Defensive History Will Not Repeat Itself

Defense wins championships, right?  Three of the past four times the number one scoring defense played the number one scoring offense in the Super Bowl, the defense was the victor. The only instance the number one offense came out on top was in 1989 when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos: the 49ers just happen to have the number three scoring defense that same year.  Let’s take this a little further.  There have been six instances in the post season the number one overall defense played the number one overall offense.  The defense is 4 – 2 in those games.  Defense wins championships.

Should we expect more of the same this time around?  Absolutely not.

The big names in the big game are going to make their mark.  Richard Sherman is going to shut down his side of the field.  Demaryius Thomas is going to haul in third down conversions to keep drives alive.  Marshawn Lynch is going to break 100 yards and eat a bag of Skittles.  Peyton Manning…he is the wild card.  What can we expect from Peyton in Super Bowl XLVIII? 

The Seattle defense played at a historical level the entire year.  Their pass defense stopped everyone they played this year.  Including Drew Brees; twice.  The Legion of Boom is the real deal in every statistic you could or would look at.  They lead the league in points per game, yards per game, yards per play and turnovers.  This is a no brainer.  Defense wins championships.  Seattle has the best defense this year by a large margin, and performed at an all time great level.  What happens when one of the historically great defenses meets the greatest offense the league has ever seen?  That question will be answered this Sunday.

As good as the Seattle defense been this year, the Denver defense was equally as good; against the run at least.  Both teams allowed an equal 101.6 yards per game on the ground.  Does this make the Denver defense as good as the Seattle defense?  No, during the playoffs, the Denver defense has been statistically better than the Seattle defense. 

Denver’s defense is ranked second for yard per game this postseason.  Seattle is ranked sixth.  Denver has been the stingiest defense against the run in the playoffs allowing a meager 64.5 yards per game.  Keep in mind they went up against LaGarrette Blount who went off on the Indianapolis Colts for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns a week earlier.  Seattle has allowed 134.5 yards per game on the ground this post season.  The Legion of Boom has been one point better in total points allowed, 32 versus the Broncos 33.  They also have been better in passing yards per game, again by one.  Seattle has allowed 224 passing yards per game compared to Denver at 225.  Where this becomes interesting is that Seattle has faced a pass heavy offense with New Orleans and a run first offense in San Francisco.  Denver has put up their numbers against two pass happy offenses.  Denver’s defense is showing up much better in the 2013 playoffs.  Defense wins championships.

So what can we expect from Peyton in Super Bowl XLVIII?

A championship performance. Peyton is going to show a great defense exactly what the greatest offense of all time can do: score.  More importantly, score when they want to.  They will not be blowing up the scoreboard with 50 points. What the Broncos offense will do instead is control the game.  Peyton being the offensive MegaMind he is, has learned from his mistakes and opportunities.  Time of possession is the key to any team winning in the playoffs.  This is no different with the Denver Broncos quarterback. When Peyton has been on the wrong side of the time of possession battle in the playoffs, he is 1 – 9. When he wins the battle, Peyton’s record jumps to 9 – 3.  In a game that will be affected by weather, having the ball more than the other team will give that team a huge advantage.  Peyton and the Broncos will win this battle with a stronger than advertised run game and a passing game like no team has ever seen in a Super Bowl.

This NFL regular season was one of the best in the past two decades.  Week 17 had more thrills and storylines than any other season in the Super Bowl era.  The playoffs could not have played out better. Certainly when  the conference championships came down to of the most experienced and wise veterans in the game Brady versus Manning on the AFC side and the two of the top young guns battling out Kapernick versus Russell Wilson on the NFC side. 

In essence this Super Bowl will be one of the best in recent history.  It has all the makings of an all time great.  This year in the NFL seems more like a script than real life.  There is not a better end to the story than having an all time great quarterback, a hero, win the last game of the year and hoist the Lombardi Trophy.  Denver 27, Seattle 20.