Sunday, February 2, 2014

7 comments Super Bowl Game Pick

According to my calculations I will win the Pick 'Em challenge against Peter King and Bill Simmons no matter whether I get the Super Bowl pick correct or not. This is probably a tribute to how poorly those two did against the spread rather than a compliment to my guessing abilities. The big day is almost here and the best offense in the NFL is going against the best defense in the NFL. Maybe now we can stop hearing about the weather and how the weather will ruin the Super Bowl.

Bill's Super Bowl pick.

Peter's Super Bowl pick.

This is the line being used for this game and I hope it is this close of a game:

Seattle Seahawks v. Denver Broncos (-2.5)

Before we get to my ramblings about the Super Bowl I would be remiss if I didn't include some analysis from Bleacher Report on the Super Bowl. First, Bleacher Report tells us the eight under-the-radar players to watch out for in the Super Bowl. Pay attention, this is very important. And of course the eight players are on 10 slides with the 10th slide going to the next slideshow. You have to love how Bleacher Report will deceive in order to get more pageviews.

Doug Baldwin

The #2 receiver for the Seahawks. The best part is the author cites another Bleacher Report slideshow as proof.

As Bleacher Report's Tyson Langland details, Baldwin could be Seattle's biggest X-factor:

This is stupidity piled on stupidity. It's basically copying another Bleacher Report slideshow to create another Bleacher Report slideshow. Here are the other X-factors in the Super Bowl.

Terrance Knighton
Brandon Mebane
Chris Clark
Bryon Maxwell
Danny Trevathan

So the X-factors in the Super Bowl could be the starting left tackle, the best linebacker and defensive tackle for the Broncos or the starting corner opposite of Richard Sherman and the Seahawks best defensive tackle. Now I understand that every starting player is important, but there are only 22 starting players and this article names 8 of them as potential X-factors. Name an X-factor for each team, but naming 8 starting players out of 22 starters sort of seems like cheating. Also, it's pretty obvious the best linebacker and defensive tackle for each team is going to be an X-factor. In fact, they aren't even X-factors, but they are major factors that could decide which team wins the Super Bowl. Wouldn't it be easy, though it would require fewer slides, to say every starting player for both teams could be an X-factor?

Now Bleacher Report tells us who the weak links in the Super Bowl are going to be.

Seattle's wide receivers

If the Broncos jump out to a lead and the Seahawks need to throw the ball to stay in the game, will Tate, Baldwin and company be able to create enough separation and make enough big plays to get the job done? 

The confidence level in that particular scenario cannot possibly be high. That makes the Seahawks wide receivers a weak link heading into the Super Bowl.

Great point. So because the Seahawks defense lets the Broncos jump out to a big lead then the Seahawks wide receivers are a weak link? This is like saying if a ship's hull starts leaking water than the ship's weak link is that the furniture doesn't float. I can see how the Seahawks receivers are a weak link, but if the Seahawks defense lets the Broncos jump out to a big lead I find it hard to fault the Seahawks receivers for being the weak link in that situation.

Julius Thomas

Sounds weird, so why? Bleacher Report thinks Julius Thomas is the weak link because Bleacher Report thinks Julius Thomas is the weak link of course.

As B/R's Keith Myers writes, Chancellor is good enough to cover Thomas one-on-one and completely neutralize him.

It's bad enough when Bleacher Report writers rip off columnists outside of Bleacher Report, but now they are ripping off writers who work for Bleacher Report. It's getting to the point some Bleacher Report writers can't even complete an original thought without a little help from another Bleacher Report writer.

Pete Carroll

Because it's not like Carroll has experience in big games or anything. He's only coached in the NFL for three separate teams and played at one of the highest profile college football programs in the NCAA.

Denver's Screen Game

"Hey, you know that one play...well Denver won't run it well against Seattle."

Steven Hauschka

One of the biggest moments in the NFC Championship Game was when Seattle Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka begged off a 53-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter, telling coach Pete Carroll to go for it instead.

Pretty sure that was Pete Carroll's call. Hauschka missed two field goals all year by the way.

Denver's secondary

The entire secondary. Every single one of them. Fortunately, the Denver secondary will be going against the weak Seahawks receivers. Which brings up a question I have to ask...if Denver's secondary is their weak link and the Seahawks receivers are their weak link then doesn't that mean neither group of players is the weak link since neither team can take advantage of the other's weak link? I know, I know, this is Bleacher Report so no thinking should be required. Just let it be.

