How Seattle & Denver will attack each other in the Super Bowl

Denver offense vs Seattle defense

It wouldn’t surprise me if Peyton Manning didn’t attempt a pass beyond 15 yards on Sunday.

Not because of the weather or any physical limitations with his 37-year-old body.

Simply put, it makes little sense to attack Seattle downfield.

They love to play physical at the line, but they’re also adept in covering deep. Manning isn’t going to zip passes over the top of this defense.

Not a chance and he’ll know that.

Long developing routes won’t be his friend either. Denver’s much vaunted pass protection is a product of Manning’s quick release. Without Ryan Clady watching his blind side, he can’t afford to be sitting in the pocket waiting on a downfield target.

The way to exploit this defense will be underneath throws and finding ways to set up the run. It’s a pretty safe bet to imagine this could be Denver’s game plan.

I think Demaryius Thomas will actually have a quiet game unless they get creative and move him around. It makes sense to have him run downfield taking away one of the corners. That will open up the underneath coverage and allow space for the crossing routes.

If they have Thomas and Eric Decker coming up against Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman, they’ll probably both be used as a decoys. I expect Wes Welker to get a lot of targets over the middle on shorter routes, plus the two tight ends.

In fact I wouldn’t be shocked if Thomas and Decker are non-factors. At the end of the day, are you going to challenge Sherman and Maxwell with Manning’s arm — or do you fancy your chances throwing against Seattle’s linebackers and Kam Chancellor underneath?

This will be about YAC and chipping away at the defense. Slow burning, patient and methodical drives.

Denver has the players to dominate even with a fairly conservative game plan.

Manning doesn’t care who he passes to. He’s going to snap and throw — get it out there and let the playmakers do the work. Some of those lesser known receivers and tight ends are going to get plenty of looks. Don’t be surprised if an Andre Caldwell, Jacob Tamme or Joel Dreessen ends up having a big day with a touchdown or two.

There’s not really much Seattle can do about this. Field goals will have to be considered victories. It’ll be very difficult to win the field position battle because Manning’s going to get to midfield consistently, even if a drive eventually stalls.

As for the running game — I think they’ll mix it in once they’ve got the passing game into a rhythm. If Manning gets into his stride early on the Seahawks should be concerned. It’ll really open up the run from the shotgun and Knowshon Moreno could have a field day on just a handful of calculated carries.

Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to stop a Manning offense running the ball once he’s established the passing game. It can be frighteningly potent.

Expect to see some screens too — but Seattle has done a fantastic job taking these away this season.

At the end of the day you can’t stop this unit scoring points and building drives.

They’re just too good.

The question is, can you limit them to enough points that your offense has a chance to win you the game?

Key players: Peyton Manning (obviously), Jacob Tamme (TE), Julius Thomas (TE), Joel Dreessen (TE), Wes Welker (WR), Knowshon Moreno (RB)

Seattle defense vs Denver offense

This is about damage limitation.

However good this defense is — and it’s one of the best ever — you’re going to give up yards and points to Peyton Manning.

Unlike his brother, he won’t sit in the pocket absorbing pressure before throwing a few ducks to be intercepted.

He’ll snap and throw, challenge the linebackers in coverage and find ways to eat away.

Field goals are not a bad thing. I don’t expect Manning to turn the ball over more than once.

This is going to be about disciplined, containment football and good tackling.

If Manning does attack underneath, make a tackle. When you get into those 3rd and short situations, run around and force an incompletion.

San Diego beat Denver in week 15 by putting a lid on the passing game — and in the process taking away the run.

If you can limit the damage, they’ll get no rhythm. Moreno ran for 19 yards on eight carries against the Chargers because Manning spent most of the game searching for his mojo.

Andre Caldwell and Montee Ball were Denver’s two leading receivers on the night.

If you can take away the big playmakers (Seattle has a shot with Sherman/Maxwell/Thurmond) and force Manning underneath and to his secondary targets — you can frustrate this offense.

San Diego held the Broncos to 20 points and scored 27 to win.

That will be the blue print for Seattle — and they’re capable of scoring more than 27.

