Mile High Monday: Broncos Prepping for Super Bowl XLVIII


Jan 26, 2014; Jersey City, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos fans wait for the Broncos to arrive at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Jersey City. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

The Denver Broncos have made it to New Jersey and are making final preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks.

Peyton Manning has been a man on a mission ever since he signed with Denver as a free agent and this Sunday he’ll get the chance to finish it off with a big exclamation point. Manning has put forth the greatest QB season of all time so far. A Super Bowl trophy would remove all doubt and make his 2013 season the best the NFL has ever seen.

The fact Manning is getting an extra week to prepare for his biggest game as a Bronco certainly doesn’t hurt either. He is known as one of the hardest working and best-prepared quarterbacks the league has ever known. He’ll need everything he can muster against Seattle’s defense which was the best in the league in 2013. But if there is a weakness to be found in their defense, or even a crack of space that can be exploited, Manning would be the one who can find it.

One thing for certain, this should be a great Super Bowl. This is a matchup between the best offense and the best defense and there are stars all over the field for both teams. The Broncos have the edge in experience but the Seahawks will get an advantage if the weather is poor. Sure fire Hall-of-Famer Champ Bailey will be going for his first ring in his stellar career and Manning is looking for the signature victory that would snuff out all his critics for good.

Here are the keys for the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII:

  • Stop the run. The Seahawks want to do what they do best which is run the football. Doing so effectively will also help them keep the score in the teens or low-twenties, something they’ll need to do if they want to win the ball game. Although they are probably the most under rated aspect of this Super Bowl the Denver defense has been incredible in the playoffs, especially when it comes to stopping the run. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton has been a monster over the last few games and could be the defensive player of the game when all is said and done. If he and his teammates can hold Seattle to less than 100 yards rushing (They held the run-heavy Patriots to 64 yards on the ground in the playoffs), they’ll force the young Russell Wilson to try and win the game in the air. Wilson is an incredible talent, but even the Seahawks would privately admit that’s not what they want to see. The odds would go up that Denver could force some turnovers and/or gain a few extra possessions since Seattle wouldn’t be eating as much clock. Either would give Denver an advantage. Stop the run, win the game.
  • Tie or win the turnover battle. We’ve seen it in regular season losses to New England and Indianapolis. The only sure-fire way to gain an advantage over the Broncos is to create turnovers. When the Broncos lost by 6 points to the Colts they turned it over 4 times, and it was a muffed punt in overtime that gifted a victory to the Patriots. If Denver doesn’t turn the ball over in those games they win them both. Winning the turnover battle this Sunday guarantees the Broncos nothing, but not losing it increases their chances of winning significantly.
  • Be efficient on 3rd downs. The Denver offense doesn’t need to be incredible against Seattle, and their defense is so tough it would be difficult anyways. But what they need to do is move the chains and control the flow of the game like they did against New England in the AFC Championship game. If they can convert about 50% or more of their 3rd downs it will likely give them the edge in time of possession which would help out the Denver defense by limiting Seattle’s opportunities. If they happen to score at the end of some lengthy drives it would also put more pressure on the Seahawk offense and would force them to throw the ball more. Both of these things would help the Denver cause.

If Denver can accomplish two or three of these things they will have a great chance to win the ball game, and all they have to do is give themselves a chance. I’m hoping that if Manning gets a shot to close it out at the end he won’t be denied.

At this point the Broncos just need to find a way to win this one game and they’ll be able to call themselves World Champions. Go Broncos!

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