First of all, I’d like you all to know how grateful I am that this game isn’t in Seattle so I don’t have to hear incessantly about how wonderful the twelfth man is. It’s a sham and annoys me to no end. They ripped that gimmick off of Texas A&M, and it’s a shitty gimmick to begin with. The Seahawks are good because they have a good team. Not because the CEO of Microsoft raises a flag and tells everyone how great they are. Eagle fans get a bad rap, but Seattle fans are bad in a different way: they think they’re just so darn special and wonderful. Whereas an Eagle, Jet, Raider or Brown fan will have a lot of passion and get chastised for it, Seattle gets their G Rated passion roundly applauded basically because their stadium was built well acoustically. Good fans? Of course. But get over yourselves.
I hope the FIGHT AND WIN! guy reads what I just wrote and goes apoplectic.
Anyway, the actual game.
Peyton Manning has trouble against certain types of teams in the playoffs. If you’ll recall, he got thrashed so badly versus the Patriots in the first half of the 2000s that the rules of the game were changed. Marvin Harrison, Brandon Stokley and the gang had a rough time getting off the line against Ty Law and co., getting chipped and pressed at the line, throwing off the timing of Peyton’s normally precise passes. He lobbied publicly for stricter illegal contact, defensive holding and pass interference rules. And he succeeded.
The watered down, sissified rules you see each Sunday are a direct result Bill Polian and Peyton Manning crying like babies because they got punched in the mouth by a physical defense. Every time you see a team bailed on out third and long because a linebacker laid his hands on a player 6 yards downfield, or when a game changing interception is brought back because a cornerback on the opposite side of the field breathed on a wide receiver, make sure you thank Mr. Manning.
So we know the one thing that frustrates him: physical coverage. And the Seahawks do this better than anyone. Pete Carrol’s hybrid base cover 3 defense with press man elements absolutely stifled and steamrolled every obstacle they encountered this year. They will keep this game lower scoring than the Broncos would like.
This is not to say this game is going to be a Seahawks blowout. On the opposite side of the ball, it may get ugly for Seattle if Russell Wilson has another one of his thoroughly lackluster performances. Not since Tim Tebow have I seen the media gloss over such poor quarterback play in victory. To put it bluntly, if he doesn’t pull his head out of his hindquarters, the Seahawks will not win this game.
Some may say that his performance is inconsequential as long as Marshawn Lynch plays his game. This would be incorrect. Terrance Knighton, AKA “Pot Roast,” has turned the Broncos run defense from a sieve to a brick wall. Watch out for this portly fellow, whose play reminds me of a young Sam Adams (the Seahawk/Raven, not the beer). If Russell doesn’t connect on a few passes early to keep the defense honest, this could be a long day for those in the Pacific Northwest.
There’s always a chance that Lynch could bust out anyway. He seems to have a habit of breaking a long run to seal important games. But this usually happens when the Seahawks have the lead; the opponent stacks the box, so when he gets past the linebackers, there’s either a single safety or nobody between him and the end zone. The problem is, to reiterate, this happens when they’re winning or when it’s close. If the Broncos go up early, they are most likely going to win this game, if only because the Seahawks built their team to play with a lead. Run the ball, force turnovers on defense when you’re expecting pass- it’s the ball control manifesto.
And I think that’s going to happen. I like the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl, frustrating Peyton and his receivers, and popping one or two long runs to finish it late. I remember Tracy Porter. I remember losses to the Jets and Patriots as favorites with stacked teams. Peyton has done this to us before. If he plays like he’s capable of, sure, the Broncos can win. But with Peyton, the bigger the game, the bigger the collapse.
Seattle 24, Denver 20.