By Matthew Asher
For those wanting to see what the best offense in the league can do against the best defense, Super Bowl XLVIII is your kind of football game.
Both teams that received home-field advantage were able to win their respective conferences and now the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will meet in MetLife Stadium on Groundhog Day to decide which team will hoist the Lombardi Trophy. If history is any indication, Seattle should be considered the favorite to win.
Seattle’s Defensive Prowess
According to ESPN, this is the 16th time in the history of the NFL that the team that allowed the fewest points in the regular season advances to the Super Bowl. Of those 15 teams that preceded the ‘Hawks, 12 of them won Super Bowls for a very impressive .800 winning percentage.
In the regular season, Seattle allowed just 14.4 points, 273.6 total yards and 172 passing yards surrendered each game. Each of those stats is good for first place in the NFL this season. Seattle also has a very respectable run defense. The 101.6 yards on the ground given up every game is still a top 10 ranking, landing the Seahawks at seventh best in the league.
Denver’s Offensive Abilities
It’s simply amazing that the Denver Broncos signing Peyton Manning two seasons ago was considered a risk. Sure, he had four neck surgeries and missed an entire season, but what Manning has done in the two seasons with the Broncos is simply astounding.
Last season Manning practically rewrote every passing franchise record. This season he was able to rewrite three NFL records: most points scored in a season (606), most passing yards in a single season (5,477) and most passing touchdowns (55). He also tied the NFL record for most passing touchdowns in a single game (7) and even scored a rushing touchdown of his own against Dallas early in the season.
The Seahawks will have a tough time trying to key in on the offensive threats Manning has at his disposal. While Demaryius Thomas did lead the team with 92 receptions, 1,430 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, he was by no means the only weapon in Denver’s arsenal. Wide receivers Eric Decker and Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas combined for 225 catches, 2,854 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns.
This means Denver’s second, third and fourth receiving options averaged 75 catches for 951 yards and 11 touchdowns apiece. If you throw in running back Knowshon Moreno’s rushing and receiving stats, he is the fifth Bronco with at least 10 total touchdowns.
Denver will be the 19th team in the NFL to reach the Super Bowl as the regular season scoring leader, according to ESPN. Amazingly, the offensive teams haven’t fared as well as the top defensive teams during the Super Bowls. The high-powered offensive teams are just 10-8 for a .556 winning percentage. We’ll know in two weeks if this trend continues or if Manning will be able to buck the trend.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.