Feb 2, 2014 at 11.30pm UK at ​MetLife Stadium
Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos
Lynch (12:08), Smith (3:36)
Harvin (15:00), Kearse (2:58)
Thomas (0:03)
Baldwin (11:45)

Super Bowl Analysis: Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos

Sports Mole analyses the clash between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos ahead of their showdown in Super Bowl XLVIII.

It's finally here. After five months of enthralling action, we have reached the climax of the 2013 NFL season as the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos face off in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The game is a clash of opposites as the league's best ever offense plays the best statistical defense of the 2013 campaign at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Denver advanced to their first title game since the 1998 season by defeating the New England Patriots in convincing fashion in the AFC championship game two weeks ago 26-16 at Sports Authority Field.

Jacob Tamme #84 celebrates his second quarter touchdown with Eric Decker #87 as Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks on during their AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 201© Getty Images

Meanwhile, the Seahawks had to battle their way into the showdown as they and the San Francisco 49ers fought it out for four quarters in the NFC championship.

However, a crucial play by cornerback Richard Sherman proved to be the deciding factor as he tipped Colin Kaepernick's pass away from Michael Crabtree and into the hand of Malcolm Smith to secure their place in the Super Bowl.

Clint Gresham #49 and kicker Steven Hauschka #4 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate with the George Halas Trophy after the Seahawks 23-17 victory against the San Francisco 49ers during the 2014 NFC Championship at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014© Getty Images

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is eyeing his second Vince Lombardi Trophy to improve his legacy following a record-breaking campaign, which has seen him break the single-season passing touchdown mark and most yards ever thrown in a campaign.

He can close the gap on his long-term rival Tom Brady, who has three rings, as well as legend Joe Montana, who has four, and truly stamp his mark to be the considered the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.

Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning in action against Seattle Seahawks on August 17, 2013© Getty Images

Manning faces an incredibly hard task to achieve that feat going against the best defense in the NFL over the past year. Led by cornerback Sherman, who is arguably the best in the game in his position, they are loaded with talent across the field, so the 37-year-old will have to be at the peak of his form.

The Broncos put up the best ever season by an offense in their campaign, posting 606 points scoring 76 touchdowns, 55 of those came from the arm of Manning along with 16 on the ground. They are stacked with excellent players across the board as well, so we have a mouth-watering battle in store.

Every skill player on Denver's starting lineup has scored 10 touchdowns or more this season, so it is a case of 'pick your poison' for the Seahawks as they are all very good players. Demaryius Thomas led the way with 14 receiving scores, and that is where Seattle's game plan will start: isolate him and you can go some way to shutting them down.

Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas in action during the game against Jacksonville Jaguars on October 13, 2013© Getty Images

John Fox's side have lost three games this season. In those defeats - against the Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers - Demaryius was limited to just four catches in each match where he failed to get over 100 yards.

The Colts and the Patriots went man-for-man with Demaryius matching him up against their physical cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Aqib Talib. Expect Seattle to do the same to make him a non-factor by placing Sherman against him across the field to force Manning to go elsewhere with the ball.

This is an extremely hard task, as he is a fantastic player but if one man can do it's Sherman and he will relish the opportunity on the big stage.

Next stage for Seattle is Thomas number two, the tight end Julius. He has been a revelation this season and has given the Broncos better production than they had a year ago from Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. He creates mismatch problems with his size and speed, which the Patriots found out in the AFC championship game.

However, the Seahawks will have a plan for him in the shape of safety Kam Chancellor, who gave San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis a rough ride at CenturyLink Field.

Built like a linebacker with the speed of a corner, he can go stride for stride with Julius in what could be the matchup of the Super Bowl. If the tight end can win that battle, then it will give Manning a release valve and a big body to hit in the endzone.

One of the deciding factors in the contest will be if the Seahawks can get pressure on Manning. They are blessed with a plethora of excellent pass-rushers with Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons and Red Bryant all at their disposal in a formidable rotation.

Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett defends against Houston Texans' Matt Schaub on September 29, 2013© Getty Images

The 37-year-old was sacked just 18 times during the regular season and is yet to be touched in the playoffs. If he is allowed time, then it doesn't matter how good the coverage is, as he will find a receiver eventually.

Seattle should take heart from the performance of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII as they faced the then most-potent offense in the history of the game in the form of the Patriots led by Brady.

The Giants didn't let the quarterback settle into a rhythm as they hit him over and over again with the rotation of Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Barry Cofield. That proved to be crucial as they limited the Patriots to just 14 points, allowing their offense to make plays late in the game to win it.

The storyline could be the same in New York for the Seahawks, but their defense has to perform. They cannot allow the Broncos to get points into the late 20s or let them milk the clock as the running ability of Knowshon Moreno has let them in the post-season.

Running back Knowshon Moreno #27 of the Denver Broncos rushes during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 30, 2012© Getty Images

Moreno has gone under the radar into this week, but his ability on the ground could open the passing game up for Manning off play-action. Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel and Clint McDonald are huge players on the inside of the line for the Seahawks, and they will need to be able to stop Moreno and Montee Ball; they can't slack off and allow the Broncos cheap yards on the ground.

On the other side of the ball, the Broncos will be putting all their efforts into stopping the ground game of Seattle and Marshawn Lynch. 'Beast Mode' was in full force in the NFC championship game as he ran all over the physical front of the 49ers, but Denver proved against the Patriots and the Chargers that they can be stout against a potent rushing game.

Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers on September 15, 2013© Getty Images

The Broncos' defeat to the Chargers in the regular season is the blueprint that the Seahawks will try to implement. Run the ball with their backs, take the time off the clock and the ball away from Manning to limit his time on the field to keep the game as close as possible. They will look to Lynch to lead that charge.

Seattle's passing attack is the weakest area of their team, while the Broncos' pass defense is theirs, so something could give on that side of the ball.

Russell Wilson has proved that he is an outstanding playmaker with his arm and his feet, and with Percy Harvin back in the ranks, they could make life interesting for the Denver defense.

Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson in action against San Francisco 49ers on September 15, 2013© Getty Images

Wilson has all the throws in the book and he made need to make them to fire his side to victory, and for all the talk of the best offense against the best defense, it could come down to Seattle's offense against Denver's defense.

This game will be a fascinating encounter to the end the 2013 season. It is too close to call but one thing is certain: whoever lifts the Vince Lombardi Trophy will have deserved it for their efforts this year.

Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady shake hands after the New England Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos on November 24, 2013
Read Next:
NFL championship games analysis
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account