Preview: Student gives two cents on Super Bowl XLVIII

Ray Bressette

Sports’ biggest stage returns this weekend, as millions will gather to watch the Seattle Seahawks meet the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

IMG_20140402_205043_855-1This year’s matchup features the league’s top-ranked offense taking on the top-ranked defense in New York, in what will be the first ever Super Bowl to be held outside in winter conditions.

The NFC champion Seahawks head into Super Bowl 48 after close wins against the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, seeking the team’s first championship in its 38 years of existence. Seattle lost their only other Super Bowl appearance to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 40.

Meanwhile, the Broncos look for their third Super Bowl championship, their first since winning back-to-back Super Bowls against the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowls 32 and 33.

Denver rolled through the AFC playoffs, easily beating the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots.

The Broncos are led by quarterback Peyton Manning, who is looking for his second Super Bowl championship in three tries, and first as a Bronco. Manning won Super Bowl 41 as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, but lost three years later to the Saints.

The Broncos finished with the league’s best offense, breaking several NFL records this season including passing yards in a season (5,477), touchdown passes in a season (55) and points scored in a season (606), along with tying the record for touchdown passes in a game with seven.

If the Broncos are going to win, they are going to need to benefit from having the league’s deepest wide receiving core with star receivers Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas, three of whom finished top ten in receiving yards this season.

The Seahawks will hope they can shut down the league’s most explosive offense with the NFL’s most potent defense. The Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” defense led the league in passing defense, scoring defense and overall total defense this season.

From safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, to cornerback Brandon Browner and the self-proclaimed “best corner in the game” Richard Sherman, Seattle will have the top defense heading into Sunday.

Seattle’s second-year quarterback Russell Wilson will have to feed the ball to his star running back Marshawn Lynch to keep the tempo going all night for their team. Receivers Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin and Golden Tate will need to do just enough to help Wilson keep Denver from lighting up the scoreboard.

In the end, the game is going to come down to the arm of Peyton Manning.

At 37, Manning knows this may be his last chance to win another Super Bowl and to solidify himself in the ranks of Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana. He will do everything he can to make sure he’s known more for his successes than his losses.

While Peyton is surrounded with too much talent to let him fumble this championship away, Seattle may be the only team that can shut him down. All the same, it’s clear who will put up the better fight: the Broncos.