Defense wins championships, right?
I’ve had a change of heart over the past two or three days over that phrase. But I’m on record (Thursday’s “The Rundown”) so I’ll still pick Seattle to win on Sunday.
I’ll trust Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to at least try to disguise his top-ranked unit more than he usually does. After all, he hasn’t had to do that much. They’re that good. Maybe he’s been saving those disguises in hopes that Peyton Manning can figure them out a little less frequently if he hasn’t seen them before. Seattle’s success and swagger has come largely from a "what you see is what you get" attitude — maybe throw in a blitz or three.
I’ll still hope that Seattle’s immensely talented defensive backfield can effectively use their bump-and-run to disrupt the Broncos’ timing routes long enough for Manning to hold on to the ball longer than he normally does, allowing Quinn’s D-line rotation to squeeze him out of the pocket he’s usually so comfortable in.
I’ll think that Seattle’s “beast mode” can be a little more beastly after being forced to answer questions from the media all week, and help Russell Wilson and company control the clock against a Denver defense that’s been very good in two playoff games despite surviving some serious losses on that side of the ball.
I’ll also expect an impact play on special teams to go Seattle’s way, either leading directly to points on the board, or setting them up.
I’ll ignore the fact that the company this Seahawks “D” is trying to join — the 1985 Bears and the 2000 Ravens — didn’t have to face a quarterback the caliber of this one. The Bears’ finishing touch came against Tony Eason. The Ravens’ exclamation point came against Kerry Collins. Joining that company by overcoming Manning would be a huge statement. I’ll trust they’ll bend, but only be broken twice by touchdowns.
My doubts have grown as the week’s gone on. But I’ll keep my word.
Seahawks 27, Broncos 23