A lot of people expect Seattle’s big-time edge rushers to dominate against a sloth-like Manning.

Unfortunately I can’t see the edge guys having much impact just because of the quick release. Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons will struggle to create pressure, let alone sack the quarterback. Michael Bennett has spent a lot of time outside recently and will probably suffer a similar fate.

We might even see some three-man rushes to put an extra body in coverage.

Instead this is a game for the interior lineman.

If Tony McDaniel, Brandon Mebane and Clinton McDonald win at the snap, they are the ones who can collapse the pocket and force pressure. This is absolutely crucial and the only way to stop Manning getting into the zone.

The balls going to be out before the edge guys can have an impact. The interior pass rushers have to win and get into Manning’s eye line.

They also have to be disciplined enough when Manning audibles into a run play — especially if he finds a rhythm early. They can’t press and lose their shape. They have to remain organised and avoid trying to do too much.

Those three players are pretty much the key to Seattle’s defense on Sunday.

McDaniel, Mebane and McDonald.

Plus Bennett when he lines up inside.

In fact it might be worth using Bennett predominantly from the interior to max out his impact.

The linebackers will have to play the best games of their short careers. This is a huge challenge for Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith.

They’re going to be challenged to tackle well and cover the best they can.

Walter Thurmond as the slot receiver is going to need to be at his sharpest to keep an eye on Wes Welker.

Essentially you can’t stop Welker getting a step and making a catch — but you can make it a 3-5 yard reception instead of a 15-20 YAC effort.

For all his attention this week I expect Sherman to spend most of his day running downfield with either Thomas or Decker on a decoy. I doubt Manning challenges him even once.

I don’t think the cornerbacks will rotate. Sherman will stick to the left and cover whoever is outside — I doubt he sticks with Thomas. They seem to trust Maxwell a lot.

The motto essentially needs to be field goals instead of touchdowns to give the offense a chance to win the game.

Play smart, tackle well and rush the interior.

Key players: Tony McDaniel (DT), Brandon Mebane (DT), Clinton McDonald (DT), Bobby Wagner (LB), K.J. Wright (LB), Walter Thurmond (CB)

Denver defense vs Seattle offense

I fully expect the Broncos to focus on stopping Marshawn Lynch.

It’s a no-brainer really.

Denver’s passing defense, at least from a personnel stand point, isn’t a strength. Not with their current injuries.

No Von Miller. No Derek Wolfe. No Chris Harris.

Their best way to challenge Russell Wilson is by taking away the run and forcing Seattle to pass.

The Seahawks have been dreadful on third downs recently. Putting them in lots of 3rd and +5 situations will be a real test.

They have to stack the box and try to stop Lynch. Objective number one.

The only problem is — Wilson has shown he can beat a superior defense using this game plan.

New Orleans in week 13 completely sold out to stop the run.

Lynch had 45 yards on the night — Wilson ran for 47 and passed for 310 more.

If Seattle wins this game, I could see a similar stat line for both.

But really, this is what Denver has to do. They have to try and stop the run, score regularly on offense and force the pass.

Wilson’s threat as a runner will be a concern, however.

In the AFC Championship game the Broncos defensive front consistently broke contain against Tom Brady.

They won’t get away with it against a much more mobile quarterback. There’s easy running yards to be had there.

If the Seahawks use the read option, Danny Trevathan might keep an eye on any QB keepers. This is another big area where the Broncos have to be ready.

During the 2013 season the only mobile quarterbacks they faced were Terrelle Pryor, Robert Griffin III and Michael Vick.

Pryor isn’t good enough, RGIII was mid-meltdown and Vick was on the brink of losing his job to Nick Foles.

Wilson is a much greater challenge — and the Broncos might be a little unprepared for a player who moves as well as Seattle’s quarterback.

I’ll be stunned if the Seahawks doesn’t utilise the read-option much more than they have in recent weeks.

It’s not just the running of Wilson either. How do Denver keep a check on Percy Harvin?

Last time he played the Broncos he had eight catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Admittedly this was pre-Manning in 2011 — although Manning won’t be playing defense on Sunday either.

