ve seen a lot of defenses throughout the years and I don’t think it’s a stretch whatsoever to put these guys right up there with the most physical defenses that have ever played the game.

    Indianapolis had success earlier in the year by being physical with Denver’s receivers and putting fairly constant pressure on Manning, sacking him 4 times back in Week 7. New England’s secondary played very physical with Denver’s receivers during their 1st matchup of the year and were successful using the same formula as well, knocking off the Broncos 34-31 in Week 12. The Patriots against employed the same formula against the Broncos in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, holding the Broncos to just 122 yards of Offense and field goal before Aqib Talib (New England’s top cornerback) went down with an injury on a pick play that generated a lot of controversy since by Wes Welker. After Aqib Talib was lost, the floodgates opened, as Denver racked up 507 yards of total offense and ripped off 23 points after that.

    4) Force turnovers.
    If there is anything this team is extremely good at … it’s separating the ball from their opponents. And a common theme for the Broncos in the games that they’ve struggled in this year, is that they have turned the ball over and lost the turnover battle.

    This year, the Seattle Seahawks Defense ended the season ...

    #1 in Total Points Allowed (231 -- an average of 14.4 Per Game)
    #1 in Total Yards Allowed (4,378 -- an average of 273.6 Per Game)
    #1 in Total Turnovers (39 -- they had 28 interceptions (#1) and 11 fumble recoveries)

    Those 3 categories (Points Allowed, Total Yards Allowed, and Turnovers) are kind of like the Triple Crown for Defenses. Prior to the Seahawks, the last time a team finished #1 in each of those categories ... was the 1985 Chicago Bears.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how one of the best offenses we’ve seen in a long, long time does against one of the best defenses the league has seen in awhile. If the Seattle Seahawks don’t get caught up in the moment … and just continue to be who they’ve been all season long, they have a good chance to be doing their own Super Bowl Shuffle when things are all said and done this Sunday.

    Let’s turn our attention to the last of Lindsay Jones’s Points -- our #3 Key to Victory (and undoubtedly the most important one) for the Seahawks in New Jersey this Sunday ...

    Key #3: Be the Time Lords …

    The San Diego Chargers held the Broncos to their lowest point totals of the year each of the 3 times that they faced them.

    The Colts and the Patriots both found a way to beat Peyton Manning and the vaunted Broncos offense this year. Why? Let’s take a look at some common factors in these games ...

    Week 7 (10/20/2013) … Broncos 33 - Colts 39

    Time of Possession …
    Broncos … 28:13
    Colts … 31:47

    Rushing Totals …
    Broncos … 20 Carries … 64 Yards Rushing (3.2 Yards/Carry) … 1 TD
    Colts … 31 Carries … 121 Yards Rushing (3.9Yards/Carry) … 1 TD

    Turnovers …
    Broncos …3
    Colts …1

    Week 10 (11/10/2013) … Broncos 28 - Chargers 20

    Time of Possession …
    Broncos … 21:57
    Chargers … 38:03

    Rushing Totals …
    Broncos … 22 Carries … 84 Yards Rushing (3.8 Yards/Carry) … 0 TD
    Chargers … 35 Carries … 131 Yards Rushing (3.7 Yards/Carry) … 1 TD

    Turnovers …
    Broncos …1
    Chargers …0

    Week 12 (11/24/2013) … Broncos 31 - Patriots 34 (OT)

    Time of Possession …
    Broncos … 38:58
    Patriots … 34:06

    Rushing Totals …
    Broncos … 48 Carries … 280 Yards Rushing (6.1 Yards/Carry) … 1 TD
    Manning … 19 of 36 (52.77% Comp.) … 150 Yards Passing … 2 TD … 1 INT

    Patriots … 31 Carries … 116 Yards Rushing (3.7 Yards/Carry) … 1 TD

    Turnovers …
    Broncos …4
    Patriots …3

    Week 15 (12/12/2013) … Broncos 20 - Chargers 27

    Time of Possession …
    Broncos … 21:11
    Chargers … 38:49

    Rushing Totals …
    Broncos … 11 Carries … 18 Yards Rushing (1.6 Yards/Carry) … 0 TD
    Chargers … 44 Carries … 177 Yards Rushing (4.0 Yards/Carry) … 1 TD

    Turnovers …
    Broncos …1
    Chargers …0

    Divisional Playoffs (1/12/2014) … Broncos 24 - Chargers 17

    Time of Possession …
    Broncos … 35:27
    Chargers … 24:33

    Rushing Totals …
    Broncos … 34 Carries … 133 Yards Rushing (3.9 Yards/Carry) … 1 TD
    Chargers … 18 Carries … 65 Yards Rushing (3.6 Yards/Carry) … 0 TD

    Turnovers …
    Broncos …2
    Chargers …0

    Lindsay Jones’s 5th Key vs. Peyton Manning was ...

    5) Put together long scoring drives and keep Peyton Manning off the field.

    Well, Denver’s opponent won the time of possession … and outgained them on the ground in 3 out of 5 of those games. That brings us to what I believe could be the biggest key to the game -- Marshawn Lynch.

    Seattle makes running the ball its #1 priority for the simple fact that Pete Carroll firmly believes that the running game (first and foremost) and good, tough, hard physical defense is what makes championships. Ball control, limiting turnovers on offense, and controlling the time of possession is what Carroll is all about.

    In horrible conditions at Century Link Field (40 mile an hour winds and driving rain that made passing very difficult) against the Saints in the Divisional Round, Marshawn Lynch virtually willed the Seattle Seahawks to victory, running for 140 yards on 28 carries (5.0 yards/carry) and 2 touchdowns. Lynch broke an amazing 13 tackles in that game. In fact, on the season, Lynch has broken 99 tackles -- which was 22 more than the 2nd running back on the list, LeSean McCoy. To put it in perspective of how dominant Lynch has been this season, from 2008-2012, the most missed tackles that any running back had was 64.

    The 49ers (one of the best run defenses in all of the league) made no bones about it that stopping Lynch was going to be priority #1. The Seahawks responded by making a commitment to the run and Lynch went off, rumbling for 109 yards (5.0 yards/carry) and a key touchdown. He forced 7 missed tackles in that game, showing once again that when the lights are on, Marshawn shines the brightest. And Seattle won the time of possession in the process (31:28 to 28:32).

