If Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch goes into 'Beast Mode' during the Super Bowl, the Broncos are in trouble. (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images)
Weather or not
The Broncos are probably more worried about the conditions at MetLife Stadium than the Seahawks. The Seahawks operate a run-based offense powered by Marshawn Lynch that is mostly impervious to bad weather. The Broncos, on the other hand, operate an intricate passing game that is predicated on precise timing, accurate routes and throws and Peyton Manningís ability to call the right play against the right defense. If it is windy, if it is wet and slippery, the passing game will be adversely impacted. The latest forecast, though, calls for temperatures in the 40s with a chance of rain. Advantage: Broncos.
Control the Beast
Priority one for the Broncosí defense will be to do what few teams have done in the postseason: keep Lynch out of Beast Mode. Lynch has gained 100 or more yards in six postseason games, including a total of 249 yards in wins against New Orleans and San Francisco this season. The Broncosí run defense has allowed 64.5 yards in two playoff games, and nose guard Terrance Knighton, who will be matched against Seattle center Max Unger, has been in Beast Mode himself the last month or so. He and Broncos linebackers Paris Lenon and Danny Trevathan will be key.
Disturb Peyton's peace
Priority one for the Seahawksí defense will be to do whatever it can to disrupt the timing and rhythm of the Broncosí potent passing game. The Seahawks, by far the best defense in football ó allowing just 231 points and leading nearly every key statistical category ó are built to disrupt. Their corners are big and fast and they love to press (and hold) receivers at the line of scrimmage. Those crossing routes Manning used to frustrate the Patriots in the AFC title game wonít be as easily executed. Manning has not been sacked in the postseason and just 20 times all season, but the Seahawks come hard and fast off the edges and they can hurry and bother Manning without sacking him.
Moment of truth
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has won 27 games and looks to join Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger as the only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl in their first or second season. But his play has been a bit choppy this season, especially late in the season. He has bailed himself and his team out with some clutch throws at key moments, but his overall efficiency is down from last year. The Broncos will certainly load up the box to stop Lynch and force Wilson to beat them another way. Itís been a point of emphasis for Denverís defense this week to force Wilson to make quick decisions. They are going to bring pressure and if they donít sack him, at least force him to make a hurried throw or tuck it and run. They donít want to allow him to extend plays, as he did so well against San Francisco.
For Seattle, certainly, itís all-purpose threat Percy Harvin, right. The Broncos have had to go scout him on film from his Vikings days at Minnesota to get an idea how he might be used in this game. A hip injury kept him out all season and he was concussed in the divisional playoff game. But any other threat that takes a defenderís eyes off Lynch is a plus for Seattle. For Denver, it might be running back Knowshon Moreno. If the Seahawks thin out their defensive front to contend with Manning and his receivers, Moreno could have a big day. And if the Seahawks canít stop the run, they have no shot at slowing the Broncosí offense.