Denver struggled to contain Kansas City’s Dexter McCluster —  he managed ten catches for 96 yards in two meetings during 2013.

When the Patriots beat the Broncos in the regular season, Julian Edelman had nine grabs for 110 yards and two scores.

They’ve struggled to cover smaller, quicker receivers. And neither Edelman or McCluster get close to Harvin’s explosive potential.

Jack Del Rio may well make stopping Lynch his priority. Finding a way to stop Harvin will be problem #2.

The national media have taken to Denver’s defense but this is a group missing its best pass rusher, best corner and a top interior lineman. It’s a team that had issues at safety anyway and is devoid of any real stars.

Even a guy like Terrance Knighton — I’m not sure you’d swap him for Seattle’s Mebane the way he’s been playing this year.

The Seahawks offense should have success here against what looks like a pretty overrated group.

For those who want to argue otherwise. Look at Denver’s key players on defense.

Then compare them to Lynch, Wilson, Harvin, Tate, Baldwin etc…

Key players: Terrance Knighton (DT), Sylvester Williams (DT), Danny Trevathan (LB)

Seattle’s offense vs Denver’s defense

The Super Bowl narrative is Seattle’s offense is mediocre and won’t be able to keep up with Manning.

A lot of people are missing the point.

Manning has to contend against the #1 defense in the NFL.

Seattle is coming up against the worst defense they’ve faced since week 11 (Minnesota).

In a point scoring exercise against identical defenses, Denver would come out on top.

But they aren’t facing identical defenses in the Super Bowl.

Let’s look at the DVOA marks for all four units:

Denver’s offense (#1) vs Seattle’s defense (#1)

Seattle’s offense (#7) vs Denver’s defense (#15)

There’s a clear advantage to Seattle’s offense there.

The kind of advantage Denver cannot expect against the NFL’s top defense.

My prediction is the Broncos will have success against Lynch and the running game because they’ll sell out to stop it.

But Wilson will also be able to run for 45-60 yards and will make a few big plays in the passing game too.

Harvin’s return is a huge positive. I hope Seattle works to protect him — avoiding throwing downfield too often where he becomes a big-hit target and instead using him as a YAC threat.

I think we’ll see sweeps, designed runs and some quick screens and throws into the flat. Anything to get the ball in his hands quickly so he’s running at defenders.

The receivers should have success competing against this secondary. Zach Miller might act mostly as a luxury extra blocker and a safety valve.

I’m expecting Luke Willson to make his customary early play on offense. Why break with tradition?

Overall this unit will make plays, just like they have all year. And if Denver can’t stop the run, it could be a very fruitful and balanced day for this offense.

It’s absolutely vital they have a good day on third down. This has been an area of struggle for the Seahawks — even against San Francisco they were only 5/14.

They also have to improve in the red zone. This has been a surprising issue this season.

Wilson is the key and could be in line to complete his legacy with a MVP performance. Even if Terrance Knighton collapses the pocket — without Von Miller there’s very little edge speed to stop him moving around and making plays downfield.

This is the type of opponent, like Atlanta, where Wilson can be at his creative best.

He’s struggled mostly when teams like the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers can bring constant pressure from both sides with a four or five man rush. He gets flustered, doesn’t know whether to escape or sit and usually gets sacked.

Here it’s unlikely he’ll face much edge pressure and if the interior has an impact, he can just scramble away from danger.

For me the stars are aligning for Wilson to have a big day.

Yet ultimately the Seahawks have a lot of good players on offense. I’m not sure many people realise how highly the offense ranked in DVOA.

They’ll surprise a few people on Sunday.

Key players: Russell Wilson (QB), Percy Harvin (WR), Doug Baldwin (WR), Golden Tate (WR), Jermaine Kearse (WR)


  1. Colin

    Terrific write up. I think Denver’s offensive line is more technician than mauler, and if they are forced to throw the ball we could really eat them up from the interior. I do hope we see Irvin in the ‘spinner’ role a little bit on some 5 man pressures and turn him loose from the edge. It’s not popular to blitz Manning, but it does have to be done from time to time to keep them honest.

