After months of waiting, the 2014 Super Bowl is now just days away.
The biggest stage in all of sports this season features the offensive powerhouse of the Denver Broncos versus the gritty defense and pounding offense of the Seattle Seahawks—two of the favorites to meet up before the season started.
Several storylines have dominated the two weeks leading up to the big game thus far, but only a few of them will actually impact the game. Things such as Richard Sherman's trash talk and Marshawn Lynch signing an endorsement deal with Skittles will hardly be important when the game kicks off.
Here is all the game information fans want to know and a few headlines to watch for that could very well have a huge impact on the game.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV Info: Fox
Live Stream: Fox Sports GO
Spread: Denver (-3) according to Bovada
How Will Percy Harvin Affect the Game?
Percy Harvin hasn't exactly been a huge factor in the Seahawks' success this season, to say the least.
But when Seattle sets foot on the biggest stage, it will be with Harvin in uniform and ready to produce, according to Kevin Patra of NFL.com.
The announcement certainly caught the attention of Champ Bailey, who has suffered through a few injuries of his own this season. Bailey said the following about Harvin, per Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post:
That's a dangerous man right there. ... He can change the game if you allow him to. I remember playing him when he was in Minnesota, and he's one of the most explosive guys coming off the ball.
I don't know how they are going to use him. We don't have a lot of tape on him, if any, but they are going to use him. You don't have a weapon like that and not use it.
Harvin's impact thus far hasn't been great, but he can certainly explode if he's given the chance. The Broncos will have to prepare for the unknown with Harvin, who has only suited up twice for the Seahawks in his first season with the team.
Though little is known about how much he will be able to help Seattle, the team could certainly use him, especially with the limited talent in the receiving corps. The Broncos might be able to easily neutralize Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, but with Harvin on the field, they will be forced to cover three playmaking receivers.
Weather Conditions During the Game
Oh, so you've heard it's going to be cold during the Super Bowl? With the event being held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., it is likely going to be cold at kickoff and throughout the game.
According to The Weather Channel, the forecast looks like it could be near freezing at the start of the game but below freezing near the end.
While several questions have been raised about Peyton Manning's ability to perform in colder conditions, the Broncos signal-caller doesn't appear to be worried about the weather, according to Bob Ehalt of The Denver Post:
The weather is going to be what it's going to be. One of the good things is that we've been able to practice all week in it (at the New York Jets' outdoor facility). We have played in different types of conditions this year and last year, so I think our team is prepared for it. I think we'll be able to handle it no matter what the conditions are.
The conditions not only affect Manning but could also change the way the game is played, as the teams' running games could become the biggest factor.
If it comes down to that, both Knowshon Moreno and Lynch will be ready to carry the load. While Lynch is seen as the more explosive back, Moreno has experienced a breakout season and is running well in the postseason.
Broncos Passing Game vs. Seahawks Passing Defense
When it comes to the matchups throughout the game, watching the Broncos receivers and Manning take on the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL will be the biggest one to watch.
The aforementioned weather could play a part in the matchup, but thinking that Manning will shy away from trying to pass the ball to his plethora of receivers is a bit foolish, regardless of the conditions. One matchup that's gotten a lot of attention this week is the potential of Demaryius Thomas going against Sherman.
Manning spoke at media day about having to take on Sherman, according to Ehalt:
Sherman is an excellent player. On film, he's impressive to watch. He's an extremely talented player, and you can tell he's a bright player. A lot of guys are smart, but not quite as talented or talented and not quite as experienced or intelligent. He's both and that's what makes him such an efficient cover corner.
One of the reasons those two impact players will be so important is because of the impact they've had to this point. Both were great in the regular season but have been instrumental in the playoffs.
Sherman made the biggest play of the playoffs so far after being thrown to just twice in the NFC Championship Game. The game ended with a tipped pass and a subsequent rant by Sherman to Erin Andrews of Fox Sports.
Thomas has hauled in at least seven receptions in both games in the postseason and holds an average of 104.4 receiving yards in his playoff career. Pro Football Focus shows why that type of production might be difficult when facing Sherman:
Sherman is a fantastic cover corner, but he isn't the only player in the Seattle secondary to watch for when the game gets underway.
Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas have combined, along with Sherman, to create one of the most dominant secondaries in the NFL. They'll be facing a Broncos receiving group that includes Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. This is the matchup that keeps on giving.
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