The Super Bowl is the king of American sporting events. The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will compete at MetLife Stadium in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014, and the eyes of the nation will be watching to see which team will claim the Lombardi Trophy.
Everything about the NFL's championship game is big.
Big commercials, big parties, big ratings and big plays usually rule the day. The NFL provides America's favorite sport, and the title game always provides compelling action.
These reasons, among others, are why the Super Bowl is "the most watched television event" every year, according to Anthony Riccobono of IBTimes.com, who notes this year's event will likely exceed last year's viewership of 108 million.
The league and its partners have put together many ways of following the action. Here's a quick look at when and where you can watch the game, along with radio and live streaming information, followed by a closer examination of the game itself.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio
Betting Info (via Bovada)
- Over/Under: 47 points
- Spread: Denver (-3)
It doesn't always happen like this, but the best two teams during the regular season also proved to be the best two playoff teams. The Seahawks and Broncos both finished with identical 15-3 records (including postseason) and reached the big game as top seeds in their respective conferences.
Denver features the league's top-ranked offense in terms of both total yardage and scoring, while Seattle comes in with the NFL's top-ranked scoring defense and allowed just 172 passing yards per game during the regular season, the best mark in the league.
Peyton Manning smashed the league's single-season passing records for yards and touchdowns. However, he and his offense will be thoroughly tested by Richard Sherman and Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary.
"That's the matchup everybody is going to be talking about, Peyton Manning vs. the Legion of Boom," Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox color analyst Troy Aikman said, via Mike Klis of The Denver Post. "I'm excited to see it."
It's not the only big matchup worth watching, though.
Marshawn Lynch comes into the Super Bowl on a tear, having racked up 249 rushing yards and three touchdowns against New Orleans and San Francisco in Seattle's first two postseason games.
In particular, his 109-yard performance against the 49ers is noteworthy, considering San Francisco featured the league's No. 4-ranked run defense during the regular season and knew he was coming strong all day long.
But Lynch enforced his will on the 49ers and broke theirs in the process.
Denver's defense, led by linebacker Danny Trevathan and nose tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton, will have its hands full all game long.
We've seen Seattle's defense shut down potent offenses before, but it remains to be seen whether Manning can find a way to get the job done against such a stingy pass defense.
If Manning struggles, then the Broncos won't stand a chance of winning the game.
On the other side, Seattle can win a few different ways. Sometimes it's Lynch who breaks off a few big runs to spark the win, other times it's Russell Wilson with a few key passes, and then there's always the chance the secondary wins the game by itself with a score or two.
One key element that remains a bit of a mystery is Percy Harvin. The talented playmaker is set to play after clearing league concussion protocols, as noted by Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he'll have after missing nearly the entire season.
B/R's Tyson Langland provided some perspective on the matter back in November:
Harvin’s presence alone will make the Seahawks the scariest team from now until the end of the season. The fifth-year veteran out of Florida is a versatile player with an unmatched ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
Denver's secondary has been running thin all year long. The injury to cornerback Chris Harris will be keenly felt in this upcoming game, as Harvin's speed will lead to some breakdowns in coverage.
Which team will win Super Bowl XLVIII?
Lynch will pound the rock between the tackles on the ground, chewing up valuable yardage and the clock, thus keeping Manning on the sideline. When Manning does make it onto the field, he's going to find it difficult to move the ball against Seattle's defense.
This game will be close until the end, when Seattle will emerge victorious.
Projected Final Score
Seahawks win 23-21
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