Monday, May 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Super Bowl pits top offense vs. top defense

Two weeks.

Two weeks of hype. Two weeks of stories. Two weeks of everything you ever wanted to know about Denver and Seattle, the Broncos and the Seahawks.

Two weeks for players to say something stupid, get into trouble or make a name for themselves. Or all three.

We have to wait two weeks before Super Bowl XLVIII. (Oh, speaking of which, can we please drop the Roman numerals on this thing already? What century is this? What country is this? Did I miss the year Augustus led his team to the conference champion­ship?)

So let's get the hype going.

Here are five interesting early thoughts on Super Bowl 48 between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks:

Offense vs. defense

What wins championships, offense or defense?

It's the great debate in sports, particularly in football. The game has evolved from the old days of running the football and suffocating defense to today's video-game style of wide-open passing.

Now, we will find out what wins.

The Broncos have the NFL's No. 1-ranked offense. They averaged 457 yards and 38 points during the regular season.

The Seahawks have the league's best defense. They allowed just 273 yards and 14 points a game. They allowed more than 20 points in a game only three times this season, and one of those was against the Bucs

The Broncos would love to get into a shootout with the score reaching the 30s. The Seahawks would prefer a low-scoring game in the teens.

Manning eyes No. 2

Some consider Denver's Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback to ever live, but it's hard to give such a title to a man who has won one Super Bowl. Heck, he doesn't even have the most Super Bowls in his own family, let alone the NFL.

A victory in the Super Bowl would cap what you could argue is the greatest season for a quarterback in NFL history. He's expected to win an unprecedented fifth MVP award. But with Sunday's victory against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Manning is just 11-11 all-time in the playoffs.

Manning needs this Super Bowl for his legacy.

As far as the quarterback matchup — Manning vs. Seattle's Russell Wilson — this might be the biggest mismatch since Manning against the Bears' Rex Grossman in 2007.

Manning was a No. 1 overall pick. Wilson was a third-rounder. Counting the playoffs, Manning has thrown for more than 300 yards 13 times this season, including five games of at least 400. Wilson has thrown for more than 300 yards only twice this season. Manning threw for more yards Sunday (400) than Wilson has thrown in Seattle's two postseason games combined (318).

Player most likely to make the most noise

No player will have more microphones, cameras and recorders shoved in his face than Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Never bashful and always arrogant, Sherman will brag for the next two weeks about who is the best cornerback in football (he is), and who Manning should be afraid of (him), and who is the baddest man on the planet (Sherman, of course). The NFC Championship Game wasn't even over and he was picking up a penalty for smack-talking and giving the choke sign to the 49ers. Immediately after the game, he blasted 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, calling him "sorry."

This was all off-the-cuff stuff. Just wait until he has time to think up good trash talk.

Sherman is the biggest voice on the Seahawks, but not the lone voice. Look for the Seahawks, with their us-against-the-world mentality, to talk a lot and talk loudly for the next two weeks.

The weather

Normally, we barely pay attention to weather reports for the Super Bowl. The game is typically played in a warm-weather climate or a dome.

But this year, for the first time ever, the Super Bowl will be played in a cold-weather city outdoors: New Jersey's MetLife Stadium. And that means we will get almost hourly updates and predictions on the weather.

Traditionally, in early February in the New York area, temperatures are in the upper 20s with winds out of the northwest at roughly 10-20 mph. The latest AccuWeather forecast for Super Bowl Sunday is calling for a high of 34 with a low of 19 and a chance of rain and/or snow.

The Seahawks would love that. The worse the weather, the better it will be for the Seahawks. The better the weather, the advantage leans toward the Broncos.

The rest of the story

We'll hear about Broncos coach John Fox taking a leave of absence during the middle of the season to overcome health issues. We'll hear about Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and how he left Southern Cal to turn around the Seahawks. We'll hear about the running backs (Denver's Knowshon Moreno and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch). We'll hear about Coors and Starbucks. We'll get plenty of John Denver and plenty of Nirvana … and Jimi Hendrix and Heart and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Best of all, we won't have to hear Bill Belichick.

That, alone, will get us through the next two weeks.

Comments
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