Super Bowl XLVIII: Breaking Down Every Positional Matchup

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Breaking Down Every Super Bowl XLVIII Positional Matchup

super bowl
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl XLVIII is shaping up to be one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory. With Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense taking on Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks defense, this is a matchup shaping up to become a very exciting battle. It's offense vs. defense, No. 1 seed against No. 1 seed, and it's going to be a fantastic game, regardless of the outcome.

Manning leads an offense that has been the most prolific in history into a game against a Seahawks team with the best defense in the entire NFL and a secondary with a cool nickname. This Super Bowl is also the first time since the 1990 Buffalo Bills to feature a team void of any players with Super Bowl experience, with the Seahawks lacking a player with any sort of championship pedigree.

Adding to the excitement of the matchup is the fact that it's a very real possibility that if the Broncos win this one, it's not crazy to think that the future Hall of Famer, Manning, could hang up his cleats for good. And while it would be sad to see Manning leave the game, you can bet that if he senses an opportunity to go out on top, he will take it.

This Super Bowl, we are looking at a matchup between the two best teams in the league and there is simply no doubt it will be a close affair. In a battle that promises to be close, let's take a closer look at every positional battle in Super Bowl XLVIII.

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Quarterbacks

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl XLVIII pits the great Peyton Manning against the young, upcoming Russell Wilson in a matchup sure to be a classic. Manning, playing in his third Super Bowl, brings the big game experience, however, Wilson brings a calm demeanor that will allow him to play well despite the pressure of the game. With that said, Manning’s experience, and the fact he could very well be playing the last game of his career, will give him the slight edge over Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in this one.

Advantage: Broncos

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Running Backs

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Marshawn Lynch has become very well known over his time in Seattle for “beast mode,” and is a favorite among Seahawks fans. On the other side, a combination of the surprising Knowshon Moreno and rookie Montee Ball have come together to provide the Broncos with a very solid, sometimes dangerous backfield. With that said, Lynch is simply a monster for anybody to handle, and as a result, Seattle holds the slight edge as far as running backs are concerned.

Advantage: Seahawks

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Wide Receivers

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The Denver Broncos have one of the deepest receiving cores in the NFL with Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker. Those three combine to give Peyton Manning a lot of options when he drops back to pass. Meanwhile, in Seattle, while the receivers lack a big name target, they do have several underrated pass catchers. Guys like Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate and even Jermaine Kearse form together to give Seattle a solid, but unspectacular lineup of receivers. With that said, Denver’s receivers are simply some of the best in the league, and it’s easy to see why Denver has the advantage here.

Advantage: Broncos

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Tight Ends

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Broncos tight end Julius Thomas has quickly become one of the top, young tight ends in the league with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. On the other side, Seattle’s Zach Miller isn’t utilized a ton, but he is a solid receiver in his own right. However, Miller just isn’t a match for Thomas, and just like it was with the receivers, Denver holds a pretty healthy advantage here.

Advantage: Broncos

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Offensive Line

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Despite the fact they have dealt with injuries across the offensive line all season long, Denver’s linemen should be applauded for the job they were able to do in protecting Manning all season long. Even after losing star lineman Ryan Clady, the unit was still solid throughout the season. On Seattle’s side, the offensive line has been in a constant state of flux all season. Pete Carroll and co. like to shift their lineman depending on the opponent, however, the Seahawks' line has been decent for the most part and have done an especially good job in the running game. With that said, the Denver offensive line has showed a lot in overcoming all the injuries, and they have the advantage over Seattle.

Advantage: Broncos

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Defensive Line

d line
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On one side, the Denver Broncos hold a top 10 ranking as far as run stopping goes, and on the other, Seattle has a plethora of pass rushers in Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and even Chris Clemons. With that said, I believe Seattle’s defensive line holds the slight edge here simply because they can pressure the quarterback in so many different ways. Denver might be able to stop Seattle’s run game to a certain degree, but if Seattle can slow down Peyton Manning, this is a totally different game.

Advantage: Seahawks

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Linebackers

backers
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This is where losing Von Miller hurts the Denver Broncos the most. While Wesley Woodyard has done an exceptional job in the middle, Nate Irving simply isn’t the player Miller is. For Seattle, Bobby Wagner is one of the top, young linebackers in the league, and while Bruce Irvin saw a drop off in production from his rookie season, he can be a disruptive force when he’s all in. With Miller, Denver would hold the advantage here, however, with the loss of Miller, the Seattle Seahawks have the better linebackers right now.

Advantage: Seahawks

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Secondary

secondary
The Star Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

This one should be obvious, as Seattle has arguably the best secondary in the entire league. With all due respect to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who I believe is an exceptional player, Seattle's “Legion of Boom” is simply too much. Richard Sherman may be outspoken, however, he is among the best corners in the game, while safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor form the best safety duo in the NFL.

Advantage: Seahawks

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Special Teams

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With much respect to the Broncos and record-breaking kicker Matt Prater, Denver’s special teams simply pales in comparison to Seattle’s. The Seahawks have a kicker in Steven Hauschka who is automatic from inside 50 yards, and a punter in Jon Ryan that routinely allows his coverage team to get down the field due to his great hang time on punts. Seattle easily has the best special teams not only in this particular match up, but the best unit in the entire league.

Advantage: Seahawks

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Overview

over
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In a matchup sure to be exceptionally exciting, especially due to the fact that these two teams compare very closely to each other, you almost can’t help but think that Peyton Manning is going to silence the critics here and take out the Seahawks in the biggest game of the year. It’s a close call, but Denver holds the edge in Super Bowl XLVIII.


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