Evening, it's the big one, so deserves le big thread:
Sunday, 11:30pm kickoff, Channel 4/Sky Sports/FOX (coverage 10:30pm)
Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
So for once, the two teams most people would have expected (and possibly wanted, if this were Wrestling) are facing off in the big dance in New Jersey on Sunday. The league's number 1 defence vs. the number 1 offence. Richard Sherman vs Peyton Manning. Emerald vs Orange.
But there's much more to it than that, with plenty to discuss and dissect. While the overarching storyline here is about whether a bunch of LOUD, young and snotty kids can keep an Old man legend from dying (I mean, retiring) happy, this remains a team sport, and not many are talking about How Russell Wilson will fare against the Broncos D.
We already know Peyton Manning, coming off a history smashing best-ever season and Seattle's equally impressive Defence are great, but this isn't necessarily where the game will be won and lost. Denver's D has left a lot to be desired this year, but they improved drastically in the playoffs, particularly against the run (with Terence Knighton really shining at moment), and this could be crucial in stopping two of the best runners in the league in Marshawn BEAST MODE Lynch & Wilson himself. If the Broncos can keep these two quiet in the ground, particularly with the potential weather, then this could make the real difference between a title or disappointment.
Speaking of weather, there's generally a lot of it, but the latest is NOT in New York/New Jersey area. Sunday's forecast currently is clear and mild, sadly putting an end to the hope of a snow-filled Superbowl. This is good news for Manning, who now no longer has to fear WEATHER effecting his throwing. But it's also good news for Russell Wilson, who, due to both being literally and metaphorically dwarfed by Manning, can air it out once in a while too. Given Denver's weakness is their secondary (props to an ancient Champ Bailey finally getting to the 'bowl by the way) expect Wilson to throw it deep early and often to make a real dent in their pride. Yes, as is the old worn cliché, much of this game for Seattle will be based on clock-management, but there's only so much running Lynch and Wilson can do before making some actual, needed scoring progress in this game.
And so to the most talked about side of the game, which has the most chance of being the most underwhelming. Love him or Hate him, Richard Sherman is a massive presence on the field on any given Sunday, and given his post-match antics in defeating much hated San Francisco last weekend, all eyes will be on him. Which is a shame because those eyes will miss most the game, as little to no balls will be thrown his way. Manning is one of the best in the game ever, and his ability with the much lauded Denver offence wouldn't be so stupid to go anywhere near the league's Defensive MVP elect this year. This isn't to say everything is solved by avoiding Sherman, he isn't the entire number 1 ranked Defence, and it will be a true clash of titans event whenever Peyton is firing balls at this exceptional D. It's easy to see why this is the most talked about aspect going into Sunday, this is where the best units of the season will go head-to-head in what's sure to be an enthralling battle, but it won't be everything.
Ultimately, it's going to an excellently close-fought match, a real potential match for the ages style thing. Denver remain the favourites, because people generally pick Quarterbacks and offences because, especially in this case, they are the most obviously visually impressive part of the game on display. It would be quite a feat for Manning to pick him his second title, the first QB to do it for two different teams, and possibly ride off into the sunset ala his mentor in the stands John Elway (though if you remember, he waited to win TWO for Denver before retiring). However, it's pretty hard not to get exciting watching this Seattle team, on both sides of the ball. They play hard and fast and with a real swagger which is highly enjoyable to watch. If they match the potential they've shown all year, they can shut down Manning like many (especially in playoff games) have before.
Ultimately, I'm letting my heart do the picking: Seattle 27, Denver 24.
Have a great weekend guys, don't let the post match melancholia sit too heavily. Predictions, bants, plans, HYPE to follow...