It’s been 35 years since the city of Seattle has enjoyed a major professional sports championship. The now-defunct Seattle Supersonics own the only such title in the city’s sports history. The Seattle Seahawks have gone 37 straight seasons without winning a Super Bowl. A team east of the Pacific Time Zone has won 18 straight Super Bowls. No starting quarterback under 6-feet tall has ever won a Super Bowl.
That’s all about to change.
The Seattle Seahawks will have some problems defending Peyton Manning, who will find ways to move the chains and score some points. The Denver Broncos will have some success slowing Marshawn Lynch. But Russell Wilson will be able to throw the ball effectively, Percy Harvin will be a significant factor and the relentless Seahawks defense will create enough havoc to thwart Manning’s attempt to win his second Super Bowl.
The Lomabrdi Trophy is coming to the Emerald City.
Many believe the No. 1 key for Seattle is to disrupt Manning’s timing and force him to move his feet, check down to his running backs more than he’d like to and consistently have to look beyond his first and second reads. Not many teams have been able to do any of that this season, but no other team in football is equipped to complete such a task.
Seattle will be physical with the Broncos receivers as well as tight end Julius Thomas, they’ll likely disguise a few choice blitzes, and they’ll work toward a fourth quarter filled with handing the ball to Lynch, the Seahawks closer.
In the end, however, Russell Wilson must make a number of big plays in the passing game while continuing his success with ball security, and he’s more than capable of doing so when given the time. The Broncos lack the personnel to rush the passer and spy the edge the way most of Seattle’s schedule has done, including Houston and Carolina, two games versus New Orleans, Arizona and St. Louis and three games versus San Francisco, the owners of the best set of linebackers in the NFL. Wilson will have time in the pocket, and room to run and throw when he’s flushed outside.
Harvin’s ability to turn short passes into pay dirt will impact the Broncos’ ability to maintain Lynch, and it will open things up for the tight ends as well as Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. Denver kicker Matt Prater will not be able to kick the ball out of the end zone without the thin air on his side, so Harvin should have a few chances to work his magic on special teams, too. And don’t sleep on Tate on punt returns.
Expect big plays from the Hawks’ secondary, and while K.J. Wright should be near 100 percent and back in the lineup, Malcolm Smith will be a factor.
In conclusion, the advantages Seattle has all over the field will ultimately show up, and I see more offense in this game than most, though I have come down some off my initial idea that it may become a shootout of sorts.
The Seattle Seahawks will have to beat themselves if Manning and the Broncos are to keep the Lombardi Trophy in the AFC, and it’s
difficult impossible to believe that will take place at this stage of their journey.
The demons of three-and-a-half decades are exercised. The drought is over.
Seattle Seahawks 27
Denver Broncos 23
– Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
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