By James Lumalu
Super Bowl XLVIII is finally upon us, and the Seattle Seahawks are hoping this is their chance to finally bring an NFL Championship to the Emerald City.
The Seahawks franchise has been in existence for 38 years, but with only one other Super Bowl appearance (a loss in Super Bowl XL). Is this Seattle’s year, or will Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos cut those dreams short?
Since the Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events yearly, it makes sense that Twitter would be the place to go for news leading up to the game.
One of the big storylines is the Seahawks’ vaunted defense squaring off against the league’s best offense.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com broke down how impressive the Seahawks defense was this season in his article entitled, “A Tale of Two Cities.”
Seattle allowed a league-low 231 points this year, with opposing teams scoring just 14.4 points per game against Richard Sherman & Co. That’s a good number any year, but it looks even better in the context of the highest-scoring season in league history; Seattle sliced nine points per game off the average offense’s output this year. It led the league in defensive DVOA, Simple Rating System, and AdvancedNFLStats‘s Team Efficiency.
Pressuring Manning will be one of the main keys for Seattle. The New England Patriots were unable to generate any pressure on Manning in the AFC Championship Game—zero sacks or quarterback hits in the loss.
Luckily, pressuring the quarterback is one of the Seahawks’ many strong suits.
And, of course, you can’t talk about the Seahawks defense without bringing up Richard Sherman.
Sherman will be involved in one of the most intriguing matchups against Broncos’ receiver Demaryius Thomas.
When asked about Thomas, Sherman had nothing but praise, per NESN:
“I definitely think he’s in the top five,” Sherman said after arriving in New Jersey for the Super Bowl on Sunday. “He’s put together a heck of a year and done everything in his power to put himself in that conversation. He’s made the big catches. He’s made a lot of runs after the catch and turned small plays into huge plays. I think that he’s a great receiver, and he’s a great competitor. It’s going to be a fun matchup between both of us, because we’re both intense competitors and good friends.
Thomas and Manning will have their hands full against Sherman as he ranks first among all cornerbacks in opposing passer rating at 47.3, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
A non-personnel storyline to watch out for on Super Bowl Sunday will be the weather.
It’s been well documented that Peyton Manning struggles in cold weather, and statistics show that is not a myth. Per Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, Manning is 8-13 in games in which the game temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Weather.com’s Super Bowl forecast currently predicts a daytime temperature in the high 30s, decreasing into the low 20s at night (with fair conditions).
The fact that the game is not in a dome is enough of an advantage for the Seahawks, but should the weather deteriorate further (i.e., snow or rain), it may decidedly swing the game in their favor.
Rarely do the two best teams in the league make it to the Super Bowl, but the stars aligned for Super Bowl XLVIII.
This game has it all in terms of on-field matchups, characters (Richard Sherman) who captivate an audience and narratives (Manning versus the elements).
Should the weather stand as forecasted, the cool temperatures will be accompanied with fair conditions for Manning’s offense to work in.
We know the Seahawks defense will show up, but the real question might be whether their offense can put up enough points if needed.
Read more here: Bleacher Report