It's strength vs. strength. It's offense vs. defense. It's the immovable object up against an irresistible force. The matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII provides football fans the opportunity to see one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to test his mettle against the most formidable defense in the league.
SUPER BOWL XLVIII
Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
LOCATION: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
TIME: 6:30 p.m. ET
One night after being awarded a historic fifth NFL MVP Award, Peyton Manning has a chance to do something else that no other quarterback has done: He can become the first to ever to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. Manning, who led the Indianapolis Colts past the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, piloted the Broncos through a record-setting 2013 campaign, setting new NFL highs for passing touchdowns and passing yards in a single season.
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"Peyton's been extraordinary," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during Super Bowl week. "People couldn't even dream to have the year that Peyton's had before this season with all the numbers. We're up against it."
Manning is also up against the Seahawks' stout defense. Led by talented and talkative cornerback Richard Sherman, Seattle's defensive unit allowed the fewest passing yards per game (172) and points per game (14.4) in the NFL during the 2013 season. Sherman, who grabbed the spotlight with an emotional outburst during an interview after the NFC Championship Game, and the rest of the Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" secondary will provide Manning with a stern test.
While the battle between the Broncos' high-scoring offense and the Seahawks' stingy defense has generated headlines, the game may come down whichever forgotten unit makes the big play. Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson continues the charmed start to his NFL career with a trip to the Super Bowl. He tallied just 215 passing yards in the Seahawks' NFC Champion Game win over the San Francisco 49ers, but completed an unforgettable, go-ahead 35-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-7 play in the fourth quarter. While Wilson's penchant for keeping plays alive will surely have worried the Broncos' defenders ahead of kickoff, the bruising running of Marshawn Lynch may prove a more pressing problem. Try as they might, opponents of the Seahawks have struggled to tackle "Beast Mode" and the Skittles have flown.
Can the Seahawks defense hold Manning in check so that either Wilson or Lynch can make the big play? Does the Broncos offense have what it takes to silence the Legion of Boom?
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