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Super Bowl XLVIII Preview — Five Things to Watch For

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview
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Just one more NFL game remains to be played this season: the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII . Here are five things to watch for in Sunday’s Big Game.

NFL Super Bowl XLVIII Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Sunday, February 2, 6:30 p.m. on Fox

1. Peyton Manning vs. the Legion of Boom

Peyton Manning leads the Broncos’ top-ranked offense against Seattle’s Legion of Boom secondary, the NFL’s best pass defense. The key is not if Manning can beat Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, but whether Denver receivers Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker can.

2. Containing the Beast

Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is known for his “Beast Mode” runs over and through opposing defenses. The Broncos ranked seventh in the NFL against the run and use their quickness to close gaps. The Seahawks may use Lynch to help set up Russell Wilson’s passing game against a Broncos pass defense that ranked 27th in the NFL.

3. Big Plays Change Everything

Few reports have mentioned Seattle’s 40-10 preseason win over the Broncos, mainly because it was the preseason. While both teams were trying out players, the Seahawks did get several big plays, including a 107-yard kickoff return by Jermaine Kearse and a 106-yard return of a fumble by Brandon Browner. A play like that on Sunday could shift momentum for good.

4. A Winter Wonderland?

Despite the recent frigid conditions, the Southern Snowpocalypse and a few polar vortices, the weather for Super Bowl XLVIII looks like it won’t be that bad. The forecast calls for temperatures of 40 degrees at kickoff with a 10 percent chance of precipitation. However, anything that falls from the sky could be frozen by the end of the game, which would greatly impact both teams.

5. Alive & Kicking

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, kickers Matt Prater of the Broncos and Steven Hauschka of the Seahawks have the best combined seasonal field-goal conversion rate heading into a Super Bowl in history. They’ll be the players most affected by inclement conditions and chilly temperatures, but they should be prepared for it given their home field climates.

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