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Super Bowl Preview

January 30, 2014

This year’s Super Bowl gives us the top seeds from both the AFC and the NFC. That has only happened twice since 1993. It also gives a us a captivating matchup between the best defense in the NFL, Seattle, versus the best offense in the NFL, Denver.  

The top storyline is exactly that. What will win out. Defense or offense?  

One of the oldest cliches out there is that defense wins championships. This was especially true back in the day. There is recent evidence that tells us this is no longer the case. Offenses, over the last decade or so, have been coming out on top more and more. The cliche will get tested on Sunday. 

Russell Wilson 

The formula for Super Bowl titles of late has been productive offenses combined with average defenses that get just enough stops.  

Denver may fit that formula this year. The Broncos offense, as we’ve all come to expect, has been potent. Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and two TDs with a QB rating of 118.4 in the AFC Championship 26-16 win over New England. It was the defense, though, that came through big against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Denver’s defense, though it ranked just 22nd in the NFL during the regular season, seems to be improving weekly. Just in time for the Super Bowl.  

If defense vs. offense is storyline number one, storyline 1A is Peyton Manning. Manning is now one win away from his second Super Bowl crown, his first with the Broncos. His legacy, it seems, is on the line. The media feels he badly needs another Super Bowl title if he is to be considered the best quarterback of all-time.  

To win his second Super Bowl, Manning will need his talented group of receivers to solve Seattle’s aggressive secondary. That is basically what the game will come down to. Can the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas get open against the best defensive backfield in the game? It would not surprise me if Denver turns to its running backs, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, to take a little pressure off of Manning and the receivers.


Peyton Manning
  

Seattle relies heavily on its defense. While Denver broke all sorts of scoring and yardage records this season, both as a team and Manning himself; the Seahawks led the league in several categories on defense, including points and yards allowed.  

The defense saved Seattle again in the NFC Championship game against San Francisco. The secondary produced two critical interceptions off Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter, one by Kam Chancellor  and another in the final 30 seconds on a highlight-reel play from Richard Sherman.  

Marshawn Lynch

The wildcard for Seattle may be quarterback Russell Wilson. Will he be able to keep pace with Manning? Despite throwing what stood as the game-winning touchdown pass versus San Francisco, Wilson has been up and down for the past half dozen Seattle games. Luckily for him, he gets to hand off to Marshawn Lynch. The 27-year-old Lynch remains one of the NFL’s most feared running backs. It was his 40-yard TD run that helped swing the NFC championship in Seattle’s favor.  

Another storyline could be the weather. The game is being held in New Jersey and weather could be an issue. The worse the weather gets on Super Bowl Sunday, the more it should favor Seattle, given how reliant Denver is on its passing attack.  

As much as I would like to see Manning win another Super Bowl because I do believe he is the best quarterback of all time, I am going with defense and Seattle.

Knowshon Moreno

While everyone is looking at the Denver offense vs. the Seattle defense, what the game will likely come down to is how the Seattle offense does against the Denver defense. In other words, lets see how both teams perform when the roles are flipped, the Seahawks’ inconsistent offense against the Broncos’ average defense.     

Don’t Panic With Tiger

Here we go again. Tiger Woods shoots a human-like score of 79 while missing the cut and he hear sportswriters and fans start spouting out that his career is over. Yes, Tiger shot a 79 and missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week. A 79 on a Torrey Pines course that he has won seven prior tournaments on. Surely, a score like that on one of his favorite courses means he is done. Washed up.  

You have to be kidding me.  

You can debate me on whether Tiger will ever win another major again (I think he will), but don’t project the rest of his career based on one round.  

Just like that? He is done. Remember, this is the guy who won five of the 15 PGA Tour stroke-play tournaments he entered last year. Utilizing the current point system, he’s No. 1 in the world by a huge margin.  

Montee Ball

Thinking about this topic, I seem to recall we’ve been here before with Woods in recent years. He shot a 79 at the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship. That was the year he posted top five finishes at the Masters and US Open. Last year, he shot a 79 at the Memorial the week after winning the Players Championship and two months before winning at the Bridgestone Invitational.  

I went back further and found a similar situation. In 2002 Woods shot a 77 at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. He went on to win the Masters and the US Open and finish second at the PGA Championship.  

Tiger Woods

Yes, he is susceptible to more bad days then he used to encounter. But let’s not eulogize him because of a bad round on a course that was playing hard for most everyone.  

Tiger Woods nay be a lot of things. But finished after one bad round is not one of them.


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