Here are three matchups that Denver will exploit in Super Bowl XLVIII.
3. WR2 Eric Decker vs. CB2 Byron Maxwell
Decker dominated all regular season. He amassed 87 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's slowed down in the postseason, but with Richard Sherman likely to defend Demaryius Thomas, Decker should receive more targets, an opportunity he'll take advantage of.
Maxwell, who's started the past seven games for the Seahawks in place of the suspended Brandon Browner, has played extremely well. He recorded four interceptions over the course of four games.
2. RE Shaun Phillips vs. LT Russell Okung
Phillips racked up 10 sacks in the regular season. He wasted no time adding to his total in the playoffs, dragging Philip Rivers to the turf twice in the divisional round.
Expect the veteran pass-rusher to give Okung fits on Super Bowl Sunday.
Okung is a Pro Bowler, but—perhaps due to injury—he's struggled this season. Aldon Smith evaded Okung to sack Russell Wilson twice in the NFC Championship. Pro Football Focus ranked the Seahawks' offensive line as a whole just the 26th-best in the league and noted that Okung's play is "a level or three below [its] usual high standard."
1. WR3 Wes Welker vs. CB3 Walter Thurmond
Welker is a five-time Pro Bowler who not only has Super Bowl experience, but holds a share of the Super Bowl record for most receptions in a game with 11.
An injury that kept him out of three regular-season games kept him from surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the third straight season. However, he still managed to reel in 11 touchdowns, including one in the playoffs.
Thurmond, like Maxwell, is a talented corner, but he, like Maxwell, is simply overmatched.
He's been starting at nickelback for the Seahawks since returning from suspension. Thurmond hasn't seen a more talented No. 3 wideout this season, not to mention Welker's invaluable big-game experience.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.
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