Peyton Manning and the 2013 Denver Broncos shattered the NFL records for most total yards and points in a single season, and earned the franchise’s first trip the Super Bowl in 15 years.
The Broncos scored 606 total points, averaging 37.9 a game the most since the league expanded the regular season schedule to 16 games, according to the Wall Street Journal, and put up 457.3 yards per game. Manning hit receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker for 25 of his record 55 touchdowns, and Denver was one of only two teams to boast two 1,000-yard receivers this year.
Denver’s matchup against the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII is being billed as the ultimate offensive machine against the league’s most dominate defense, and rightly so.
But Seattle’s offense, while not as flashy on paper, has the potential to churn out huge offense numbers when the teams clash on Sunday Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium.
At first glance the Seahawks offensive output is far less than enthralling. They ended the regular season ranked 17th in total offense, scoring 26.1 points per game, and in today’s pass-first NFL the Seahawks were 26th in passing offense with 202.3 yards in the air.
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The Seahawks were also ranked 14th in red zone offense, scoring a touchdown 53.23 percent of the time. The Broncos were of course first in red zone efficiency, reaching pay dirt 72.73 percent of the time.
Lacking a big-time receiver with Percy Harvin down with injuries, head coach Pete Carroll instead capitalized on his teams best strength: rushing. The Seahawks were fourth in the NFL in total rushing yards, led by possible Super Bowl x-factor running back Marshawn Lynch.
Gaining 1,257 yards Lynch led the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns and tallied 301 of Seattle’s 509 rush attempts, the second highest number in the league behind Buffalo. The 27-year-old veteran has been just as dominant in the postseason, racking up 249 yards and three touchdowns at a 4.98 yards per carry clip in two games.
Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson was also second on the team with 539 rushing yards, third best among passers this season. Meanwhile, Harvin is expected to play in the Super Bowl.
Denver’s best weapon could be its biggest weakness. The Broncos are so efficient on offense they were 14th in the league in time of possession at 30 minutes ppg, which could give Lynch the chance to chew up clock and keep Manning off the field for long stretches.
The Broncos should have confidence in their defensive front, allowing 65 rushing yards to San Diego in the Divisional Round and and 64 to New England the AFC title game.
Clearly the offensive advantage goes to Denver, but the Seahawks shouldn’t be counted out before kick-off.