Seattle's offensive line

The entire offensive line. The author cites the 44 sacks the Seahawks offensive line has given up, while neglecting to mention Russell Wilson holds the football longer than any other NFL quarterback and the proven ability of the Seattle offensive line to punish opposing teams to run the football.

Montee Ball

If Moreno has to exit to the game, should Broncos fans have faith in Ball to protect Manning when the Seahawks blitz? It's a major story to watch.

It sounds like a major story to watch. So Ball is a weak link because if Moreno gets hurt then Ball can't protect Manning as well. What happens if Marshawn Lynch gets hurt? Can Robert Turbin and that weak Seahawks offensive line protect Russell Wilson? If only there was room for one more slide calling Robert Turbin the weak link. But there is not, and the next slide is the introductory paragraph to the next slideshow.

So now, some rambling about the Super Bowl followed by my pick.

Seattle Seahawks v. Denver Broncos

Richard Sherman says Peyton Manning "throws ducks," let's make a big deal out of it. I have defended Sherman all week for not opening his mouth and then he has to go and say something that can be somewhat spun into a criticism of Peyton Manning. Thanks for nothing, Richard Sherman. In all seriousness, Manning doesn't exactly throw a beautiful football anymore, but it gets where it needs to go. I'm glad Sherman didn't say anything stupid to feed the media herd that so desperately wanted to paint Sherman as the renegade football player with the big mouth. I'm also happy it didn't snow in New Jersey so the media couldn't flip the fuck out about football players (gasp) having to play in less than perfect conditions.

I'm very ready for this game to start. I usually feel that way about the Super Bowl every year after the two weeks of hype. I still can't figure out if the Broncos passing defense is really worthy of being 27th in the NFL or this is a result of opposing teams having to pass the ball in order to try and catch up with the Broncos. I also can't figure out if the Seahawks are worthy of a 26th ranked passing offense or this is just the result of being able to run the ball so well that they don't have to pass as much. I guess after seeing these teams play 18 games I won't ever figure out the answers to these questions. That's what I get for trying to get definitive answers when none are available.

I think the best way to beat the Broncos is to get to Manning with a four man rush and cover his receiving targets in the secondary. Of course, this sounds obvious and easy, but it's not easy to do. Manning is excellent at reading the defense and knowing where to adjust his protection in order to get the ball out quickly. The Seahawks have an advantage in that they have a strong secondary, but Manning is so precise and smart with his reads I can see him still having success against the Seahawks secondary. Manning likes to find the weak link and then pick on that player. If forced to pick, I would say the weak link in the Seahawks secondary would be Jeremy Lane or a matchup which pits a Broncos receiver on a Seahawks linebacker. That will undoubtedly be the strategy used by the Broncos, to try and get Julius Thomas/Welker matched up with a Seahawks linebacker or take advantage of Jeremy Lane in some fashion. Of course, the Seahawks know this. Peyton Manning is smart, so he isn't going to shy away from throwing the ball towards Richard Sherman, but he's also not going to throw the ball at Sherman just to test him. So Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane are going to have to have great games in order for the Seahawks to win.

When the Seahawks have the ball they are going to want to run the football and take a few shots deep off their running game. I recognize the Seahawks are capable of throwing the football, but they are going to want to keep the ball out of Peyton Manning's hands as much as possible and the strength of their offense is really in the running game. I think controlling the time of possession will help decide the game. I recognize the Broncos did a good job of stopping the Patriots from running the football effectively, but the Broncos also jumped out to a quick lead, which took away a lot of the Patriots chances to run the football when they wanted to. The Seahawks don't usually play from behind, so I'm interested to see what happens if it's a close game in the third quarter and Marshawn Lynch starts wearing the Broncos defense down. Just based on anecdotal evidence as someone who has watched John Fox defenses fail to cover the tight end on a consistent basis, I think Zach Miller and Luke Willson will be the difference makers in this game if the Seahawks win it. It sounds anecdotal, but I always remember Fox's Panthers defenses struggling to cover tight ends and despite Trevathan's 10 passes defensed on the year I believe this is an area that the Seahawks can exploit.