    In this game especially, with how potent Denver’s offense is, I see Carroll and the Seahawks committing to the run more than ever. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos can’t score if they’re not on the field. I think we can count on establishing the run first and foremost as being the game plan for the Seahawks headed into Sunday’s contest. Broncos Head Coach John Fox knows that too, so the question is -- can they stop them? ESPN’s Mike Sando is one who wonders whether or not the Broncos can. On Friday (1/24/14), he joined John Clayton, Brock Huard, and Danny O’Neil on 710 ESPN and noted the following …

    Mike Sando on Friday (1/24/14) ...

    Sando: “I look at the great offense of the Broncos and the great defense of the Seahawks. I think they’re each going to have their moments. And to me, one of the exercises I did after the game last week was -- just looking at where the Broncos defense and the Seahawks offense fit into the conversation. And when you look at divisional realignment in 2000, there’s been 12 seasons since then. So, 32 teams times 12 seasons means there’s been 384 defenses since then. And this Broncos defense ranks 312th in Points Allowed per Game of all of those. And the Seahawks offense in scoring is 60th. So to me, they have to -- Seattle has to take advantage of that defense and I think they have a good chance of doing it. But that’s probably where this game could be really won for Seattle in a way that no one’s really looking at right now.”


    Indeed, the overall numbers for the Broncos Defense are a far cry from those of the Offense …

    24.9 Points Allowed/Game (22nd)
    356.0 Yards Allowed/Game (19th)

    On the season, the Broncos Defense allowed an average of just 101.6 Rushing Yards/Game (Tied for 7th Fewest). However, in looking at the rest of the numbers, one wonders whether or not a lot of that had to do with Denver’s Offense, as teams were having to pass a lot in order to catch up (the 613 Pass Attempts Against the Broncos Defense was the 5th most in the league).

    The Broncos Defense also allowed …

    11 Runs of 20 Yards or More (22nd)
    15 Rushing Touchdowns (Tied for 23rd)

    Let’s take a deeper look and take a look at the individual numbers of the Broncos Defensive Players this year ...

    2013 Broncos Defensive Playmakers
    PlayerSizeTacklesTackles for LossSacksForced FumblesINT’sPasses Defensed
    WLB Danny Trevathan6’1” 240 Lbs12872.04310
    MLB Wesley Woodyard6’0” 233 Lbs8441.5314
    SS Duke Ihenacho6’1” 207 Lbs7320307
    *CB Chris Harris*5’10” 199 Lbs65500313
    FS Mike Adams5’11” 200 Lbs6450017
    *S Rahim Moore*6’1” 195 Lbs4400026
    LDE Malik Jackson6’5” 293 Lbs4266.0104
    CB Kayvon Webster5’11” 198 Lbs41101110
    SLB Nate Irving6’1” 245 Lbs4181.0001
    RDE Shaun Phillips6’3” 255 Lbs35310.0215
    *LB Von Miller*6’3” 250 Lbs3475.0301
    RCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie6’2” 193 Lbs31300315
    RDT Terrance Knighton6’3” 335 Lbs3123.0011
    DE Robert Ayers6’3” 274 Lbs2925.5100
    S David Bruton6’2” 217 Lbs2300000
    LB Paris Lenon6’2” 240 Lbs2200002
    *DT Kevin Vickerson*6’5” 328 Lbs2261.0003
    LB Mitch Unrein6’4” 306 Lbs2010000
    LDT Sylvester Williams6’2” 313 Lbs1942.0000
    *DE Derek Wolfe*6’5” 285 Lbs1634.0000
    CB Champ Bailey6’0” 192 Lbs1400003
    CB Quentin Jammer6’0” 204 Lbs1400003
    S Omar Bolden5’10” 195 Lbs1400000
    CB Tony Carter5’9” 175 Lbs1310016

    *Lost for the season due to injury

    Broncos Players Lost for the Season …
    LT Ryan Clady
    C Dan Kloppen
    LB Von Miller
    DT Kevin Vickerson
    S Rahim Moore
    DE Derek Wolfe
    CB Chris Harris

    As you can see, Denver’s Defense has taken an amazing amount of hits -- which makes it all the more impressive when you think about where they find themselves currently.

    Still, the Broncos have playmakers on that defense and if they make as much of a commitment to stopping the run as I believe they’re going to in this game, Lynch could have some tough sledding. Pro Football Focus has a very insightful stat that gives us a real insight into what could be THE biggest matchup of the day ...

    The Seahawks are oddly one of the best teams when running to the middle left at 4.53 yards per carry, but one of the worst when running off left guard at 2.90 yards per carry.

    The Broncos, in turn, are one of the best teams defending against the middle left, allowing 2.63 yards per carry, but one of the worst when defending against runs off left guard at 5.26 yards per carry.


    RDT Terrance Knighton vs. LG Michael Bowie/James Carpenter/Paul McQuistan and C Max Unger …