    I think Seattle could have a field day passing the football. We’ve seen Seattle’s performance’s against milk toast defensive line play- they’ve destroyed them. Denver is already hurting in the secondary. It’s time to unleash the offense.

    My biggest fear is, offensively, we call the game like we have for the last month, which has been borderline ‘play not to lose’. We can’t do that Sunday. The focus of the offense must be to maintain that ball and score TD’s everytime we hit the red zone.

    Russell Wilson has to pull the trigger on throws he’s not made for the last month. He’s missed out on too many easy completions. We need him to get back on track. He has to be money on Sunday. Seattle can’t afford another 100 yard passing day. The offense needs to gain at least 400 yards- and I think they will do just that.

    • mike

      AMEN! Russell Wilson needs to step up and play to win. If he does he can shine and he must lead an aggressive offense. He needs to take chances and throw the ball, and run it, scramble and make plays like he does. Like Joe Montana, Wilson must absolutely see the win and drill his team in to the endzone every drive. The Seahawks defense may not be good enough against Denver if their offense is not at their best; and Wilson must lead this by intention and example. If he does, then the Seahawks are complete as true champions. I see the only hold back for the Seahawks being true champions is Wilson’s commitment to giving it his all.

      • phil

        Mike – you question RW’s commitment? I never thought I would read that from a Seahawks fan.

  2. CC

    Obviously, the key to slowing down PM is to get him off his rhythm. The Seahawks will have to do a really good combo of getting the receivers off their lines and mark and by pressure/hurries by the pass rush. There is a reason that PM hasn’t been sacked much, he throws the ball away. They will have to get pressure up the gut and if they do that, I like our chances. The offense is so underrated right now. I like the way they came out against SF and as good as Denver’s D is – they are no SF. We score 23 points against SF and our offense is struggling – Denver scores 23 and they are on fire. Which is true? Probably neither. I expect this team to play great and shock everyone except the 12s.

    • OakHarborHawk

      I really hope Sherman can get an INT on a throwaway like last year against the Cardinals.

      Got to agree though that we got to get Manning of of his rhythm. The key to me will be slowing down how fast he can release the ball. If we can just make him hold for another second we can get guys in his face, and increase his mistakes. Even if he just throws it away that’s as good as a sack for me.

      Going to be seeing our guys play a lot of nickel as well. I think Bam Bam Kam is going to be huge for us in this game. He’s starting to garner more praise outside of Seattle this season and I read a great article where Ronnie Lott was comparing him to Easley and saying he may wind up as one of the best SS of all time. He’s really improved his coverage and ball skills this season and already is a beast against the run and lays down the boom.

      • Jarhead

        If that’s true, that is some whopping big praise. Kenny Easley is the hardest hitter that has ever played in Seattle but few remember. I see a lot of fantastic plays from Chancellor, and he seems to dominate an entire third of the field. It’s a true throwback where you can watch a defensive back nowadays that can generate true fear. Kenny Easley definitely did that, Mel Blount, Jack Tatum- I get the sense that Chancellor has that similar effect on opposing offenses. True fear of him

  3. bigDhawk

    Tremendous analysis. As the DVOA comparison suggested, I agree this will come down to Seattle’s defense being a step or two better than Denver’s defense, Seattle’s defense vs Denver’s offense being a wash. A couple questions:

    – How do you see the Seattle handling their usual defensive substitutions vs Denver’s no huddle offense?

    – Do you think will be able to get enough subs in after incompletions to keep our DL fresh, or do you see us rolling with more or less a single, middle-of-the-road, nickel-ish package all game with no Red Bryant and no NASCAR looks?

    – If the no huddle effectively prevents us from making substitutions, do you see fatigue becoming a factor for our DL in the second half?

    These are the questions that have me most concerned about our defense matching up with Denver’s offense.

    • bigDhawk

      EDIT: Seattle’s OFFENSE being a step or two better than Denver’s defense…

    • Rob Staton

      1. I think the no huddle could be an issue — and it’s why we might see some three man rushes. I don’t think we’ll see Big Red as much as we’re used to seeing. They’ll have to try and avoid too many long drives in the no huddle.

