By Erika Greco
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will meet in East Rutherford, New Jersey this Sunday to showdown for the Super Bowl XLVIII championship. They both proved to be the best in the regular season when they tied for the league lead with 13 wins and continued to show their epic strength in playoffs.
While the two teams dominate the NFL, the routes that they’ve taken to get to the top of the league have been sustained by opposite strengths. The game will feature the league’s top defense (Seattle) along with one of the most dominating offense in league history (Denver).
Seattle had the NFL’s top defense, leading the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game (273.6), fewest points allowed (231), and most takeaways (39). The defensive line featured Defensive Tackle Clinton McDonald with 5.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and an interception; linebacker Bobby Wagner with 120 combined tackles, 5 sacks and two interceptions; as well as defensive ends Michael Bennett and Clint Avril both with 8 sacks.
The best aspect of the defense came from the extremely confident, hard-hitting secondary Richard Sherman also known as Legion of Boom, who led the NFL in interceptions (8, with 125 return yards), along with free safety Earl Thomas (5 interceptions, 105 tackles, 2 forced fumbles).
The Broncos had the best offense in the NFL, leading the league in points scored (606, the highest total in NFL history) and yards gained (7,313). The offense was led by 16-year veteran quarterback Peyton Manning, who came back this year with a vengeance after a disappointing loss in the divisional round of playoffs the year prior (1st year with Denver). His 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdown completions both set new NFL records. His 450 completions were the second highest total in NFL history, and his 115.1 passer rating ranked second in the league.
Denver’s leading pass-catcher was Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas, who caught 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. But the strength of Denver’s offense didn’t stop there. The offense dominated with wide-receiver Eric Decker with 97 receptions, 1,288 yards, and 11 touchdowns; wide-receiver/return specialist Wes Welker with 73 receptions, 778 yards, and 10 touchdowns; and Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas with 65 receptions, 788 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
This year’s super bowl is an extremely tough match up, and with both dominating the field on opposite spectrums, it will be hard to determine which team will come out on top. Peyton Manning making 11 pro bowls, winning four NFL MVP awards, and super bowl XLI championship ring will be a difficult competitor for second year quarterback Russell Wilson. It is sure to be an exciting game, tune in Sunday, February 2nd at 6:25 PM on Fox.