    Experts who know the Broncos well consistently say that Terrance Knighton is the best player on that Denver Defense and will be a real key to Sunday’s game. Though the measurables may not be there in terms of sacks, tackles for loss, etc. “Pot Roast”, as his teammates call him, has been a real impact player for the Broncos this year. Pro Football Focus had Knighton rated as their 9th Best Defensive Tackle this season (+24.1. Brandon Mebane, by the way, was their #1 rated DT) despite playing just 53% of their snaps this year. Knighton had 38 pressures during the regular season, sported a Pass Rush Productivity grade of +9.1, and had a Run Stuff Percentage of +8.0 this year. Since the Post-season began however, Knighton has been on fire, as he has a Pass Rush Productivity of +10.8, a Run Stop Percentage of +17.4, and an overall grade of +7.8 -- all highest among defensive tackles. The privilege of containing this guy falls to Max Unger and Seattle’s Left Guard by committee. Pete Carroll believes in “always competing” for jobs every week, and the Super Bowl doesn’t appear to have altered that philosophy of his whatsoever. Will he and the coaching staff go with rookie Michael Bowie (who has shined when he has been given the chance) … or with the rotation of James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan? Will Carroll go with youth and skill … or with experience in this one? That’s the question. Officially, Seattle comes in to this game as the #8 Run Blocking team according to Football Outsiders. However, those numbers don’t really tell the story. After a Pro Bowl season in 2012, Max Unger has struggled this season. Whether it’s because of the strained pectoral muscle he was dealing with earlier this season or some other ailment, Unger just hasn’t been himself, as PFF noted he doesn’t have a positive run blocking grade this season. Not only that, they claim that he had his two worst days of the season against both the Saints and 49ers in the playoffs. Unger had one of his better run blocking games of the season the last time Seattle was at MetLife Stadium back in Week 15 -- and they can certainly use that kind of performance again this Sunday. Neither James Carpenter nor Paul McQuistan have a positive grade this season in either run or pass blocking. Conversely, Pro Football Focus had Michael Bowie rated as the Seahawks best lineman (+7.1) this year. Seattle desperately needs Unger and whomever ends up starting at LG in this game to have their best performances of the year.

    Players like RDT Terrance Knighton, RDE Robert Ayers, and WLB Danny Trevathan can be problematic towards an opponents’ run game. When it comes to the running game for Seattle in this game, Pro Football Focus noted the following ..

    The Broncos’ run defense just once allowed a running back with 10 or more carries to reach 5.0 yards per carry [Alfred Morris in Week 8], and has not had more than five missed tackles on a runner all year.


    Because Denver will undoubtedly not allow Marshawn Lynch to beat them, I believe that someone else will ultimately have to …

    Continued on Next Post Below ...
    * NET Sage *
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  • Key #4: Pass the Torch ...

    It was a mere 2 years ago that Pete Carroll, John Schneider, and the rest of Seattle’s front office staff sat in a plane on the tarmac at Centennial Airport in Denver, waiting -- hoping for a meeting with one Peyton Manning. After being cut loose by Indianapolis in March of 2012, Manning became THE hottest free agent on the market, being wooed by everyone, including the Seattle Seahawks, who gave them the full court press. That meeting (March 10, 2012) … never happened, as Peyton Manning didn’t show and 11 days later agreed to join John Elway and the Broncos as their quarterback in hopes that he could lead them to a Super Bowl Title. Not quite 7 weeks later, on April 27, 2012 -- the Seattle Seahawks selected Russell Wilson in the 3rd Round of the NFL Draft. The rest is history.

    And from the moment he first stepped on the football field as a rookie for the Seahawks, history is exactly what Russell Wilson has made.

    Last season, Wilson tied the record for most TD’s thrown by a rookie QB in NFL History. His 26 touchdowns tied Peyton Manning’s record that he set back in 1998, but Wilson did it with far less passing attempts than Manning (Manning had 575 Passing Attempts in 1998 … Wilson had 393 Passing Attempts in 2012) and threw far fewer interceptions than Manning did back in 1998 (Manning had 28 INT’s in 1998 … Wilson had 10 INT’s in 2012).

    This season, Wilson again passed for 26 touchdowns, tying him with Peyton Manning for the 2nd most passing TD’s (52) for a QB over his first 2 seasons in NFL History.

    But Russell Wilson also stands alone as well, having won more games in his first 2 seasons (24) than any other QB in NFL History since 1966.

    Wilson idolizes guys like Peyton Manning as a quarterback. In part, Russell Wilson is who he is BECAUSE OF quarterbacks like Peyton Manning. Brock Huard (former UW Husky and Colts and Seahawks QB) has talked many times about the fact that he backed up Peyton Manning when he was in Indianapolis. He said that Manning studied and prepared harder for games than any QB he'd ever seen ... and Huard said that Russell Wilson is exactly the same way. He's an absolutely religious student of the game. He's watched all the film from every game that Manning, Favre, and all the greats that he can get his hands on. He is a man possessed to be among the very best that have ever played this game.

    There’s a popular myth nationally that Russell Wilson is nothing more than a "game manager" who is totally reliant upon the run in order to set up what he does. After all, he uses Play Action Pass on around 34% of all his passes. There is an idea out there that if you simply bottle up the run, contain him within the pocket, and play good, solid, physical coverage on his receivers that you can shut him and Seattle’s Offense down. But there have been many times when the run has been bottled up that he has put the team on his shoulders, taken over the game, and led them to victory.

    Here are a but few examples ...

    Seattle-New England (Week 6 Last year) …
    Lynch had only 41 yards (the Patriots made it a point to bottle up the run).
    Russell Wilson was 16 for 27, had 293 yards passing, 3TD's, and a QB Rating of 133.7

    Seattle-Chicago (Week 13 at Soldier Field Last Year) …
    Lynch had 87 yards rushing (but really the Bears did a good job of taking away the run).
    Russell Wilson completed 23 of 37, had 293 yards, 2 TD, and had a QB Rating of 104.9. He also ran for 71 yards as well and basically single handedly took over that game. He led the team on not just 1 ... but TWO game winning drives.

    Seattle vs. Atlanta in the Playoffs…
    Lynch only had 46 yards rushing (as the Falcons made it a point to shut him down). Russell Wilson completed 24 of 36, threw for 385 Yards, 2TD, and had a QB Rating of 109.1

    Seattle vs. Carolina (Week 1) …
    A stout Panther defense held Lynch to just 43 yards (as they made a point of shutting down the run).
    Wilson completed 25 of 33, threw for 320 Yards, 1 TD, and had a QB Rating of 115.7

    Seattle vs. Minnesota (Week 10) …
    Lynch had only 54 yards in this game (again, the Vikings keyed on stopping the run).
    Wilson completed 13 of 18, threw for 230 yards, 2 TD, and had a QB Rating of 151.4. Wilson completed passes for 8 different receivers in that game and the only reason his stats weren't any higher was that Seattle yanked him and pretty much all the starters in the 4th Quarter as it was basically a blowout.

    New Orleans Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan came in to the Saints Week 13 matchup with the following game plan in mind: Stop Marshawn Lynch -- make Russell Wilson beat us. Well, a 34-7 whooping later, Ryan and the Saints were rethinking that plan. That’s because Wilson has a surprising number of receiving threats actually and has shown a real propensity to get them the ball in the clutch.

