The penultimate stage for American sports is here once again. The Super Bowl XLVIII match-up is finally set as sports fans will take sides between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Two polarizing styles of football, one epic battle. Who are you taking?
Even Las Vegas has had some trouble picking sides in this gridiron showdown. Sports betting sites, like SportsBettingOnline.ag, have given the slight edge to Denver but not by much. Some odds lines have the Broncos favored by up to three points while others say the Seahawks are two-point favorites.
Regardless of the odds, there will be plenty of storylines to follow during the game. Here are the top 5 things to watch:
1. Old School vs New School (Peyton vs Russell)
In today's pass-heavy game, the focus on quarterback play has only intensified. The championship game will shine its bright light on two contrasting quarterbacks: one with an old school, inside-the-pocket approach, the other with a new school, mobile approach that relies on improvisation. Peyton Manning is a first ballot Hall of Famer with a Super Bowl ring to backup his credentials. Russell Wilson is a young, exciting QB with plenty of potential. The clear edge goes to Manning but Wilson isn't a push over and will pose a worthy competition.
2. High Octane Offense vs Lockdown Defense
Besides contrasting QBs, these two teams have completely different identities. The Broncos boast an impressive offense that can score in bunches, while the Seahawks pride themselves on having a staunch defense. We will literally be watching the league's #1 offense play against the #1 defense. It doesn't get any better than that.
3. Richard Sherman’s Mouth
After the Seahawks defeated the 49ers, Richard Sherman made headlines with a controversial post-game interview aimed at Sand Francisco and WR Michael Crabtree. Sherman's rant made it easy for fans to paint him as a villain and jump on board the Broncos bandwagon. Meanwhile, the media will be swarming the Seahawks' outspoken cornerback before and after the game. Should be interesting to hear what Sherman will have to say.
4. Running Back Battle
Marshawn Lynch is called Beast Mode for a reason. His earth-shaking, breakout runs have built that title and earned him a spot as the #6 rusher this season. Denver also presents a surprisingly strong ground game spearheaded by Knowshon Moreno (#12 on the list). While passing will be the main course, running will be a strong side dish that will determine who takes the prize.
5. Battle of the Elements
Last but not least, we should not ignore the weather in this year's Super Bowl. Forecast predictions have the temperature around 19 degrees with wind gusts nearing 20 mph. Little to no chance of rain or snow but this is the first cold weather Super Bowl in recent history. Both teams will be battling more than each other, which will make for a more entertaining game.