Ranking the Top 25 Players in Super Bowl XLVIII
The Top 25 Players in Super Bowl XLVIII
Super Bowl XLVIII will be an outdoor battle between the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks and AFC Champion Denver Broncos. The game has all the makings of a classic featuring the No. 1 ranked scoring offense versus the No. 1 ranked scoring defense. It is the fifth meeting of its kind during the Super Bowl era with the defensive team winning three of the first four games.
When the Broncos do take the field against the Seahawks, it will be just the second time in the last 20 years where the two No. 1 seeds will square off with the Lombardi Trophy on the line. The other matchup also featured Peyton Manning when the Indianapolis Colts were defeated by the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. That Manning guy is just everywhere.
At the start of the season, Denver against Seattle appeared to be the likely Super Bowl matchup, and that fruition has come true. For these teams, one of the two head coaches will be able to claim their first Super Bowl Trophy when the game does comes to an end. Both John Fox and Pete Carroll will run out two loaded rosters filled with talent on both sides of the ball.
Much of the focus leading up to Super Sunday will be when Denver has the ball against the Seattle defense. But there will also be key players involved when the Seahawks have the ball against the Broncos defense, and we cannot overlook those special teams units. Here is a look at the 25 most impactful players that will strap it up in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.
25. Robert Turbin
Robert Turbin is the Seattle backup running back. He may see a few touches in order to give Marshawn Lynch a breather.
24. Malcolm Smith
Malcolm Smith was the Seahawk who nabbed the interception that sealed the trip to the Super Bowl. He will have plenty of chances to pluck passes against the Denver offense.
23. Trindon Holliday
Trindon Holliday is a dangerous returner for the Broncos. If Holliday is able to get touches, he could create a big-time play in the special teams department for Denver.
22. Jermaine Kearse
Jermaine Kearse is the third option for Russell Wilson in the passing game. He may not have a lot of catches, but he is a threat for a big play.
21. Kam Chancellor
Kam Chancellor is the Seattle safety. He will be busy in coverage trying to contain all of Peyton Manning's targets.
20. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the Denver cornerback opposite Champ Bailey. He can be a shutdown corner in his own right and take away Seattle's pass attack.
19. Doug Baldwin
Doug Baldwin will likely be the wideout opposite Rodgers-Cromartie. He will need to have a big game in order to move the chains and free up the ground attack.
18. Danny Trevathan
Danny Trevathan is a linebacker who will be asked to stop, or at least slow down "Beast Mode." He is coming off an eight-tackle game in the AFC Championship.
17. Montee Ball
Montee Ball is the backup running back in the Broncos' attack. He will likely see touches in both the running game and catching passes out of the backfield in order to move the chains.
16. Shaun Phillips
Shaun Phillips has had a strong year on the Denver D-Line. Including the playoffs, he has 12 sacks this year and will be asked to contain Russell Wilson from extending any broken plays.
15. Percy Harvin
For someone who has played less than 50 snaps all season, Percy Harvin will be a factor leading up to the big game. If he is able to go, it will give Seattle another element on offense.
14. Earl Thomas
Earl Thomas had over 100 tackles and five interceptions on the year. He will certainly be one of the guys in the secondary looking to keep Denver out of the end zone.
13. Champ Bailey
The veteran Champ Bailey has finally reached the Super Bowl. Bailey will likely be asked to shutdown Golden Tate from making big plays in the Seattle passing game.
12. Golden Tate
In the passing game and in the return game, Seattle will look for Golden Tate to provide a spark. Tate will likely be seeing a lot of Champ Bailey across the field as Russell Wilson's No. 1 target.
11. Steven Hauschka
This game will feature two excellent kickers who will be accustom to kicking in bad conditions. Steven Hauschka has only missed two field goals all year for Seattle.
10. Matt Prater
Matt Prater has also only missed two field goals all season long, and has an NFL-record 64-yard field goal to his name. In potentially bad weather, and a close game, the kickers on both sides will play a huge factor.
9. Eric Decker
Eric Decker has only seven catches in the postseason this year, but did have over 1,200 yards on the season. In an offense with many options, Decker still has to be accounted for.
8. Julius Thomas
Julius Thomas has certainly had a great season in Denver. He is a big, physical target for the Broncos, and the Seahawks will have their hands full trying to contain the big tight end.
7. Richard Sherman
This game will certainly not be boring with Richard Sherman involved. Sherman has the skills to back it up, however, shutting down all of the Denver receivers will be a taunting task.
6. Knowshon Moreno
Knowshon Moreno will certainly be entering this game as an afterthought among the two starting running backs. Moreno is capable of producing big performances in his own right, but yards will be hard to come by against the top ranked defense.
5. Russell Wilson
In just his second season, Russell Wilson finds himself in the big one. Will he be able to handle the moment and make enough plays to guide Seattle to a victory?
4. Wes Welker
Wes Welker is just one of the many options Denver has in the passing game. Will the Seahawks possibly be able to cover all of them?
3. Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius Thomas had a terrific game in the AFC Championship. Thomas will likely be squaring off for much of the game against Richard Sherman, and that will be a physical matchup to keep tabs on throughout the game.
2. Marshawn Lynch
Seattle showed in the NFC title game that they will stick with the running game no matter what. Eventually, Marshawn Lynch will get loose, and when he does, "Beast Mode" will be in full effect.
1. Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning will attempt to pick apart the vaunted Seattle defense like he has done against everyone else. If Denver is able to keep him upright like in the AFC title game, even in cold weather, Manning is the No. 1 guy playing in Super Bowl XLVIII.