    This season, Russell Wilson ended up completing 46.6% of all attempted passes of 20 yards or more (That was #1 in the league). And he’s completed them to a lot of different guys this season …

    Doug Baldwin has demonstrated a propensity to come up with big plays (often in dramatic fashion) in the clutch time and time again. He ended up leading the Seahawks in passes of 20 yards or more completed (14) … and caught 12 of 18 deep passes thrown his way for 399 yards and 2 TD’s. Only Santonio Holmes was had a better catch rate on deep balls than Baldwin. When Wilson has thrown to Doug Baldwin in the slot, he has a Passer Rating of 107.6. I’m thinking that he’s taken to heart those receiving tips that Steve Largent shared with him in training camp.

    Golden Tate led the Seahawks this year in receptions (64) and passing yards (898). He's very elusive once he has the ball in his hands -- very shifty and deceptively quick. He is highly underrated and is quite capable of making big plays. During the regular season, Tate was the league leader in missed tackles on a receiver. He caught 68.8% of all passes thrown to him and was 2nd in the league with an average of 7.9 yards gained after the catch. In addition, he’s been Seattle’s best receiver when it comes to deep routes. PFF noted that Tate has caught 7 of 18 ‘Go’ Routes that has been thrown his way for 232 yards and 3 TD’s. When Russell Wilson has thrown a ‘Go’ Route to Golden Tate -- he has a Passer Rating of 126.2.

    Jermaine Kearse is a guy that outside of Seattle, few people know about. He's a large receiver (6'1" 209 pounds) and actually has very good football speed (he runs a 4.43 in the 40). His reputation coming in to this season was as a guy who tends to have a lot of drops. He had lasik surgery in the offseason ... and that has virtually disappeared. He has shown good leaping ability, very good hands, and has made several key plays in the clutch -- including last week's game deciding TD against the 49ers on a 4th and 7. Though he’s caught only 5 of the 13 deep passes that have been thrown to him … 4 of those have been for TD’s, so Denver’s secondary better not sleep on him.

    TE Zach Miller is another one who can certainly go off. He had some big catches against you guys and had a huge day against the Falcons in the 2nd Round of the Playoffs last year (8 catches, 142 yards, 1 TD). Miller was a Pro Bowler with the Raiders and though he's not put up the type of numbers that you might expect of a Jimmy Graham or a Vernon Davis, he is very capable of having big days.

    Another guy to really keep an eye on who was hot down the stretch is rookie 5th round draft choice TE Luke Willson. Willson is a real specimen (6'5" 252 Pounds and ran a 4.51 on his pro day at Rice) and Russell Wilson has started to develop a real rapport with him and he has become a favorite target down the stretch.

    The real X-Factor coming in to this game … is WR Percy Harvin (5’11” 184 Pounds). There is a reason that Pete Carroll and John Schneider traded 3 draft choices to get this guy.

    When he’s healthy, with his speed, change of direction, athleticism, and the overall skill he has, he is the type of guy who can give opposing defensive coordinators fits. He's one of a handful of guys who is truly special and really alter a game. And we saw him do exactly that in the Minnesota game. When he came in the game, all of a sudden those CB's and Safeties started backing off. Former Seahawk LB Dave Wyman wrote a great piece for 710 ESPN after the Minnesota game in which he documented all of the effects Harvin had on that defense ...

    The Percy Harvin Effect -- Dave Wyman

    Last year, Percy Harvin was #5 in the NFL in Yards After the Catch (he gained 551 YAC) at a clip of 8.9 YAC. He had 677 Yards in total on 62 Catches and was being talked about as being an MVP Candidate. Now think about all of that for just a second. That was on a Minnesota team with a QB (Ponder) who has one of the weakest arms in football. The Viking Offense was predicated on throwing little smoke screens to Harvin at or behind the Line of Scrimmage and let Percy do his thing -- and the numbers absolutely show that. The average distance of the passes thrown to him (through the air) last year --was just 2.03 Yards/Reception. 551 of the 677 Yards gained were all on Percy.

    In other words, last year all you had to do is just get Harvin the ball ... and he was an almost automatic instant 1st Down.

    If he’s truly healthy, he could certainly be a factor in this game, as he’s going to force opposing defensive backs to give space to the rest of Seattle’s receivers -- simply because they have to respect that speed.

    Like the Seahawks, the Denver Broncos tend to run a lot of man-to-man coverage. They have some very talented players in that secondary that could make things problematic for Russell Wilson this Sunday, but there are also weaknesses that can be exploited as well. We’ll discuss both and who Seahawks fans will likely see this Sunday …

    LCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is without a doubt the Broncos best defensive back and has been darn near a shutdown corner for them this season. DRC has the size (6’2” 185 Pounds), speed (he runs the 40 yard dash in a blazing 4.29 seconds), and overall skills to make things problematic for most NFL receivers. When throwing in to his area, quarterbacks had a rating of just 44.1 (2nd best in the league) and had a Passer Rating of just 45.8 when throwing a ‘Go’ Route on him. Pro Football Focus had him rated as their 5th best CB. That said, in the past he has shown a tendency to get burned by being overly-aggressive. Beyond him though, there are a lot more questions than answers.

    According to Pro Football Focus ...
    Only three teams surrendered completions at a lower rate on deep balls than Denver (30.3%) and, crucially against the touchdown-happy deep ball of the Seahawks, they don’t often surrender scores (fourth-lowest scoring rate in the league).


    However, Denver’s defensive backfield suffered one heck of a blow recently when Chris Harris (one of their best cornerbacks) was lost for the season with a torn ACL that he suffered during their Divisional win over the Chargers. Because of that, the Broncos secondary has had to adapt. It’s difficult to know exactly WHO the Seahawks will see opposite Cromartie over at RCB, so let’s take a look at the options …

    Champ Bailey (6’0” 192 Pounds) at 35 years old is a shadow of his former self. He still is a very good open field tackler and has a wealth of knowledge in terms of his ability to recognize and diagnose plays, but he simply doesn’t have the speed that once made him the best corner in the game. Bailey has been playing in the slot these past few weeks and frankly, he’s gotten toasted, allowing 7 catches on 11 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. Opposing QB’s have had a Passer Rating Against him of 105.9. If Harvin gets lined up in the slot against him, things could get ugly for the Broncos in a hurry.