      2. I think you’re probably right. A lot more nickel. Sub when you can. I think we’ll only see nascar looks if they can sub and it’s third and long. They might be tactical with the timeouts for situations like that.

      3. In a word — yes. But I do think they’ll get a chance to sub.

  4. AlaskaHawk

    Rob I enjoyed your analysis. Peyton Manning has been on fire lately and that makes Denver a worthy opponent. I think we will wear the Denver offense down in the first half. Hard line play and hard hits in the secondary. By the second half the Denver receivers won’t want to catch the ball anymore, at least not with our safeties barreling down on them.

    Like CC said, we got 23 points with a struggling offense. We can do much better when RW starts hitting receivers. Really if he even stops fumbling on the 15 yard line it will be an improvement. I’m hoping Harvin does some kick returns and catches a couple long passes. Lets go Hawks!

    • OakHarborHawk

      I’d lay down money on Harvin getting a TD on a kick return this game. Denver is decent on returning the ball on specials teams, but they are down right awful on coverage on special teams. I hope Golden Tate goes back to be fearless as well on punt returns. He’s been fair catching and letting some balls go over his head that we know he can return for at least five to ten yards lately.

    • Rob Staton

      Wilson is making most of the throws he’s being asked to make in fairness. New Orleans was a rough outing at times, but the conditions weren’t conducive to passing.

      I’m not in the least bit concerned about his play. Worst defense they’re facing since week 11 and he was rolling back then.

  5. Brian

    That was awesome, Rob!! Incredible! You freaked me out over the Denver Offense vs the Seattle Defense.

    I remember seeing a defensive play where Michael Bennet was lined up on the center and blew by the Olineman but I haven’t seen that since. Maybe the Hawks will line him up in front of the center.

  6. Austin

    Great article!

    I don’t think we rush three and drop 8…I just think pressure on Manning is too important. I also think we can disrupt the short passing game with our underneath coverage. They will have a hard time sustaining drives and finishing drives drives with TD’s. I think we will hold them to low 20’s meaning it will be on the offense to score 24-27 to win which they are obviously capable of.

    People are wildly underestimating our offense and looking forward to watching Wilson win an MVP and proving the doubters wrong.

    • Miles

      I think it depends what Peyton does during the game. If he’s snapping and throwing consistently, why rush more than three or four? You aren’t getting to the QB on a snap and throw. However if he does start taking time in the pocket, we could start getting coverage sacks if Dan Quinn is ready with some blitz packages. When it comes to the defense, you just have to do what you’ve been doing all season, and that’s trusting LOB to make plays and our aggressive D-Line to force those plays.

      • phil

        Miles – I agree. I think we will see some of our d linemen dropping into coverage from time to time. I also think that pass delections from the d linemen will be critical to getting turnovers.

  7. A. Campbell

    This is the best analysis of the game I’ve read yet. And I’ve read a LOT.

  8. Stuart

    Good analysis Rob, Bevell hopefully is thinking the same way especially regarding Harvin. I also like how John Clayton talks about properly saving/using the Harvin bullets. With Harvin we don’t know how long he will last so if we have him for 20 plays only, make the best of those 20 plays. Just as a decoy Harvin could really open up things in our passing game for our other receivers.

    I figure Denver will have 10- Offensive possessions. Lets say our D stops them cold 50% of the time (5 possessions), that still 5 possessions that Denver will likely score, 3 FG’s (9 pts) and 2 TD’s (14), that makes 23 total points for Denver. Denver scores 23 points.

    Denver has not faced a D that is even close to ours all year. We will disrupt Mannings timing and his receivers will develop a case of alligator arms as the game progresses.

    You all make great points and I love to read all your thoughts and opinions.

    Go Hawks!

  9. AndrewP

    Anyone remember in Super Bowl XXV when Parcells said screw it, and ran a 2-man front against the Bills attack? Would Pete and Quinn dare..? Well, if anyone would have the stones to do it, it’d be those two.

