By Kimberly Jones
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — It’s Friday and the talking is done. As for all that conversation and speculation about the weather? The forecast now is for temperatures in the upper 40s. We’ll take it.
So, in anticipating Seahawks vs. Broncos, Sunday night, in Super Bowl 48, we think about some big hits and big plays. Let’s take a look at the game, by the numbers. Credit to my NFL Network research packet, which is immense, for the more intense number-crunching.
1. This is the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl. As we all know. The post-event aftermath and evaluation will be fascinating. Will there be another?
2. If you had a bracket – or were still alive in a knockout pool – chalk won during these playoffs. For only the second time in the past 20 seasons, the game will features two No. 1 seeds. Coincidentally, Peyton Manning played in the other one, Super Bowl XLIV: New Orleans vs. Indianapolis in 2009.
3. This is the third time that both teams played in the Super Bowl stadium during the regular season. (And both teams beat the Giants.) The Broncos won at MetLife Stadium in Week 2, the Seahawks in Week 15. In 2009, the Saints and Colts both played at Miami in the regular season; in 2003, the Panthers and Patriots both played at Houston in the regular season. In both cases, the team that played at the Super Bowl site later won the Super Bowl.
4. Peyton Manning is the fourth QB in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl after leading the NFL in passing yards and passing TDs. Tom Brady (2007), Kurt Warner (2001) and Dan Marino (1984) were the others, and all three lost in the Super Bowl.
5. The top-scoring offense and No. 1 defense in points allowed have played five times in Super Bowl history. Four of the five matchups were won by the teams with the No. 1 defense. The only top-scoring offense to beat a top-scoring defense was the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV, beating the Broncos 55-10.
6. The Seahawks believe this will be a different game — much different — than the AFC Championship, played in Denver’s altitude and against the Patriots and their beat-up defense. For Seattle’s sake, it has to be. Peyton was a machine for parts of that game, and the Broncos scored on six consecutive drives (two touchdowns, four field goals), which represents the longest such streak ever recorded in an AFC or NFC Championship Game.
7. We don’t talk much about the Denver defense, but if it can contain Russell Wilson by rushing four and dropping seven, it could be a long day for the Seahawks offense. Marshawn Lynch, obviously and unquestionably, is a key to this game. But if Wilson’s close in the fourth quarter, watch out. He does some of his best work then: a 93.1 passer rating the regular season, 107.2 in postseason.
8. We pay so much attention to what he says, but Richard Sherman is a heck of a player. He led the NFL with eight interceptions, and his opposing passer rating of 47.3 was the best of any defensive back in the league (according to Pro Football Focus).
9. Kind of, sort of, totally random: In the last nine Super Bowl, the teams that wear white jerseys have won eight times. As the designated “home team,” the AFC had a choice this year. The Broncos decided to wear orange, so Seattle wears white.
10. A lot of these numbers/stats/random notes seem to favor the Seahawks. Not this one. Three coaches have gone at least 10 years between appearances in the Super Bowl – Dick Vermeil, George Hallas and Bill Cowher. Each won in his return trip. John Fox has not been to the Super Bowl since his Panthers lost to the Patriots in 2003.
11. This is fact-based, not a commentary on Peyton’s legacy. (We’re tired of that.) Peyton Manning has a winning percentage of .500 in the playoffs (11-11), which is the lowest winning percentage among the five NFL QBs with at least 20 postseason starts. With a win Super Bowl Sunday, Manning would move a game closer to Brett Favre, whose .542 winning percentage in the postseason (13- 11) ranks fourth. The top three on the distinguished list: Joe Montana (.696), Tom Brady (.692), and John Elway (.667).
12. If this game were played in Seattle, we’d make this about the 12th man, or as Pete Carroll calls them, “the 12s.” (We like that.) And we suspect they’ll make their presence known Sunday night.
But a 12-mile walk trumps that here. Credit Denver safety — and Paterson, N.J., native — Mike Adams with one of the quotes of the week.
“If we win the Super Bowl, I’m going to keep my helmet and pads on and I’m walking home,” Adams said. In a week where preparation is key, the man has a plan. “After I get to the IHOP on Route 3, I’ll start hitchhiking,” a laughing Adams said. “But they’d probably think I’m just some crazy person.”
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