    Quentin Jammer (6’0” 204 Pounds) has been considered one of the worst corners in the NFL for awhile now. At 34 years of age, he’s been a healthy scratch for most of the season. In the 26 times he’s been targeted this year, he’s given up 16 catches for 249 yards, 4 TD’s, with only 3 Passes Defensed. Broncos fans are praying to God they don’t see him on Sunday.

    Tony Carter (5’9” 175 Pounds) is a smaller, faster CB (4.37 seconds in the 40) with good leaping ability (31.8”), but he is a rookie whose lack of size and inexperience could be a factor especially in this game.

    Kayvon Webster (5’11” 198 Pounds) is fast as well (4.35 in the 40) and has better size than Carter, but he is a rookie who is obviously raw and has been really been picked on by opposing QB’s when he’s been in there. In the 59 times he’s been targeted, he’s given up 35 catches for 502 yards, 3 TD’s, and has just 6 Passes Defensed and 1 INT. He broke his thumb during that win over the Chargers in the Divisional Round, so keep an eye on that.

    As far as the Broncos Safeties are concerned, they suffered another real blow in that department when starting Free Safety Rahim Moore was lost for the season with lateral compartment syndrome back in November. Without him, the Broncos ended up allowing the 6th Most Passing Yards (an average of 254 Passing Yards/Game) … and the 11th Most Points (an average of 24.9 Points/Game). Moore’s absence has obviously loomed large and it has had obvious consequences ...

    Omaha, a Broncos Fan who has joined us this week at for some Pregame discussion on this game, offered these thoughts on Denver’s safety situation ...

    SS: Duke Ihenacho (Nacho) is 6-1, 205lbs and your typical hard hitting enforcer. Has great closing speed and a good tackler but can struggle in pass coverage. Think he has a lot of potential if he can clean up his game and improve his pass coverage. Looking to see how he does against Lynch as I expect him to drop into the box often.

    FS: Mike Adams is good but at 32, he is not as fast as one would like. He makes up for it with experience. He has played CB before and reads plays well (see the INT against houston)

    In clear passing downs, Omar Bolden would come on for Nacho. Adams would shift to SS while Bolden plays FS. Bolden is ok in my opinion but not starter quality.

    Seattle DOES NOT want to get into a shootout with the Broncos. I can virtually promise you that the game plan will be to pass to set up the RUN. That said, if it does come to that, and the Offensive Line gives Russell Wilson the time to throw (Shaun Phillips, Malik Jackson, and Robert Ayers are good pass rushers) … the evidence says that there will be plays to be made in the passing game.

    Let’s shift gears and talk about an often overlooked element that could very well play a major role in this game ...

    Key #5: Bring the Blue Light Special ...

    Since games can often come down to Special Teams -- field position, big turnovers, the kicking game, and so on that’s an important aspect of this game that we should honestly touch on. Let’s take a look at the Special Teams units for both teams ...

    Kickers …

    For Seattle, Steven Hauschka has generally been money this year on field goals. Seattle made 33 Field Goals in 35 tries (94.3%, which was 2nd best in the NFL -- right behind Denver). He is 3 for 3 from 50 yards and beyond this year … and 11 for 12 from 40-49 yards. Hauschka had 48 touchbacks this year (8th Most in the NFL).

    For Denver, Matt Prater might just be the best kicker in the game today. He made 25 of 26 attempted Field Goals (96.2%, which was #1 in the NFL). He was 8 for 8 this year from 40-49 yards … and 6 for 7 from 50 yards or more including an amazing 64 yarder that set the mark for the longest Field Goal in NFL History. Prater had 81 touchbacks this year (Most in the NFL).

    For Seattle, one guy to really keep an eye on his Big Red Bryant. He has blocked 5 field goals in his career.

    Denver Kickoff Return vs. Seattle’s Kickoff Coverage …

    As far as Kickoff Coverage for the Seahawks is concerned, they did fairly well in that department despite what some of the stats might indicate. According to the numbers, Seattle allowed an average of 24.0 yards/kickoff (tied for 12th most in the league). However, pure yards allowed DO tend to lie and are somewhat meaningless -- Seattle hasn't allowed a kickoff return for a TD all year and Hauschka was among the league leaders in banging kicks out of the end zone, averaging 69.4 yards/kickoff. When it comes to kickoff returns, Denver averaged 25.0 yards/return (6th most in the NFL), but kickoffs have been a bit of an adventure for the Broncos this year. Though Trindon Holliday did average 27.7 yards/kickoff return and took one from 5 yards deep in the end zone all the way for a TD, he has also has a reputation for losing the ball (though he’s yet to do it on kickoffs).

    Seattle Kickoff Return vs. Denver’s Kickoff Coverage …

    When it comes to their own kickoff returns, the Seahawks (so far this season) weren't all that spectacular in that arena in the regular season (they averaged only 21.2 yards/return -- tied for 27th in the NFL) and didn't break one for a TD. That could very easily change now that Percy Harvin has returned and been cleared to play in the Super Bowl. All it took was one 58 yard kickoff return for Pete Carroll to declare, "He's in there" as far as kickoffs are concerned.

    And when he was "in there" for Minnesota, Harvin was one of the league's best last year, averaging an eye popping 35.9 yards/return (which was #1 in the NFL at the time he got injured). I fully expect him to return kickoffs in this game.

    Kickoff coverage has been a major issue for the Broncos this year. During the regular season, Denver allowed an average of 29.3 yards/kickoff return (worst in the NFL in that category). Their kick coverage got worse as the season went along as they allowed some big plays when Prater wasn’t banging kickoffs out of the back of the end zone (he was the league leader in touchbacks, averaging 70.9 yards/kickoff).

    In Week 13, Kansas City’s Knile Davis returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown.

