Super Bowl XLVIII Preview: How the Teams Match Up

Seahawks run offense
vs. Broncos run defense

In playoff games against New Orleans and San Francisco, two rock-solid defenses, Marshawn Lynch ran for 249 yards in 50 carries with three touchdowns. The Seahawks will look to hammer away at Denver, even though the Broncos have been difficult to run against in the postseason. Watch for Denver’s safeties to be nosey — quick to come up and react to the run — which sets up the Seattle’s play-action passing game. EDGE: Seahawks

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Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane celebrates a stop in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images / January 19, 2014)

Seahawks pass offense
vs. Broncos pass defense

The return of Percy Harvin is key here, because he gives the Seahawks an explosive-play threat they’ve sorely lacked. Seattle doesn’t have a stable of flashy receivers the way Denver does, but receivers Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, and tight end Zach Miller hang on to the ball. Russell Wilson struggled with all-out blitzes by San Francisco, so expect to see some of those from Denver. EDGE: Seahawks

Broncos run offense
vs. Seahawks run defense

Good luck here, Denver. The Broncos have some decent backs in Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, and they occasionally have put up some big numbers, but Seattle’s defense will slam the door on this option. As long as the weather cooperates, Manning will be looking to move the ball through the air. It’s no simple task to run on a brick-wall defensive front anchored by tackle Brandon “Bang Bang” Mebane. EDGE: Seahawks

Broncos pass offense
vs. Seahawks pass defense

The Peyton Manning-led Broncos are all about the pass, and they set several records in that department this season. They stretch the field with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, have a premier tight end in Julius Thomas, and the league’s best slot receiver in Wes Welker. Watch for their “rub” routes — sometimes borderline illegal picks — against Seattle’s ultra-physical “Legion of Boom” secondary. This is the matchup of the game. EDGE: Broncos

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