It’s only week 3 but this might be the biggest game of the season as a Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks takes place, with the blowout from seven months ago still fresh in the minds of Peyton Manning and his teammates, while Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson are focused on trying to bounce back from their loss last week.
The Seahawks stated out dominantly with a 36-16 win over the Packers to start the season, but were stunned by the San Diego Chargers 30-21, finding it close to impossible to rattle or figure out Philip Rivers in one of his best games in a very long time. Richard Sherman was called out by Chargers receivers for not being as good as advertised, which obviously didn’t go unanswered by the Pro Bowl cornerback.
The Seahawks are prideful, maybe arrogant, but they have results to back them up. The nine-point loss was their biggest since November 2011. Heading into their second meeting with the Broncos since the Super Bowl (were beaten profoundly in the preseason by them), the Seahawks are 18-1 at home with Russell Wilson as their starter, allowing just 13.3 points per game and letting teams score more than 20 on them twice. It’s been that difficult beating them in Seattle.
No one is relying on that preseason game to actually tell the whole story about their regular season clash. The Broncos played with an edge that is often seen in exhibition games. They’ve started the season at 2-0 although haven’t been very impressive, winning both their games (vs Colts & Chiefs) by a touchdown each. Peyton Manning has been relying heavily on Emmanuel Sanders (14 receptions, 185 yards) and Julius Thomas (11 receptions, 143 yards, four touchdowns) and now is also getting Wes Welker back.
One of the more productive wide receivers in the NFL for almost a decade, Welker has missed two games for testing positive for amphetamines. The new drug policy the NFL agreed upon with the NFLPLA cut his four game suspension in half. He finished with 73 receptions for 778 yards with 10 touchdowns last season, playing in 13 games. This once again gives Denver a four headed attack for Manning to throw to with the two Thomas’s, Welker and Sanders.
One things that might be good for the Broncos is not having the same team as the one beaten by 35 points in the Super Bowl. There are 10 starters who didn’t play in the Super Bowl for the Broncos, and five of them have a combined 14 pro bowl appearances. One might say they’ve improved and put that embarrassing night behind them. The Seahawks have just one starter, their rookie tackle Justin Britt, who wasn’t involved in that win.
The key for the Broncos will be spreading the ball (Manning attempted just 18% of his passes outside the lines in the Super Bowl) and not being afraid of certain secondary individuals, but most of all keeping the pass rush away from Manning. Turnovers very quickly ended that game back in February. The Seahawks, backed by their usually very loud crowd, should be playing angry after losing without ever really being in control of the previous game.