    The next week, Leon Washington had 5 kickoff returns and racked up 209 yards (41.8 yards/kickoff) including a 95 yard return for the Titans.

    If he’s the same Harvin Seahawks fans saw against Minnesota and he’s allowed to return kickoffs, Harvin could be a major factor if Prater gives him a chance to return one.

    Denver Punt Return vs. Seattle’s Punt Coverage …

    Seattle's punt coverage has been historically good this year. Going into Week 17, the Seahawks punt coverage unit had allowed a grand total of just 25 punt return yards (an average of just 1.56 yards/return this year). That was far and away #1 in the NFL and to put that into some context -- the NFL record for fewest punt return yards in a season was 22 by the 1967 Packers. Then, the Hawks go out and allow a 32 yard return to Austin Pettis in the last game. So much for records. Punter Jon Ryan has quite adept at the finesse game (at kicking inside the 10 yard line) and the Hawks have been fairly good at downing punts inside the 10 this year (28 times inside the 20 yard line -- tied for 11th Best). He doesn’t outkick his coverage and has done a nice job of placing punts where they need to be. Seattle had teams fair catch punts 30 times against them (#1 in the league). CB Jeremy Lane has been one of the best gunners in the league on punt coverage this year. He honestly should have been a Pro Bowler this year on Special Teams, as he's been particularly adept at downing punts inside the 10 yard line … and has been extremely good at tackling runners for little or no gain. Combined with fellow gunners like Ricardo Lockette and Richard Sherman, that unit has been pretty darned impressive. Pro Football Focus agrees …

    The Seahawks have two of the top three players in terms of PFF rating for special teams players on punts. They are Jeremy Lane (+8.5) and Richard Sherman (+6.5).


    As far as punt returns are concerned, the good news for the Broncos is that Trindon Holliday has returned a punt for a touchdown this year. The bad news for Denver is that he’s averaged just 8.5 yards/return (tied for 16th) and also fumbled 5 times on punt returns -- more than any other punt returner in the NFL this year. Because of that, Seahawks fans could very well see Ed Decker returning punts in this game. Decker returned one 90 yards for a TD back in 2011, but outside of that one return hasn’t been all that stellar.

    Seattle Punt Return vs. Denver’s Punt Coverage …

    Denver’s punt team has been mediocre at best this year. Punter Britton Colquitt averaged 44.5 yards/punt (23rd Overall) and had a net average of 38.8 yards/punt (24th Overall). As far as the punt coverage unit is concerned, they’ve also been decidedly mediocre. Denver has had 23 punts downed inside the 20 Yard Line (Tied for 25th) and they downed a total of just 8 punts in the regular season (Tied for 23rd). Unlike Seattle’s stellar unit, Denver’s punt coverage unit allowed an average of 9.8 yards/punt return (23rd Overall). Since Colquitt has had only 1 punt that went out of bounds this year, Golden Tate certainly should have some opportunities to make plays on Special Teams.

    When it comes to punt returns, Seattle has done fairly well in that arena as well. Golden Tate ended the regular season averaging 11.1 yards/punt return (9th best average in the league). His overall shiftiness and change of direction lend well to him being a good return man. He is very sure handed and if memory serves, hasn’t muffed a punt or had a fumble on a punt return this year. Though he’s yet to return one for a touchdown this year, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Golden Tate have a big return in the biggest game of his life.

    Bold Prediction …

    The entire season for the Seattle Seahawks has been about this moment. Ever since training camp, this team has been focused -- focused on being in the moment and on making each and every game a championship opportunity. Because of that, I don’t buy what some are saying that this team’s youth, inexperience, and inconsistency at times (especially on offense) will be its undoing. On the contrary, when the lights have been the brightest … this team has consistently shined brightest and played its best football. It has become abundantly clear that the tougher the challenge is, the greater their resolve has been. Additionally, this club comes in to this game perhaps the healthiest they’ve been all year long, so I believe the Seahawks will give America one whale of a performance this Sunday.

    A victory in this game is going to be far from easy however. This Denver Offense is one of the very best in NFL History and the Seahawks are going to have to BE one of the very best defenses in NFL History this Sunday in order to knock this team off. Peyton Manning doesn’t have the arm he used to, but his knowledge, his experience, and his quick release (the fastest in football) make him perhaps the most deadly foe that Seattle has faced all year long. Unlike every other quarterback out there, Peyton calls his own plays and that gives him a tremendous advantage against the best defense this league has seen in a long time. I would expect Manning to employ some no huddle offense, taking advantage of the Seahawks by keeping them in certain personnel groupings by not giving them the time to make their desired changes from play to play. Because Denver has so many weapons, they can be difficult (if not darned near impossible) to fully stop. Seattle’s Defense has got to be patient and not get frustrated if Manning and the Broncos have some early success. Manning will make some plays … but he’ll also shown a propensity to make some mistakes, as he throws to spots -- not to wide open receivers who are already at their designated target. The Seahawks Defense is the playground bully that beats you up and steals your lunch money. If the Seahawks expect to win this Sunday, the defense is going to have to do some pummeling -- otherwise Peyton and this receiving corps could pick them apart. This Sunday, I expect a lot of muggings and for the Broncos Offense to put up nowhere near the amount of points they’re used to. If the Legion of Boom plays the same kind of in your face, rock ‘em sock ‘em robots press coverage we’ve been accustomed to seeing all season long, some of the ducks Manning throws could very easily be shot down and become interceptions due to the disruption in the timing of those routes. When that happens, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense have got to take advantage.

    On offense, Seattle must play THEIR game -- bringing it to the Broncos by running the football and passing to set up the run -- not the other way around. Don’t let the Broncos dictate the tone and pace of this game by getting involved in a shootout. Controlling the clock by establishing Beast Mode and the run, sustaining long drives, and keeping Peyton Manning and that vaunted offense OFF the field is the surest path towards Super Bowl success. Not only is Peyton Manning is 0-4 in the playoffs when the temperature is 40 degrees F or below … he is also 1-3 in his lifetime when going up against Pete Carroll coached teams. All season long, this Seahawks team has felt like a team of destiny with the way they have prepared, played, and persevered. Though I believe it will be an incredible dogfight, I believe in the end they will see that destiny fulfilled and will be the ones hoisting the Lombardi Trophy high for all the world to see.

