Super Bowl Predictions 2013: Defensive Secondaries Will Propel Falcons, Broncos

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIJanuary 7, 2013

Champ Bailey, not Peyton Manning, will be the key to the Broncos getting to the Super Bowl.
Champ Bailey, not Peyton Manning, will be the key to the Broncos getting to the Super Bowl.Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The secondaries, and not the quarterbacks, will propel the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons into the Super Bowl.

While the focus will be on Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan leading their teams, both secondaries will prove to be the X-factors.

Denver is led by Champ Bailey, while Atlanta has Asante Samuel who is the lead dog.

Combine the other players around each, and you have the makings of exciting playoff action.

Here's a breakdown of each secondary:


Denver Broncos

The Broncos ranked third in the NFL during the regular season in passing yards allowed (199.6).

Denver allowed six 100-yard receivers in 2012 with three being to tight ends. Can you really fault the secondary on that one? Well, maybe the safeties.

Where the Broncos are good is in Bailey. Although he's an old man at 35, Bailey still finds a way to be one of the best corners in the NFL.

He doesn't do it with the hype or publicity that a guy like Darrelle Revis does, but Bailey is still one of the best. This is further evidenced by his 12 selections to the Pro Bowl.

Then, there's Chris Harris on the other side, who had two interception returns for touchdowns.

Every time Harris gets his hands on the ball, he has the ability to take the ball all the way back, which changes the game in an instant.

Rahim Moore and Mike Adams are both big hitters in the secondary who also do well in coverage.

They do take some fault in three tight ends gaining over 100 yards, but they've done their jobs this season.

All of the hoopla for the Broncos has been with the offense and Manning. After everyone gets over that, then they turn to the linebackers led by Von Miller. Then there is the defensive line, which includes Elvis Dumervil and Derek Wolfe.

Then, you have the secondary led by Bailey.

They don't get the hype, but they get the job done.


Atlanta Falcons

When the Falcons lost cornerback Brent Grimes at the beginning of the season, most fans never thought they could go 13-3.

Grimes was the best corner on the team, and Dunta Robinson was going to be forced to cover on the outside again.

With the addition of Asante Samuel in the offseason, the Falcons all of a sudden had one of the best secondaries in football. Samuel and Grimes would cover the outside, while Robinson would be on the inside, which is where he was more comfortable.

Then Grimes went out with an injury, forcing Robinson to go back outside.

However, the secondary didn't miss a beat, as they performed above expectations this year. Five players grabbed 17 interceptions, including interceptions by William Moore, Thomas DeCoud and Robert McClain against Manning.

When it comes to being ball hawks, the Falcons are certainly that in the secondary.

Atlanta has been known to give up a few yards in the passing game (242.4) per game, but also allowed a league-low 14 passing touchdowns.

At the end of the day, it's not about how many yards you give up. It's about how many points you allow on the scoreboard. And the Falcons secondary isn't allowing much.



There is obviously more to the success of a team than its secondary. After all, it takes a team effort to win a game, especially in the playoffs.

In this passing league, secondary players are becoming as important as the left tackle on offense.

When you have shutdown corners, you slow down the quarterback's greatest weapon—his arm.

If the secondaries of the Broncos and Falcons can do what they're capable of, there's no doubt they will be playing each other in the Super Bowl.