Last year posted "My (attempt at an unbiased) Comparison of the Super Bowl Teams" it was easy to write because one team is my favorite team and the other is a local team so I know both teams well. The toughest part was not giving my favorite team all the credit. I think I did a decent job though. I didn't do a prediction of the score or the winner because I didn't want to jinx my team. I'll add a prediction for the score, MVP possibilities, and situational predictions to this one.
Honestly its great that I waited until the last minute to do this, it has helped my research with the two teams and helped for this to be unbiased by allowing the sting of the NFCC loss wear off.
This is an awesome matchup! Honestly its the best possible Super Bowl matchup and provides the best story lines of the possible matchups two weeks ago this time. The Best Offense (ever) facing off against the Best Defense. This has happened 4 times before this in Super Bowl history. The last time it happened it was the Giants vs the Bills and the Giants defense won the battle. Actually out of the 4 times the only time that the league leading offense beat the defensive juggernaut was in Super Bowl 24 when the 49ers beat the Broncos 55 - 10. Looking at that history the Seahawks have the advantage here, its always been stated, "Defense Wins Championships". I think what makes this different is what a friend of mine, +Jeremy Dickson brought up yesterday. The Broncos aren't only the Best Offensive of the year, they are "the Best Offense Ever". According to NFL.com the Seahawks are "nowhere close to being one of the top defenses in history", but I wouldn't let that take anything away from their effectiveness in my book. So with that said a slight advantage goes to the Broncos, I think Vegas got it right by only giving the Broncos a 2 point advantage. Ok so lets get to the ratings, much like last year I will use 1-5 ratings with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst.
Quarterback: Broncos 5, Seahawks 4. Peyton Manning is clearly the greatest QB currently playing stats wise he gets a lot of help from his WRs as well. He's has been known to have struggles in the post season, but the Super Bowl he did win as a Colt was also against a really good defense. Russell Wilson has a lot of upside and doesn't really get forced to use his ability much due to a great RB in front of him and a great Defense helping him out as all. Wilson appears to currently be the best QB of his draft class stats and wins wise. A debatable veteran best verses a possible best of the young QBs.
Running Backs: Broncos 4, Seahawks 5. I like Knowshon and Montee Ball has potential as long he can hold on to the ball. Moreno will struggle as an offensive focus, but if Peyton gets rolling and can use some play action or check down passes the Denver Backs can get moving. Then its Marshawn Lynch aka Beast Mode! Probably one of the hardest running players I've seen in a long time. Even against a good defense he never stops running hard and at some point the defenses get tired but he never seems to. He will definitely be a difference maker in this game is the Seahawks win.
Wide Receivers: Broncos 5, Seahawks 4. The Broncos are STACKED! Even if Demaryius and Welker are shut down, Eric Decker has been great play makers. Then there is Caldwell who has been able to make plays when called upon. For the Seahawks Percy Harvin is the best threat but he has struggled with staying healthy. If he can play the whole game he will be a difference maker. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin don't have big names but they have come up big in several games this year.
Tight Ends: Broncos 4.5, Seahawks 3. Julian Thomas has been a spectacular this season, with Tamme and Dressen as his backups who are also capable play makers the Broncos are STACKED at TE as well. Zack Miller isn't a slouch, when his number is called he makes catches. He just hasn't been called upon as much as a WR as the others listed above.
Offensive Line: Broncos 4, Seahawks 4. The Broncos OLine have been able to protect Peyton for the most part and thanks to Peyton's dominance they have also been able to open some lanes for the run. The Seahawks OLine haven't protected Wilson well but his allusiveness has proven helpful for him. They have however assisted well in supporting their rushing attack.
Defensive Line: Broncos 4, Seahawks 4.5. I'm giving the edge to Seattle here, they have been able to get to the QBs and stop the Rush much more effectively than the Broncos. The Broncos have gotten better at the right time, earlier this year I probably would've given them a 3 or 3.5
Linebackers: Broncos 3.5, Seahawks 4. I'll admit, I'm not really aware of the Linebacker core for these teams, so just based on a stat comparison the Seahawks LBs have been more effective all year more tackles and INTs.
Corner Backs: Broncos 3.5, Seahawks 4.5. Cromartie, Jammer, and Champ Bailey are actually a good group of Corners but they have given up some yards and big plays this year. The obviously haven't been as Richard Sherman and Maxwell at shutting down WRs or making big plays. Maxwell has stepped up well in the absence of Browner. With Browner, I'd probably give the Seahawks CBs a 5.
Safeties: Broncos 4, Seahawks 5. The Broncos safeties have been able to break up plays, get INTs, and break up plays for the most part this season, but again they don't really compare to the other half of the Legion of Boom. Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas have been been playing lights out defense. Coverage, INTs, and Route Disruption have all been excellent this season.
Kickers: Broncos 4.5, Seahawks 4. Prater has been very effective from short and long distances all season, I'm giving him the edge because he has always been a great distance kicker and adding the record long 63 yarder to his stats helps with confidence if they need to call upon him on 4th down. Hauschka is also very effective, his longest just happens to be 10 yards shorter than Prater. If the distance is in the 50 yard range, Seattle may be more likely to go for it or punt depending on the score.
Special Teams: Broncos 4.5, Seahawks 4. It's tough to compare these two, only because Seattle hasn't given up nearly as much points and haven't had to do as many returns as the Broncos. Trindon Holiday has proven himself to be a dangerous returner throughout the season for the Broncos. If he breaks one for a return that would definitely give the Broncos a huge advantage in this game. Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have been effective at getting the Seahawks good field position throughout the season and all 3 have explosive speed if they can get in the open field.
My prediction for the final score is 28-24 Broncos inch pass the Seahawks for Peyton Manning's 2nd Super Bowl victory. Broncos seems to be the story book team of destiny, but then again so did the Patriots the year they had Randy Moss and created the records that Peyton broke this year. I do think Peyton has the advantage over the great defense of the Seahawks just based on his depth of receivers, his ability to change to play at the line based on the looks of the defense, and his decision making ability.
The players on both sides that I'm rooting for and would love to see get a ring are Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Knowshon Moreno, Champ Bailey, Cliff Avril and Earl Thomas III.
Possible MVP Candidates: If the Seahawks win Marshawn Lynch or Earl Thomas (Richard Sherman is an option too but I don't think Peyton will throw at him much). If the Broncos win Peyton Manning, I don't think they will give the MVP to anyone else even if the rush and defense are effective.