    I’m calling it ...

    Seahawks 27
    Broncos 24
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  • This stuff is .net porn. Seriously
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  • That took damn near a half an hour to read.

    Two points

    1) It's been argued that Seattle could catch Denver off guard by throwing the ball right off the bat on them. Moreover, the strength of their defense is their run D. If Seattle gets a few three and outs and ends up down 10-0, do you abandon the run? Do you go pass right off the bat?

    2) It is stressful putting the game on the offense. Football outsiders demonstrates clearly that RW is in a slump. I think, like you, that this is what it is going to boil down to. I truly believe that Harvin will be an x-factor. When he was in versus the Saints he was electric (although seeking contact). I think if he can play all four quarters Seattle is going to have a much more open field to play with and the early body shots with Lynch are going to be devastating later in the game. I believe if he doesn't play Seattle won't have the horsepower to keep up.

    T-2 two days and I'm fired up and ready to go!
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  • falcongoggles wrote:This stuff is .net porn. Seriously

    Ooooo ... I don't know exactly how wise it is to arouse some of the members of this board. ;)

    falcongoggles wrote:That took damn near a half an hour to read.

    Well, the meals I prepare are certainly meant to be eaten in courses -- savored and pondered point by point ... not downed all in one sitting. Hopefully the piece doesn't cause too much indigestion.

    falcongoggles wrote:1) It's been argued that Seattle could catch Denver off guard by throwing the ball right off the bat on them. Moreover, the strength of their defense is their run D. If Seattle gets a few three and outs and ends up down 10-0, do you abandon the run? Do you go pass right off the bat?

    I would agree that Denver is probably going to come out geared up to play against the run right off the bat. So, coming out throwing might have the effect of putting these guys back on their heels a bit -- thus opening up the run. That said, absolutely DO NOT abandon the run. You pass to set up the Run. I would say that sustaining long drives is the key to this game. Getting involved in a shootout with Peyton Manning IMO would be suicide.

    falcongoggles wrote:2) It is stressful putting the game on the offense. Football outsiders demonstrates clearly that RW is in a slump. I think, like you, that this is what it is going to boil down to. I truly believe that Harvin will be an x-factor. When he was in versus the Saints he was electric (although seeking contact). I think if he can play all four quarters Seattle is going to have a much more open field to play with and the early body shots with Lynch are going to be devastating later in the game. I believe if he doesn't play Seattle won't have the horsepower to keep up.

    Agreed. I believe that the Hawks have the firepower (especially against this depleted secondary) to put up points and make things interesting. That said, Harvin is a real X-Factor, both in terms of his effects on the overall passing game AND on kickoff returns. All indications and reports are that he is all systems go, so Seahawks fans will finally (in the last game of the year) see what this offense was supposed to look like all year long. How ironic -- the Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin to help them win the Super Bowl. And against a depleted but incredibly determined defense, he could very well be the factor that opens things up for the entire offense and puts the Seahawks over the top.
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  • Bump-this is too good to miss. If fans come together to pay Marshawn's fine, we should scrape something together for this man.
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  • falcongoggles wrote:Bump-this is too good to miss. If fans come together to pay Marshawn's fine, we should scrape something together for this man.

    Dude I'll tell you what. My birthday is fast approaching -- February 7th. And let me tell you ... the one, the only true present that I want for my birthday ... is a win this Sunday and a Super Bowl victory for the team that I have faithfully rooted for, cried for, and cheered my heart out for -- for the past 36 years.
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  • Thanks for bumping this as there are so many threads each hour that they get buried.

    Scanner, as usual an outstanding edition.

    I like our 2 X-Factors in this game...Zach Miller and Harvin. Nobody is talking about them, and all I have to say is that those are 2 money players.

    Liking our chances and appreciate your efforts all year. CHEERS, and Go Hawks.
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  • Bump. Now for a cigarette ... :lol:
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  • Excellent stuff as always Scanner. Percy will be the difference in the game.
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  • You never cease to amaze Hawkscanner. I don't know where you find the gumption to do this but I thank you for it.

    It is like .net porn. :3:
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  • Greenhell wrote:You never cease to amaze Hawkscanner. I don't know where you find the gumption to do this but I thank you for it.

    It is like .net porn. :3:

    Uh-oh -- someone needs to take a shower. :P
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  • Thank you Scanner for confirming what the guys at work is true when they say "damn Jo you know your football".:)

    This is all about shutting Merano down, middle pressure and ACTUALLY tackling somebody hell anybody.
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  • Thank you Scanner for confirming what the guys at work is true when they say "damn Jo you know your football".:)
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  • This one was your best ever. Bravo!
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  • SalishHawkFan wrote:This one was your best ever. Bravo!

    Well, a Super game demands a Super piece for our Super Seahawks. I just hope that after Sunday we're all feeling Super.
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  • Amazing work! Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together. Can't wait for Sunday and with content like this I'll be here every single week next season.
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  • Bump for awesomeness. Thanks, Hawkscanner!
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  • Seriously Scanner put a resume' together you need to get PAID for this. I can't believe the drivel that is put out for money and you literally walk up and put a money shot in their collective eyes. Porn for sure. Just WOW dude. Thanks. I am on a container ship and have had only written media to peruse. This is far and away the best I've read. Much thanks and appreciation for your time and effort. :th2thumbs:
    The Donkeys have no clue what Lynch is about. All I've heard about is this "Pot Roast" and I laugh almost every time I read something about him, for a couple simple reasons; SF's line, St. Louis line, Arizona's Line, Panthers line, Saints Line, whiners again, cards again, Rams again, Saints again, 9ers again. And now some dude is the end all of end alls. GTF out of here with that delusion. I find it comical, and grossly ignorant, to think a guy with 3 sacks is better than… I don't know say... J. Smith, Dockett, Star, Quinn, Long.
    I could go on but I think I’ve made my point, oh wait no I haven’t, then this line backing core… lol.. snort.. spit fluid out my nose.., cause they are obviously better then Willis, Bowman, Kuetcly, anyway I digress, the fact is they aren't even in the same league as the D's we have seen in our own Division, twice and thrice. Let alone the 4 other really good ones we've faced and put points on home and away. There D reminds me of Atlanta honestly, especially up front and in the backfield with the schemes they use. Add to that the injuries, and Percy. Good luck not looking like I would against them. Like “Afghanistan, bombed out and depleted.”
    Feed the Beast, they will want no part of us after the first quarter snuggling up to some baby stiff arms, skittle showers, mouths full of shoulder pads, and all that Boss. What say you Sir? Does their D really stand a shot at slowing us down? I say not even in the wettest dream that is your aforementioned writing.
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  • Thanks for all the props guys. It's much appreciated -- but as I said above, a Super Bowl win is all the reward I'm looking for.

