The Denver Broncos are going to the Super Bowl. As clichéd as it sounds, the team as a whole was able to push through a ridiculously large amount of adversity throughout the season and now they are just one game away from claiming football’s ultimate prize.
Since Super Bowl XLVIII isn’t until next week, I’ll hold off on my usual “The Broncos will win if:” articles I normally put out. Instead this week I’m just going to round up a variety of factors that might affect the game next week.
The weather: I’ll be the first one to say that I really don’t trust weather reports at all, but I will admit that the 7 day forecast was pretty accurate last week when it came to predicting the weather in Denver. According to weather.com, there might be some snow and the temperature should be around the 20’s or the 30’s.
I really don’t think the weather matters that much in terms of snow and temperature though. As long as the snow is light it shouldn’t affect grip or footing, and (as we saw in Green Bay a few weeks ago) temperature really doesn’t affect athletes once the game actually starts.
However, if the wind is bad it could potentially cause some problems. Peyton Manning’s throwing arm has been getting stronger, and he has thrown less “wounded ducks” ever since his ankle healed. That said, he still doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, and (might be stretching here) strong wind might make it hard for receivers to hear his post huddle calls.
Knowshon Moreno’s ribs are fine: He returned to practice this week, and even if his ribs are still causing him trouble I expect him to perform at a high level against the Seahawks. Moreno and Montee Ball have obviously been a huge part of the Broncos post-season.
Because the backfield has been consistent Peyton Manning has been able to use play action succesfully in the Broncos two playoff games. The Seahawks have a great secondary, but they can be a little too aggressive at times, if a healthy Moreno is able to run against the Seahawks I think Broncos receivers are going to be able to get open against the Seahawks defense, especially on play action.
Matt Prater is sick: Matt Prater has missed three straight practices due to an illness. The Broncos have already had one player go down for a significant time this year due to injury, in fact defensive tackle Derek Wolfe might miss the Super Bowlbecause of an illness that he’s been battling all season. It doesn’t appear that Prater’s illness is anywhere near as severe as Wolfe’s is though, and he should be fine for the Super Bowl.
However, if Prater’s sickness does hold him out of Sunday’s game the results could be disastrous for the Broncos. Prater is a two-headed monster when it comes to kicking the ball. Prater kicked 81 touchbacks out of 114 overall kickoffs, and the average return against him was only 29.7 yards and he only missed one field goal kick in the regular season (while setting an NFL record with a 64 yarder.)