  10. Barry

    I’m short on time so right now I’ll just say the 9ers stacked the box against lynch too. I see the 9ers with a much better D then the Broncos to say the least.

    • Rugby Lock

      Agreed. Those two defenses shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath…

  11. dave crockett

    I mostly agree about Denver’s offensive game plan, Rob. I anticipate seeing a similar approach to what New England did in Seattle in 2012 in the U Mad Bro? game. I think Denver will look to challenge deep but it will come off of the short passing game to the WRs and to the TEs vs. LB coverage. I think Denver will use its TEs similar to the way NE used Gronk and Hernandez.

    To my mind, the philosophical key is that Seattle’s defense wants the same thing Manning wants. They want the ball out of his hands quickly. So there’s no sense wasting time and effort trying to fool him. Declare fairly early (but not too early). Invite him to get rid of it in the 1- 1.7 second range. (It’s the 2-3 second range where Manning is his most scary.) Make the game about whether Denver receivers can continue making plays, and less about whether Peyton Manning can solve complex equations at the line of scrimmage.

    Going back to that NE game, that’s what happened over time in that game. Seattle didn’t confuse Brady so much as slowly take away his options with execution. The stuff that was working early for NE – slants and screens to Welker, TEs up the seam – stopped working. The LOB nearly killed Wes Welker after he was awesome early. Gronk got hurt and NE went to more 3 WR looks. And the pass rushers steadily re-set the line of scrimmage closer to Brady’s lap.
    Offensively, Denver’s defense is tailor-made for Percy Harvin, Baldwin, and Tate. John Fox, in his heart of hearts is a cover-2 guy. I could see him dropping eight just to confuse Wilson. That’s just free yards to a QB that can run. I suspect Fox and Del Rio will be willing to live with that as long as they can coax him to do something early rather than hold the ball.

  12. Mylegacy

    The Beast – unleash the Beast. Let Havin go in motion a lot and create moments of indecision in the defense. BUT – in the end lets use these defensive lapses by Denver to feed DaBeast. As far as Pot Roast (or Fried Chicken or whatever his name is) being a threat to Russell – right – I’d like to see some Teletubby trying to chase down a Cheetah.

    IF Manning leads the Bronco’s to a victory – then kudos to him – he’ll have had to earn it like no other win he’s had this season. Personally, I think Manning will not be able to dominate our defense and Russell will prove to be the “unexpected” (by non-Hawks fans) difference in a comprehensive Seahawks win.

    • CC

      Agreed – they haven’t faced RW who scrambles with a purpose. And if Manning beats us – all you can do is say well done. Even Sherm said that – hey if you get beat by the #1 offense, well done, but if you beat the # 1 offense well…

  13. Austin

    Stuart Seattle usually holds teams to 60% of their season scoring output which would put them right around the number you give them. I think we win 27-23.

    • MarkinSeattle

      Austin, yes we do hold opposing teams to 58%. But what is interesting, is that if you narrow it down to teams that finished with a record of 7-9 or better, we hold those teams to 50% of their normal scoring average. Our D played much better against top teams and really appeared to look past the bad teams like Tampa, Minn, Jax, etc.

  14. Michael (CLT)

    I am oddly comfortable with this matchup. I would expect Seattle to play tight man with the linebackers in a five yard zone. Kam would palm man up on the TE, with Earl deep.

    There will be enough wind and cold to effect passing. The wobblers Manning threw against New England May wobble more. The inside crossing routes will be tightly contested. No room for error.

    There will be plenty of over the top opportunities but Maning will have to prove he can get it there.

    If this game is tied at half, I will expect a second half blow out. From either team. Who adjusts best wins.

  15. Robert

    I hope McDonald and Bennett force PM to throw fast. Kam and LB’s will deal out the pain. WT3 slows down WW. 80 yards and a TD x 4 vs our D??? Not gonna happen. PH plays and distractions are big factors…RW goes off 30-23!

  16. John

    I think the key to this game is Seattle executing the scramble drill. With the exception of the Giants, every team that has limited Wilson over the last few weeks has played him more than once. It takes incredibly disciplined play by your defense to beat Wilson and keep him from scrambling, and I just don’t think Denver is prepared for that situation. I also don’t think they have the overall talent to limit our receivers when Wilson extends the play.

