Super Bowl – Ones to Watch

Our man inside the numbers, Matt King, dives head first into his last post of this popular feature and brings you his view of who could be the game changers this coming Sunday.

Here we are. The final stop of the season. Welcome to New York/New Jersey for the game that really matters.

If you look back to the opening weeks of the season, was this matchup ever really in any doubt? There were times in the mid-season when it could have been, for instance Tom Brady’s come from behind win, and the Seahawks lost at home one time, but in the long term, this was always the most likely matchup, and so it proved with the Championship game victories to get here.

In those games, the Broncos looked most dominant, as they kept a Patriots team largely off the board until well into the second half, but by then they already had more than enough to win the game, and the Seahawks survived early scares from the 49ers to finally prevail by a score.

Before I get to the all-important “Ones to Watch”, take a moment to muse about overachievers and underachievers of the year, which is difficult to call at this point, and we all know teams that were meant to do better, and the teams that weren’t supposed to do as well…

Now, the “Ones to Watch”, and one final reminder of how they ended the regular season on offence, defence, passing and rushing before breaking down the individuals’ stats.

Firstly Seattle who stood like this Offense 17th, Defence 1st, 26th in passing and 4th in rushing.
To counter, the Broncos had these numbers 1st in Offense, 19th in Defence, 1st in passing and 15th in rushing.

The Seahawks Ones to watch are:

Bobby Wagner: Throughout the post season has made 24 combined tackles [12 total, 12 assisted] 0 interceptions and 0 forced fumbles [his regular season numbers read 120 combined tackles {72 total 48 assisted} 5.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles and 2 INTs] . As a second year player, this playoff run will have done his game a world of good, and will have a good challenge ahead of him in the Super Bowl “Legion of Boom” notwithstanding.

Doug Baldwin: So far in the playoffs has 8 receptions totalling 136 yards which average 17.0 yards per catch scoring 0 Touchdowns. This could change in the Super bowl if he can continue to put up such massive averages particularly against the Broncos D. His regular season numbers were [50 receptions for 778 yards at an average of 15.6 yards and scoring 5 times. These numbers would indicate that he is right in line with his normal season numbers, although he has a career average of 14.9 yards per reception and his five touchdowns made a new career high. As a 3rd year player, Baldwin should build on this, and as the Seahawks get better his numbers will continue to rise.

The Broncos Ones to watch are:

Wes Welker: Throughout the playoffs so far [new helmet in tow] he has made 10 receptions for 76 yards at an average of 7.6 yards per catch and scoring one touchdown. In the regular season he had 73 receptions for 778 yards at an average of 10.7 yards per catch and scoring 10 touchdowns. Welker was also one of five options to score double digit touchdowns this season for the same team. Incredible offensive effort from the Broncos. Arguably, he could have had more, but like in so many seasons past, injury curtailed his stellar year. Even had he stayed fully healthy though, he likely wouldn’t have surpassed his career high in yards [1,569] or average per catch [12.9] which were set in 2011 while with Brady’s Patriots. Welker is also a key reason why the Patriots aren’t in this game, as his influence was missed by many over in Foxboro, but by Brady the most who had no real source of consistency around him.

Terrance Knighton: Through the postseason has made 7 combined tackles [6 total, 1 assisted] 1.0 sack, 0 Forced Fumbles. During the regular season his numbers were 31 combined tackles [18 total, 13 assisted] 3.0 sacks, 1 Interception and 0 Forced Fumbles. As a 5th year guy, he is finally starting to recreate the form in which he set the league alight in his rookie season, back in 2009 with the Jaguars. Will look to continue this upward trend next season, and will it be for the world champion Denver Broncos?

Well, there we have it, and it all begins on Sunday and I made it without mentioning the best corner in the game.

It’s Top left. Lovely.

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