One thing I really hope happens for the Seahawks' sake is they don't use the opportunity to get a semi-healthy Percy Harvin back and then try to overuse him or force the football to him. I realize they need to use Harvin when he's on the field, but I felt like the Seahawks were going to work hard to integrate Harvin into the action (prior to Harvin getting injured) in the Saints playoff game. They need to use Harvin, but I don't want them to get away from what they do best in order to accommodate Harvin. The Broncos defense is going to need to stop the Seahawks from running the football and take advantage of the fact Russell Wilson will hold the football for longer than he should. Wilson is very dangerous in terms of his scrambling ability, but he's also prone to running backwards and taking the chance of losing yardage at times when the pass rush is in his face. It's important to keep Wilson in the pocket and not allow him outside in order to make plays. The Broncos haven't really played a quarterback like Wilson yet this season, with the closest being Terrelle Pryor, but the Raiders were down 17-0 by the middle of the second quarter and Pryor only ran four times in that game. He did gain 36 yards on those four carries though. Gotta keep Wilson boxed into the pocket and make him hold the football while searching for the open man. Getting a lead early would obviously be advantageous to preventing Marshawn Lynch from taking over, but the Seahawks are going to want to move the pocket and force the Broncos defense to make a decision on whether Wilson or Lynch has the football. Of course, the Seahawks could also put Percy Harvin in the backfield and cause all sorts of chaos. I think this is where the tight ends could come into play as well, where they could be the target off some bootleg play-action.

For some reason I feel like Russell Wilson is going to catch a pass in this game. I don't know why I feel this way. Michael Robinson used to be a quarterback at Penn State, so maybe he will throw a pass to Wilson. I wish the Broncos would have Peyton Manning catch a pass on a flea-flicker, because that would be fun to watch, though that obviously won't be happening. I realize that great defenses are supposed to beat great offenses, but I'm thinking this game will be an exception to that (non-) rule. The Broncos can run the ball and they can pass the ball very well. The Seahawks have a very strong secondary, but I feel like the Broncos are going to find a way to exploit the Seahawks by running the football and creating favorable matchups in the passing game. For as much as the talk has been about Richard Sherman this week, Peyton Manning will avoid Sherman if necessary and pick on some weaker links or simply run the ball when the Seahawks are showing a more pass-oriented defense. I think the Seahawks have a fantastic defense and this won't be a blowout game at all.

On the other hand, Seattle has the formula I think a team needs to beat the Broncos. They have a rotating set of defensive ends who are good pass rushers and a really good secondary that can jam the Broncos receivers at the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks are going to do a great job of throwing off Manning's timing in the passing game by jamming the Broncos receivers, but the Broncos will adjust. Maybe I'm being a hater towards the Seahawks offense, but I feel like the Broncos are going to win the Super Bowl. While I lack confidence in the Broncos defense, I think they are going to be able to score against the Seahawks defense. Manning will get his second Super Bowl victory and while I like the Seahawks defense I still lack confidence in the Seahawks offense to be good enough to win the Super Bowl.

Denver Broncos (-2.5) over the Seattle Seahawks 27-20


Matthew Cleary said...

What a strange game. The safety, the TAINT, the kickoff return. It's like all the weird random prop bets paid off.

Bengoodfella said...

Matthew, the only thing I got right about that game is that it was football being played. Other than that, everything else I said was wrong. Just odd.

I thought the safety was the first blip in a night where the Broncos would eventually settle down, but that never happened. It's a lesson to be learned that pressure, pressure, pressure is how you beat good teams. Even the best quarterback struggles throwing the ball against good pressure and coverage.

Ericb said...

Gregg is going to be insufferable after that Seattle pick-six.

Snarf said...

Speaking of Gregg, a couple of things. At the end of the 1st half, Den went for it on 4th down rather than kicking the FG. That should have benefited them, right? In hindsight, although the game wasn't even close, that looks like a dumb move. I doubt Gregg mentions it, though. What I almost guarantee, though, is there being mention of the Broncos punting in the 3rd quarter. Something to the effect of "I don't need to tell you anything else about the game".

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, don't worry. It came from a guy who is from a football factory, which is something Gregg will completely leave out. I'm sure he will screw a ton of other things up.

Snarf, I thought about that too. You would have thought it benefited them, but I am betting Gregg will claim punting on 4th and 11 later in the game negated the momentum the attempt on fourth down didn't give the Broncos offense.

Anonymous said...

The Peyton Paradox strikes again. With Manning as your QB, all you'll do is make the playoffs every year and consistently compete for Super Bowls. BUT YOU WON'T WIN ONE EVERY YEAR.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I forgot about that. Gregg is completely going to bring that up in TMQ. Why must he do this?

It's the paradox of a great quarterback not being able to win the Super Bowl every year. Has this ever happened before?