If you are going to scheme to stop a quarterback who set records with 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdown passes, you are going to need to have some serious talent and confidence on the back end.
If any team can slow Peyton Manning's receiving quartet, it is the Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom.
"We wouldn’t have it any other way," Sherman said in the NFL media notes. "They're an unbelievable record-setting offense with a Hall of Fame quarterback. That's as tough as it gets. The No. 1 defense against the No. 1 offense."
The Denver Broncos can scheme to find mismatches against most teams, but finding them against shutdown corner Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas, strong safety Kam Chancellor, right corner Byron Maxwell and nickel corner Walter Thurmond is a much taller order.
Sherman broke his secondary down in his media session upon arriving Sunday night, according to the transcript at NFL media (access required).
L-O-B, Legion of Boom, it's brought us together as a secondary and really brought us together as a family and a brotherhood. It gave us something to fall back on, something that we really could tip our hat on, that we could really say, 'We've made it. We made this. This is who we are. This is what we are. This is our personality. This is our group.'
I think it also shows the depth. Legion is a vast army. It shows the depth and incorporates everything into it. We boom. You've got Kam Chancellor out there who's probably the most physical safety in the league. He booms. He's the enforcer in the Legion of Boom. Earl Thomas is a speed demon. Byron Maxwell makes plays every game. I think all that comes together, all the guys are together a great group.
For the team, we try to be the spark plug. We've tried to be the energy. When a play needs to be made, we try to be the guys to make the play. I think our team accepts and appreciates our role.
In this matchup, Sherman can lock up on Demaryius Thomas; they both stand 6'3". Thomas can run with Wes Welker out of the slot. Maxwell has more than held his own in Brandon Browner's absence (suspension) and is expected to match up with Eric Decker.
Once Thomas, Welker and Decker are neutralized, Denver is used to holding a trump card with physical and fast tight end Julius Thomas. Well, Seattle has Chancellor's physicality and Thurmond's athleticism still to burn.
No one stops Manning or his four elite targets. The one team that held him under 265 passing yards and to two touchdowns—New England on Nov. 24—was ripped for 400 yards passing when it truly mattered in the AFC Championship Game. That went down as only the fifth time in postseason history a quarterback threw for 400 yards without an interception, according to those aforementioned media notes.
Seattle won't be out to stop Manning and his targets as much as contain them. That defense has more than talent enough to limit Denver's passing offense.