Two Super Bowl contenders will collide in preseason action when the Denver Broncos visit the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, Aug. 17.
The Broncos opened up their preseason in somewhat hum-drum fashion last week. Peyton Manning threw just four passes, the offense failed to score a touchdown and highly regarded rookie running back Montee Ball gained just nine yards on five carries.
Still, the team had to be happy to pick up a win and walk away relatively healthy.
The Seahawks opened up in slightly more spectacular fashion, as their depth led to a 31-10 victory. Russell Wilson was just 2-of-6 passing in his limited appearance, but rookie running back Christine Michael stole the show, carrying the ball 16 times for 89 yards.
With the first game now in the books and both teams being a week closer to the actual season, expect Manning, Wilson, Lynch and the other stars involved in this game to see a little bit more action and give fans a small taste of what they're in for the this season.
Here's your go-to guide with all the information you need to take in this appetizer to a successful season for both franchises.
Where: CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash.
When: Saturday, Aug. 17 at 10:00 p.m. ET
Watch: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL.com (subscription required)
Spread: Seahawks -5 (via Bovada)
Injury Updates (via CBS Sports)
Denver Player to Watch: Montee Ball, RB
When the Denver Broncos used their second-round pick on Wisconsin running back Montee Ball in April's NFL draft, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would be the starter in the backfield from day one.
So far, that's just not the case.
According to ESPN's AFC West blogger Jeff Legwold, the record-setting collegian is "still slightly behind" Ronnie Hillman in the running back rotation. Obviously, that's not a final indictment on what Ball will become for the Broncos this season, but it does indicate that John Fox needs to see more from the rookie before crowning him the starter.
Ball ran for just nine yards on five carries in his preseason debut last week, while Hillman had just three carries for nine yards.
Neither back really got a huge opportunity to prove himself in game action, so this one should be a much larger showcase. A big performance from Ball would go a long way in distancing himself from Hillman for the job.
Seattle Player to Watch: Russell Wilson, QB
There's no questioning the incredible impact that Russell Wilson had on this Seahawks team last season. He took Seattle from a good team that relied on a scary-good defense and ground-and-pound offense to physically dominate every opponent to a complete team that can beat you in a variety of ways.
This year, his greatest enemy will be regression. Avoiding a sophomore slump and building upon what he started last season will be the deciding factors in whether this team capitalizes on its potential as a Super Bowl winner or takes a step back in 2013.
The first preseason game isn't the best barometer for what Wilson will do this year, but he'll certainly want to improve his second time out. He completed just two of his six passes and gained nine yards rushing in his limited action.
There's no reason to sound any alarms yet, but it will be important for him to get on the same page with his receivers before the season starts, and extended playing time in game No. 2 should be the perfect platform for him to do just that.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Broncos 17
Pete Carroll and Co. have done a tremendous job of building a deep football team in Seattle, and it's showed in the preseason. The Seahawks got the blowout win in their first game and will continue to show off that depth as the preseason wears on.
The Broncos' running back battle will make things interesting, as Ball and Hillman will each be looking to make a statement, but the 'Hawks have a running back battle of their own. While Michael tore up the first game, Robert Turbin returned to the team this week, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
With Turbin anxious to remain the backup after his own impressive rookie campaign last year, the Seahawks have plenty of reserves that will be eager to lead them to victory in front of a home crowd.