The Seattle Seahawks were able to advance to the Super Bowl after defeating the division rival San Francisco 49ers by a score of 23-17 in the NFC Championship. Despite the win, and the trip to the big dance, quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense still have plenty to prove when they face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in two weeks.
Wilson has done a fine job managing games in the 2013-14 playoffs; however, that will simply not be enough Feb. 2 when they head to MetLife Stadium.
Wilson is still a young quarterback, and he has plenty of room to continue to improve. This second-year signal-caller still does not have a huge amount of playoff experience, winning three-of-four postseason games in his short career.
He is capable of producing some big numbers, as he did in last year’s playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons. Wilson was able to put up 385 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the loss.
It will take a similar performance from Wilson to keep up against the explosive Broncos.
This year, Wilson has yet to experience another road playoff game. Matching up against the Broncos in an unfamiliar territory will be as great of a task as he has faced during his career.
Winning at home in front of their mass amount of fans is one thing for the Seahawks. All NFL teams struggle to compete in CenturyLink Field. However, it is Wilson and the Seattle offense that has been able to just barely churn out victories at home.
They must prove they can do it on the road against the NFL’s elite.
Yes, Wilson will be facing off against a softer defense when he faces the Broncos, but he has yet to prove that he can be a dynamic quarterback in the postseason:
|Russell Wilson's Stats in 2013-14 Playoffs|
Wilson will get his chance to shine against the Broncos. The 49ers and the New Orleans Saints ranked seventh and second against the pass during the 2013-14 regular season, respectively. The Broncos ranked just 27th.
Wilson does not need to take the full burden on his shoulders, however. Running back Marshawn Lynch has been spectacular in the postseason so far:
|Marshawn Lynch's Stats in 2013-14 Playoffs|
Logical thinking suggests that the Seahawks should enter the game with a run-heavy offensive scheme. A balanced offense may be a good idea; however, a run-oriented offense could set Seattle up for failure.
Denver has been paying a great amount of attention to stopping the run over the postseason. The New England Patriots came into Sports Authority Field at Mile High Sunday boasting one of the NFL's most recently elite rushing offenses.
The Broncos put that to a halt quickly:
|Patriots' Running Game in 2013-14 Playoffs|
The Broncos put an emphasis on stopping the run against the Patriots and forced them to beat them through the air—a rather daunting task when head-to-head against Manning.
Seattle did have the league's top-ranked pass defense in the regular season; however, it will take more than their impressive secondary to slow Manning down.
It all relies on the offense for Seattle. Rest assured, the Broncos will get their points—they've done so all season, averaging 37.9 points per game during the regular season.
Wilson and Co. will not have to deliver a 40-point performance to emerge victorious, although they simply need to do more than they have in recent weeks. They will need more than a handful of big plays to emerge victorious once again.
They say that defenses win championships; however, in this instance, they are going to need a little help from the offensive side of the ball.