The Call: Super Bowl XLVIII

  • Updated: February 1, 2014 - 8:25 PM
hide

The Empire State Building, top, backdrops Roman numerals for the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game standing during sunrise at Pier A Park in Hoboken, N.J., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are scheduled to play on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Photo: Julio Cortez • Associated Press; Star Tribune illustration,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

4

players to watch

PEYTON MANNING

BRONCOS QB

Talk about a stressful 60 minutes of football. A record five-time league MVP and one-time Super Bowl winner actually needs to win this game to be remembered as having lived up to his full potential. Fair? No. Reality? You betcha. A win would tie little brother Eli in Super Bowl victories and move him within one of Tom Brady with still enough time to even the score with his career-long nemesis. A loss and, well, the record season and a great career will be always — and wrongly — include a “yeah, but …”

RUSSELL WILSON • SEAHAWKS QB

On the flip side, there’s no historical pressure on Wilson beyond the usual Super Bowl stress. Wilson, 25, is a former third-round draft pick who already has more regular-season wins (24) than any other second-year quarterback in NFL history. But his unflappable poise and extraordinary ability to elude tackles, extend plays and make crisp, on-time throws down the field will be tested early. When the jitters are fresh, that’s when passes from young QBs tend to do the Super Bowl sail.

TERRANCE KNIGHTON • BRONCOS Dt

The focus this week has been on Manning vs. Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” secondary. But what about “Pot Roast” (Knighton) vs. “Beast Mode” (Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch)? Seattle’s a run- oriented team with a wild man running the ball. Lynch is averaging 5.0 yards per postseason carry. “Pot Roast” is a giant mound of flesh and muscle smack dab in the middle of a run defense that’s allowing a postseason-low 64.5 yards per game.

RICHARD SHERMAN • SEAHAWKS cb

The self-proclaimed best cornerback in the world now has to prove it while facing a legendary quarterback and an offense that had a record four receivers catch at least 10 touchdowns. Sherman kept his mouth under control for the most part this week, but he did slip by saying Manning tends to throw “ducks.” He was right, of course, but it still became sensationalized.

3

keys to the game

WHO’S MORE PHYSICAL?

Typically, the conversation about the physical battle is contained to the line of scrimmage. But this game could come down to the hand-to-hand confrontations between Seattle’s oversized cornerbacks and aggressive safeties and Denver’s receivers and tight ends. Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase uses well-designed bunch sets that allow receivers and tight ends to beat man coverage with legal and sometimes questionable pick plays. If Seattle can disrupt that, it will affect the rhythm that makes Manning, well, Manning.

CAN DENVER CONTAIN LYNCH?

Now this is a traditional conversation about a physical battle. Seattle must control the game with its running game to keep Manning off the field. If Denver’s defense, which has been gaining momentum since December, can stay stout in the middle with Knighton as the anchor, the Broncos’ other defenders will be able to swarm to Lynch. And the only way to bring this wild-eyed runner down is with a swarm. If you notice Denver’s D-line moving backward, get ready to see less of Peyton Manning.

WHAT ABOUT PERCY?

Seahawks receiver-kick returner Percy Harvin will be perhaps the best athlete on the field. But the former Viking also has played only 39 snaps in two games during his first year in Seattle. Is that a good thing because he’s finally healthy and his legs are fresh? Or will he be rusty and prone to further injury? Harvin’s only regular-season action came against the Vikings. He played only 20 snaps, but both touches — one catch, one kickoff return — were turning points in a 40-21 Seahawks rout.

2

unsung heroes

* MANNY RAMIREZ • broncos center

Ramirez is one of three Super Bowl XLVIII participants who were on the Lions team that went 0-16 in 2008. He’s also a 12-year veteran who is in his first season playing center. The former guard and third-string center was bumped up to the front line at a new position when injuries to other players created a need in the offseason. Few will watch anything he does Sunday, but he has the pressure of keeping the front of the passing pocket clean and coordinating his line calls with all of Manning’s pre-snap changes.

STEVEN HAUSCHKA • seahawks kicker

He has suited up for six NFL teams and one UFL team since joining the Vikings as an undrafted rookie in 2008. Hauschka was released that summer but bounced around the league, even spending part of a season with Denver when Matt Prater was injured. Lost in the shadows of Seattle’s “Beast Mode” and “Legion of Boom” talk is a kicker who made a career-high 33 of 35 field goal attempts (94.3 percent).

1

bold

prediction

This has been a predictable but still exciting NFL postseason. We predicted Seattle over Denver here at the start of the playoffs, and we’ll stick to that. Admittedly, it’s not easy to pick against Peyton Manning when he’s at the peak of his career. But Seattle has the defense that will disrupt pass routes, which will throw Manning off rhythm just enough for Seattle’s pass rush to catch up to the speed at which Manning’s mind works.

Seahawks 31, Broncos 28









  • related content

  • Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) walks off the field after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1147276

  • The Vince Lombardi Trophy is displayed between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos helmets before a news conference Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York. The Seahawks and the Broncos are scheduled to play in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game on Sunday, Feb. 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Denver Broncos guard Manny Ramirez takes part in drills at the team's training camp in Englewood, Colo., on Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) ORG XMIT: OTKDZ117

  • By Mark craigmcraig@startribune.comNew York state of mind: Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson are the talk of the town.

  • Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin warms up before an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - A. Webster 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Washington - D. Fister 6:10 PM
Miami - T. Koehler
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Cleveland - T. Bauer 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Seattle - T. Walker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Arizona - C. Anderson 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg 7:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Lackey
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 8:35 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
Texas - L. Bonilla 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
San Francisco - T. Hudson 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close