    So, it's that time for me to ask what matchups you're going to be paying particularly close attention to in this game. I've already shared mine. For me, it's going to be Max Unger/mystery man LG vs. Pot Roast Knighton ... and Thurmond vs. Wes Welker. To me, those are the ones I'm going to be really paying attention to. What about you guys?
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  • Those two and whoever matches up with Percy.
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  • Hawkscanner wrote:Thanks for all the props guys. It's much appreciated -- but as I said above, a Super Bowl win is all the reward I'm looking for.

    So, it's that time for me to ask what matchups you're going to be paying particularly close attention to in this game. I've already shared mine. For me, it's going to be Max Unger/mystery man LG vs. Pot Roast Knighton ... and Thurmond vs. Wes Welker. To me, those are the ones I'm going to be really paying attention to. What about you guys?

    I think that Thurmond / Welker might be one if, if not the biggest key to this game.
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  • Welp, it's almost here. Although I won't be cheering for either team, if the Seahawks win, I will be very happy for you guys. 0 titles right now, but all it takes is one to have you floating on a cloud for a good 10 years. Plus you can always revisit the year on DVD any time you want and relive all the great moments. It's great and nobody can take that away from you.

    Broncos fans already have a few Super Bowls. They don't need another. I won't be happy for them.

    Good luck, guys.

    EDIT: I predicted a Seahawks win a couple weeks ago, and I still do. Same score: 31-20.
    Last edited by 49ers on Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • 49ers wrote:Welp, it's almost here. Although I won't be cheering for either team, if the Seahawks win, I will be very happy for you guys. 0 titles right now, but all it takes is one to have you floating on a cloud for a good 10 years. Plus you can always revisit the year on DVD any time you want and relive all the great moments. It's great and nobody can take that away from you.

    Broncos fans already have a few Super Bowls. They don't need another. I won't be happy for them.

    Good luck, guys.

    Thanks brother, from the only 49ers fan I respect on .net!

    Cheers mate!
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  • The whole "don't get into a shootout with Peyton Manning" misses the point.
    Denver's pass defense is their weakness. They are banged up and old. Denver's run defense could be considered a strength, relative to their pass D.
    We know that Peyton and the Broncos are likely to score an extra TD or two against the Seahawks, relative to "normal" opponents. Denver has a historically good offense.

    The key is to keep drives going, wear down Denver's defense, and score. Whether we do that by hammering Beastmode relentlessly, or bubble screens to Percy Harvin, or passes to Zach Miller, makes no difference.
    In fact, I think Denver will come out prepared to stuff the Seattle running game, and have some success at it the first half. I am betting that Carroll and Bevell will quickly turn to using the passing game and Russell Wilson's running to keep drives alive and move the ball down the field. I don't think Lynch has much success running the ball until middle of the 3rd quarter. The reason he'll have success then is that the success of the Seattle passing attack will force Denver to adjust their defense to stop the pass, and the Denver defense will be overall gassed, while Seattle rotates in fresh O-linemen like Bowie, Bailey, and Carpenter against worn-out Denver front 7. In the 4th quarter, protecting a lead, THAT is when we will see a lot of Beastmode.

    I think Carroll and Bevell are going to come out with a more aggressive offensive game plan than we've seen in a couple months. Closer to the New Orleans Monday night game plan than the 49ers or Cardinals game plan. I think the "number" Carroll has given to Bevell for the offense is "28". That is, the offense needs to score 4 TD's, 28 points, to ensure a Seattle victory. I think the 'Hawks will get a few more on turnovers and special teams play, but we're talking about a 31-24 or 34-24 type of game here. Denver does not have the elite defense we faced against San Fran, Arizona, and even St. Louis. Denver can be attacked and exploited through the air, and I also believe, by the running of a mobile QB. Harvin, Tate, Baldwin, Miller, Kearse, and Willson will be huge in the first 3 quarters, as targets of Russell Wilson. The 4th quarter will be soon enough for Beastmode time. I expect Russell Wilson to emerge as the MVP.
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  • To me the most important thing is to limit Payton's pre-snap reads. He can adjust on the fly and is very adept at reading defensive formations. We need to NOT tip our hand and disguise what we're doing until the last possible second, and make sure our players are ready to enter the game immediately when they're needed. No slacking off whatsoever. Our ability to be able to stay in the moment, to concentrate and stay focused for SIXTY minutes are vital for success.
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  • After so many years ... so much heartbreak and disappointment ... so many times of watching defeat snatched out of the jaws of victory ... and so many times watching other teams trounce us -- THIS is an absolutely unbelievable feeling. The Seattle Seahawks are Super Bowl Champions. Ooooooo! I just gotta say that again to let the reality sink in -- the Seattle Seahawks are Super Bowl Champions! I literally cannot believe what I saw tonight. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision the Seahawks doing what they did to the NFL's #1 Offense -- the Greatest Offense in the history of the NFL. I mean, to hold the legendary Peyton Manning and the Broncos (who set the NFL's all time record for points scored in a season [606 Points]) to a grand total of just 8 points -- and to absolutely and totally annihilate that team in every phase of the game in front of the entire country -- unbelievable!! I'm so happy right now that it's hard to fight back the tears of joy.

    Enjoy it fellow 12's ... soak it all in -- 37 long years of frustration are finally over.
    :thmusik36: :thRocks: :fam:
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    Location: Middle of Nowhere, Washington

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