The Seattle Seahawks’ 2013 season has been quite the Cinderella story, and after years of underdog status, they’re finally on top again. And make no mistake, Denver fans: this team can actually win the Super Bowl.
The key to that victory is unquestionably the team’s defense. Players like Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas know how to block opponents and slow down an offense, and even if you hate to agree with him, Richard Sherman really is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. The Seahawks also lead the league in interceptions, which means they can find even the slightest vulnerabilities in Manning’s passes.
But to really get a sense of Seattle’s defensive capability, it’s worth looking at how they fared against strong offenses this season. The New Orleans Saints, for example, had one of the best, and Drew Brees is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks in the league. However, Seattle had no trouble picking them apart. While New Orleans isn’t a direct counterpart for Denver, these games paint a good picture of what Seattle’s defense can do against more daunting teams.
The Seahawks also have some offensive weapons that will give them an added advantage. The first is Marshawn Lynch. He knows how to find holes on the field and has the tendency to weave his way through most defensive lines. The Broncos can bet that Lynch will have the ball for a good chunk of the game, but they won’t be able to foresee where he goes with it.
Russell Wilson is also an asset, though usually a forgotten one. He makes smart plays and has a decent arm, but above anything else, that guy can run. This means the Seattle offense has several plausible options, and this will continue to provide an element of surprise that works to their advantage. Just as you think Lynch might run the ball again, Wilson himself will take off with it.
It’s also worth noting that the team’s kicker, Steven Hauschka, has only missed two of his 35 field goal attempts this season. If the Seahawks can’t clinch the touchdown on a given drive, there’s a good chance they’ll make the field goal and continue racking up points that way. And as any football fan knows, sometimes those three points can make or break a game.