Even though the defensive line has been known to win championships, this year’s Super Bowl win may be credited to the offensive line.
For the past couple of years, NFL teams have been racking up more yards and points than ever before as teams move away from the traditional “ground and pound” style of offense in favor of the Spread and West Coast schemes.
This Sunday, Feb. 2, the Seattle Seahawks will have the chance to prove the old saying as their No. 1 defense goes head-to-head against the No. 1 offense of the Denver Broncos at MetLife stadium in Super Bowl XVIII.
This is the fifth Super Bowl since the AFL-NFL merger in which the No. 1 scoring offense has been matched up against the No. 1 scoring defense. So far, the defenses have been bringing home the Lombardi trophy, with wins by the 1990 Giants, ’84 49ers and ’78 Steelers. Only the 1989 49ers, led by Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (and boasting the No. 3 defense themselves), have beaten the trend, besting the Broncos 55-10.
But then there’s Peyton Manning.
Simply put, the man is on fire. He broke the two biggest league passing records in his 2013 campaign, throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with a QB rating of 115.1.
Denver scored 606 points in its 16 regular-season games; coming in at a far-off second is Chicago’s offense, at 445 points.
What makes the Broncos so dangerous is that their offense is the complete package. Take Manning out of the equation and you’ve got Knowshon Moreno with over 1500 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs, and the best receiving core in the NFL, consisting of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas.
I don’t care if Richard Sherman is the best corner in the NFL, he can only cover one guy, and whoever it turns out to be (I’m guessing either Decker or Demaryius) will not be as “sorry a receiver” as Michael Crabtree, to put it in Sherman’s own words.
The closest comparison Seattle can draw from in prepping for what they’ll see on Sunday lies in the New Orleans offense. Twice this season, the Seahawks held Drew Brees to under 25 completions and allowed only one touchdown in each of their two matchups. That said, New Orleans’ offense, talented as it was did not even come close to matching the Broncos point-for-point during the regular season.
Seattle actually faced the three worst offenses (Tampa Bay, Houston and Jacksonville) during the regular season this year (along with a plethora of average offenses). Opposing offenses did manage to find success running on the Seahawks, who allowed 100 or more yards on the ground 11 times and finished behind six other defenses in overall rushing yards allowed.
But on Sunday, the ball will be in Manning’s hands. I’ll be the first person to tell you that the statistics don’t matter and that the worst team in the NFL can beat the best on any given Sunday. While I love watching a defensive like line Seattle’s play ball; in this league, a championship caliber team is built from the offense out.
My prediction for Sunday will be Denver 31, Seattle 27. And for the record, I hope Peyton Manning throws the game-winning touchdown pass right over Richard Sherman’s head.