Super Bowl Preview: Defense

Alex Hoysradt: Staff Writer

Defensive Line: In recent weeks, the Denver Broncos defensive line has been playing stoutly. Led by Terrance Knighton, this group was able to shutdown a potent New England running game. The Broncos line is much stronger on the right. The right features Knighton and Shaun Phillips, while the left features Malik Jackson and Sylvester Williams. Looking at the stats for these players, the ones on the right side have superior numbers in almost all defensive categories. Seattle’s D-line on the other hand is strong across the board. With players like Brandon Mebane, Cliff Avril, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Michael Bennett, this group sacked the quarterback 30 times combined this season. They have also played the run very well and controlled the line of scrimmage.

Advantage: Seattle

Linebacker: With Von Miller out for the year, the Broncos linebacking corp took a big hit and with Wesley Woodyard recently being benched for veteran Paris Lenon, things did not look bright for Denver’s linebackers. But they have performed capably this postseason. Consisting of Lenon, Danny Trevathian and Nate Irving, this is a solid group but are dwarfed in comparison to Seattle. Seattle’s middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is a top notch talent posting 120 tackles and five sacks on the year. To complement him, Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith man the left and right linebacker spots respectively. This group is young, fast and talented.

Advantage: Seattle

Defensive Back: After 15 seasons, veteran Champ Bailey is going to his first Super Bowl. But he and his teammates will have to go blow for blow with Seattle’s talented secondary. Denver’s defensive backs have had their share of injuries this season, most notably Chris Harris going down a couple of weeks ago. This group still has enough talent to get the job done with Mike Adams, Duke Ihenacho and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Seattle boasts a very talented group, led by Richard Sherman,  Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell. These guys are a physical presence on the field that can have an effect on opposing receivers. Despite both secondary’s being talented, this is no contest.

Advantage: Seattle

Total Defense: Seattle clearly has the edge in terms of defense. They were the number one defense this season for a reason. They led the league in Total Defense (273.6 Yards allowed per game), Interceptions (28), and Passing (172 yards per game allowed). For Denver, they were the 19th ranked defense in the league with 356 yards allowed per game. The numbers don’t lie. Remember the old adage, defense wins championships.

Advantage: Seattle

Mike Glennon

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