The Broncos and the Seahawks. The AFC versus the NFC. The NFL’s top rated offense against the league’s top rated defense. Super Bowl 48 is finally, almost, just about, here.
The weather shouldn’t be a huge factor and the odds makers slightly favor the Broncos. Seahawks supporters hope the belief that a great defense can stop a great offense, holds true at Met Life Stadium.
In analyzing two superb teams it might be worth a look back at their common opponents, five in all, including the Houston Texans. Denver and Seattle had amazingly similar results against all five teams, winning against the same four squads and losing to the same team.
The Broncos and Seahawks both hosted the Jaguars in the first half of the season. Seattle kicked the Jags by 28 points. The Broncos somehow only won by 17 in a game that many joked, they could name their own score.
Denver rolled the Titans by 23 at Mile High. Tennessee stayed close in Seattle, but lost by seven points.
The New York Giants were no match for either power. The Broncos were 18 points better than the G-Men in Denver. The Seahawks shut out New York, winning 23-0 in Seattle.
The Colts produced wins over both top seeds. Indianapolis hosted both Super Bowl participants in October and defeated the two teams by exactly six points. Indy spoiled Peyton Manning’s return to the Hoosier State winning 39-33. Two weeks prior, the Seahawks dropped a 34-28 game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Which brings us back to the Texans and their games against the Broncos and Seahawks. Houston hosted the Seahawks on September 29th and posted a 20-3 lead at the half, before losing 23-20 in overtime. Denver pulled away from the Texans with a 21-point 4th quarter on December 22nd, handing Houston its unlucky 13th straight loss with a 37-13 victory.
It is amazing to look back on the numbers from the Seahawks game. It is easy to remember the Richard Sherman pick-six, but almost as easy to forget the Texans posted 29 first downs in the game to 15 for the Seahawks. Houston dominated the visitors in total yards, 476-270, while out gaining Seattle through the air 325 yards to 91!
Arian Foster ran for more than a hundred yards. Andre Johnson caught nine balls for 110 yards. Eight different Texans caught at least one pass and Matt Schaub threw for 355 yards while Russell Wilson posted a quarterback rating of 49.7 with just 12 completions for 123 yards and one pick. And the Texans still lost.
The Seahawks did play the game without three injured offensive lineman and the Texans still had Brian Cushing. At least until he suffered a concussion and wasn’t allowed to complete the contest, yet he still topped the team in tackles with nine.
The Texans played the Broncos late in the year when their fate had long been sealed. However Matt Schaub played against both teams. After torching Seattle for 355 yards, Schaub mustered only 176 yards against the Broncos on a less than pedestrian 18-37 day with one touchdown and two interceptions. Deji Karim led the team in rushing with 30 yards and the Texans leading pass receiver was Ryan Griffin with five balls for 66 yards.
The Broncos dominated in almost every statistical category, including 25-14 in first downs, 511 to 240 in total yards and a 397-153 edge in passing yards on a day that saw Manning set the NFL single season touchdown passes record.
The eye test would force me to lean towards the Broncos. Here’s hoping that the first Super Bowl match-up of top seeds since 1993, lives up to the billing. Or at least better than that game in which Dallas blasted the Bills 52-17.
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