    I think the Denver defense is good, and playing much better in the playoffs and I think it’s easy to sell them short. I just don’t see them covering every body if Wilson gets out of the pocket.

  17. Ben2

    I really want to see the Hawks be loose on offense. What do I mean by loose? Think the Falcons game last year. In the 1st half the offense played tight and “not to lose.” In the 2nd half they let it all hang out, played fast, Russell seemed to have more leeway to make plays….and we almost had one of the greatest comebacks of all time. We need to see the latter hawks offense.

  18. Cysco

    Another big goal should be having long offensive drives. The less time PM is on the field, the less points they can score. I also want Manning sitting on his frozen butt for 5-10mins before he takes the field every time.

    The worst thing we can do is give up a long denver drive then go 3 and out on offense.

    Keep the defense fresh and force Manning to sit for a while.

    I believe if we control the time of possession battle, we win.

  19. Rock

    Nice write up, Rob!

    I think a key to this game is stopping Moreno. We can deal with PM throwing short passes. Some will be dropped, some intercepted or batted away. Our guys can defend his guys. When he hands off we have to have guys there to contain Moreno. We cannot allow them to do both. If you are correct, PM’s two best WR’s are taken out of their offense by our CB’s, leaving only the lesser receivers. If we shut down Moreno like we did with Gore we will win.

  20. Emperor_MA

    I think a big key to the game is Kam Chancellor. I fully expect him to knock the living hell out of Welker and Julius Thomas. He may even put one of them out of the game. He will be on a mission to take away the middle of the field and he will do it not with blanket coverage, but by intimidation and force. Once we have Manning trying to pass the ball to the outside, then our defense is in total charge.

    I know there are a ton of Russell Wilson fans here and I am, too. However, I think a better scenario for a Seahawks win is either Marshawn Lynch being MVP (which means he has run for about 125 yards and scored two TDs) or someone like Richard Sherman capitalizing on the above scenario and getting a couple of picks or even a pick-six.

    This team has proven time and again that to win, they only need Russell Wilson to be good (not great) and to take care of the ball. We win with defense and Marshawn Lynch and I see Sunday being no different.

  21. adog

    I don’t see a close game here for a few reasons. One, Seattle defense will create turnovers and the Seattle offense will not turn the ball over. Two, Seattle will dominate on special teams…it might be hard to kick the ball over the head of Harvin in New York. Three, did i mention special teams dominance?

  22. Kenny Sloth

    This could be a blowout win for us. I don’t think anyone outside of PM and the four horsemen are ready. They’ve faced AFC players all year.

  23. Stuart

    Great insights from all of you! I look forward to seeing more as the game draws closer.

  24. Dave

    Only reason I like Big Red out there is he has a knack for getting his hands up and batting balls down. Mebane and Red or Bennett need to play tall and be ready for those quick slants and crossing routes. Tip one or two of those and good things will happen.

    If Big Red isn’t in then I do like Avril, Bennett, Mebane and Clem. Avril and Clem can drop into coverage if a LB gets sent and Bennett and Mebane are such forces in the middle.

  25. JW

    very nice write up, Rob.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with YAC and tackling being keys. This defense is built on not surrendering the big plays, and forcing long, methodical drives on the part of the defense- then using their length advantage as the field shortens. If the Hawks D can limit the 20 yard plus plays, and tighten the screws in the redzone, hawks will win. But missing tackles on those short screens leading to a few 20+ yard plays and TDs, will tilt the odds in Denver’s favor.

    The matchup is exceedingly compelling not just because it’s the Seahawks, but as an observer of football because the two teams strengths play into each other to a large degree. Manning’s offense plays right into Carroll’s defensive design. It is just a matter of who plays a better game.

  26. AlaskaHawk

    My key to the game on:
    defense is to check the receivers at the line of scrimmage, try to get a body on them to throw off the route timing.

    Offense try not to have any turnovers, and they should use the heavy formation early.

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