The Broncos have a very good front seven to go with their iffy secondary, although cornerback Champ Bailey is certainly a bright spot, and he will be in an important role come Sunday.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is best known for his ability to run just as well as he throws, and he will be a tough player to limit when these two teams meet. That being said, Denver has a good chance at stopping him.
As Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton has said, according to Michael David Smith of NBCSports.com, Wilson has certain tendencies as a passer that Denver has picked up on as a defense. "His tendency is that he is a right-handed quarterback; he wants to get out to his right and throw," Knighton said. He continued:
...we’ve got to do a good job of keeping him in the pocket and force him out of his comfort zone. When he’s moving left he’ll tend to run it more and when he’s moving right he wants to pass it more. We just have to do a good job of containing him. He’ll get out and he’ll make his plays during the game, but we’ll just have to limit them.
Knowing that they likely won't be able to play a perfect game against Wilson, the Broncos must focus on containing him as much as they can.
Knighton, along with the rest of Denver's defensive line, has done well in the team's last two playoff games.
They're one of the league's best when it comes to stopping the run, and if they can slow down Marshawn Lynch and make Wilson beat them with his arm, then they will have much better luck.
As I mentioned above, Denver's front seven is very good.
They should be able to contain Wilson and keep him in the pocket. If they can do that, then they will be able to put some pressure on him and knock Wilson off his track.
Wilson has not had a whole lot of success passing over the past month or so, and that could catch up to him in this game.
He's only thrown for over 200 yards once in Seattle's last four games, and has a 5-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio over their past six contests.
|Opponent||Passing Yards||TDs||INTs||QB Rating|
|San Francisco 49ers||199||1||1||81.9|
|New York Giants||206||1||1||86.3|
|St. Louis Rams||172||1||0||102.1|
|New Orleans Saints*||103||0||0||67.6|
|San Francisco 49ers*||215||1||0||104.6|
|Average per game||167.1||.83||.5||81.5|
Denote playoffs* (Pro Football Reference)
Given that Knighton and the rest of the defense are aware of Wilson's general tendencies and will be focused on keeping him inside the hash marks, Bailey will have more freedom to take risks when he sees the opportunity.
Although it's safe to say Bailey has passed his prime, he is still one of the smartest corners in the league.
Bailey's been around the block many-a-time and has been in big game after big game. Wilson, on the other hand, is still finding his way as an NFL passer.
Bailey's veteran savvy will surely be in play come Sunday, and that could be the X-factor in this game.
Denver's allowing an average of just 69 rushing yards per game in the playoffs and looks as good as they have all season.
If Denver can manage to keep Lynch at bay and Wilson in the pocket, then Seattle will have a tough time keeping up.
All the Broncos need to do is take the running game away from Wilson and the Seahawks, and they will have taken the life out of their offense. Wilson will struggle without a running game to lean on, and Denver can capitalize on that.