31 January 2014
Well it’s February football, this can only mean one thing, Superbowl Sunday. This Sunday February 3rd the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will battle it out to see who claims their spot atop the NFL and become world champions. Peyton Manning and the Broncos pulled out victories over San Diego and New England. While on the other side Richard Sherman and the Seahawks pulled off wins against New Orleans and San Francisco.
Superbowl XLVII will mark just the tenth time in history that each of the top seeded teams made it to the Superbowl resulting in a true test of the best-of-the-best. Interestingly enough the last time that both top seeded teams made it to the Superbowl was in 2009 when the 14-2 New Orleans Saints defeated the 14-2 Manning led Indianapolis Colts. Surely, Manning will want a different outcome this Sunday, but he will have his work cut out for him as the top flight Hawks defense swoops into the meadowlands.
The Seattle Seahawks turned this franchise around last season with by selecting Russel Wilson in the 3rd round of the draft, who eventually beat of Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn for the starting job, and led them to the playoffs. In just his second year Wilson finds himself in the big showdown against one of the best gunslingers this game has ever seen. Wilson plays a by-committee passing game. Golden Tate has broken this season as the Hawks leading receiver accumulating 64 catches for 898-yards. Next on the list is Doug Baldwin who has 50 receptions for 778-yards. Wilson has also found tight end Zach Miller for 33 receptions and five touchdowns. While Russell Wilson has connected with Canadian rookie tight end, Luke Willson, on 20 passes this season and has been a reliable blocker downfield and in situational downs. However, Russell Wilson will have the weapon they acquired in the summer but hasn’t been able to build a chemistry with due to nagging injuries all season but come Sunday Percy Harvin will suit up for his first Superbowl and hopes to make an impact on offence and special teams.
One of the Seahawks biggest weapons is “Beast-mode” himself, Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has ran for three straight 1200+ yard seasons scoring 35 rushing touchdowns establishing himself as one of the premier running backs in the lead. For what he lacks in speed he makes up for in truculence and aggression. He reads his blocks and hits the holes harder than anyone else in the league inflicting fear in his opponents. Nobody forgets the play he made a few years ago running against New Orleans where he ran over any defender in his path– breaking tackle after tackle, leading the Seahawks to a huge upset victory over the heavily favoured Saints advancing Seattle to the divisional round. Lynch must be in full throttle if the Seahawks want to hoist the Lombardi Trophy come Sunday.
Half way through this article and finally we will touch on Seattle’s bread-and-butter, the number one ranked defence. All eyes will be on Richard Sherman after his outburst with ESPN’s Erin Andrews after the NFC championship game. He called himself the best corner in the game. Sure, there will always be debate when trying to pinpoint one particular person as “the best”. Although, if you look at his numbers since entering the league three years ago he has 167-tackles and 20-interceptions, 16 of those picks coming from the past two seasons. That final play in the NFC championship game was set up by Sherman by deflecting a pass in the end-zone from Crabtree, and it happened to fall in the hands of his teammate solidifying their birth in the Superbowl. Sherman has come out and said he looks forwards to this week’s match-up “whether it’s Demeryious Thomas, Eric Decker, or Wes Welker” he said on media day. Clearly this entire defence has their biggest task yet since Manning and company have torched the league all year while breaking numerous passing and receiving records. Luckily the Seahawks arguably have the best defensive backfield in the league with Sherman and Maxwell on the corners, backed by Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor at the safety positions. The safety tandem accumulated over 200 tackles this season and eight interceptions. Needless to say, Manning will be yelling “OMAHA” quite a bit to try and figure out this pass coverage.
One of the reasons why this secondary is so potent is because they can rush the passer. The Seattle defence dished out 44-sacks this season on a by-committee basis. Bobby Wagner does a great job rushing down the middle putting pressure on the quarterback tallying 120-tackles with five quarterback sacks. While Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, edge rushers, both had eight sacks a piece. Then there Brandon Mebane an enforcer defensive tackle that plugs up the holes. His job will be not to allow Knowshon Mareno past the line of scrimmage.
Head Coach Pete Carroll has this team firing on all cylinders right now, but can they keep it rolling till Sunday and become world champs? Only time will tell, happy Superbowl!