All eyes on Manning but Seahawks have their own weapons.
The Seattle Seahawks face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night, and we take a closer look at the key players looking to influence matters and make it a successful trip to the MetLife Stadium.
This year’s edition of the Super Bowl has been billed as the ultimate clash between offense and defense, as the Broncos arrive after an NFL-record 55 passing touchdowns with four receivers in double-digit scores, to face the Seahawks and their intimidating “Legion of Boom” secondary.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll has assembled a defensive unit that has been their biggest asset this season as they have matched Denver with a 15-3 regular season record.
Physical, athletic and vocal, the Seahawks secondary were pivotal in the comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers, while their biggest offensive weapons will threaten to make strides against the Broncos throughout.
Richard Sherman and the ‘Legion of Boom’
The self-proclaimed ‘best cornerback in the NFL’, Sherman became a household name after his tirade aimed at Michael Crabtree after their win over the 49ers a fortnight ago.
Leading the way in the NFL with eight interceptions, the 25-year-old claims that the controversy caused by his post-game interview has helped his team focus, although he has since apologised for getting personal in his rant.
Further, he has insisted that he has the best team-mates in the league, and as a collective unit they will be difficult to break down as they have shown all season having allowed the fewest yards and points in the league.
Along with Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Walter Thurmond, they will be looking to limit the Broncos and Manning in order to allow their quarterback and running back to go and win the game for them.
However, against the most impressive offensive team in the league, they will face a tough time stopping the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker.
When Lynch is in ‘Beast Mode’ there are few more thrilling moments in the game, as the CenturyLink Field crowd, otherwise known as the 12th man, will attest to having caused a mini earthquake last time it happened.
The dependable running back continues to help his team advance up the field with either his brute strength or breakout advances, and ultimately he will be their go-to guy when times get tough.
Due to injuries, it could have been an area where the Seahawks could have exploited and really hurt their rivals, however, Denver’s replacements have stepped up and will make life as difficult as possible for Lynch.
The running back was relatively silent at media day, with coach Carroll claiming that he felt uncomfortable and rarely enjoys doing what he is told to do. However, when it comes to Sunday, he will be ready to show up.
The Broncos’ scoring ability is not in dispute, as they averaged 37.9 points per game in the regular season, while the Seahawks will look to continue their defensive dominance having allowed an average of just 14.4 per game.
While Denver stepped up their defensive work in the playoffs, despite the absence of Von Miller and Chris Harris, they are still vulnerable and could face an upset if they don’t execute in the part of the game that they have excelled at all year.
Wilson will be a threat considering Percy Harvin returns as one of his targets, his short and long range passing coupled with his mobility will give the Broncos plenty to think about and he could well overshadow Manning if things go Seattle’s way.
In just his second season in the NFL, Wilson lacks the experience of Manning who is 12 years older, but his ability to get out of the pocket and run could be something to look out for.
Critics have questioned his height again this week ahead of the biggest game of his career thus far, but with the right plays and help around him, he could be head and shoulders above the rest come Sunday night.