This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
The old adage, “offense sells tickets, defense wins championships,” will certainly be put to the test on Feb. 2, in Superbowl XLVIII (that is 48 if you don’t understand Roman Numerals). It couldn’t be more fitting for the first-ranked offense to take on the first ranked defense in the first cold weather Superbowl which will take place in the Meadowlands home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants, although it is really located in New Jersey.
Before delving in too deep it is key to look at the offense and defense of both teams. The Denver Broncos come into the Superbowl touted as one of the greatest and most potent offenses of all time and it is a reputation that is well deserved.
Start with the play of the offensive line, quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler have dropped back to pass over 700 times this season and the offensive line has only allowed them to be sacked 20 times over the course of the season. Then move to the play of the actual quarterbacks, Osweiler may not have thrown a touchdown but Manning sure did, throwing a record setting 55 touchdowns, slinging the ball around the field for almost 5,550 yards during the regular season and ending the season with a passer-rating of 115.1.
But the offense certainly wouldn’t be as potent without the Five-10 club of the Broncos. For the first time ever a team had five players with more than ten touchdowns. The Five-10 club was led by Demaryius Thomas who recorded 1430 reception yards and 14 touchdowns, followed by Eric Decker pulling down 11 touchdowns and 1188 yards, the third member of the club was tight end Julius Thomas grabbing 12 touchdowns and 788 yards, the fourth member of the club is Wes Welker and although he missed the last three games of the regular season he still able to gain 778 reception yards and have 10 touchdown receptions and the final member of the club was running back Knowshon Moreno had 1,083 rushing yards with 10 rushing touchdowns and added another 548 receiving yards with three touchdown receptions.
The Seattle Seahawks didn’t have a shabby offense either, although certainly not as explosive as the Broncos they still had big play makers and have big play capability. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 3236 yards and scrambled for another 539 yards. Running back Marshwan Lynch was able to incorporate “Beast Mode” on a weekly basis and almost seemingly at will against many opponents, running for 1,257 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. The receiving core certainly did their job well ending the regular season with three players with five touchdown receptions, Golden Tate led the group with 898 yards followed by Doug Baldwin with 778 receiving yards and rounded out by Zach Miller netting 380 yards.
Flipping over to the other side of the ball we should start with the Seahawks and their famed “Legion of Boom.” Being an offensive player and facing the Legion of Boom must be as menacing as facing the Broncos offense if you were a defensive player. The Seahawks defense only gave up 270.6 yards per game (combined passing and rushing), allowed 14.4 points per game, nabbed 28 interceptions and record 44 sacks, all first ranked on the defensive side of the ball except for the sacks. The outspoken leader of the Legion of Boom, Richard Sherman led the league with 8 interceptions followed closely by teammate and defensive back Earl Thomas with 5 interceptions and forced two fumbles.
The Broncos defense was not nearly as good at taking the ball away from the opponent but still were able to have a respectable defense that netted good numbers across the board. Overall they were the 19th ranked defense in the league, forcing 16 fumbles, picking off the ball 17 times and sacking the opposing quarterback 41 times. Von Miller, a key player for the Broncos defense will not be able to compete in the Superbowl after blowing out his ACL before the end of the season, yet at the same time he was not able to participate in the first six games of the season due to a suspension for breaking the league’s substance abuse policy.
In the end, the evidence is rather clear cut: the best offense will be taking on the best defense and their counterparts are a pretty even match. According to the simulation by EA Sports on Madden NFL 2013 in the snow at Metlife Stadium, the Broncos will win in overtime on a field-goal by Broncos kicker Matt Prater, final score 31-28. I think that it will certainly come down to a special teams play by Prater at the end of regulation but it will be Manning driving the ball down the field to break the tie at the end of the game to se t him p for the win, Broncos 24 Seahawks 21, and again the 12th Man, Seattle’s most loyal fans will leave without hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.