No. 1 vs. No. 1. That’s what Super Bowl 48 is. No. 1 vs. No. 1.
The No. 1 team in the AFC vs. the No. 1 team in the NFC. Both top seeds made the Super Bowl for just the second time in 20 years (joining Saints-Colts from the 2009 season).
The NFL’s No. 1 offense (Denver) vs. the No. 1 defense (Seattle).
No. 1 vs. No. 1.
“It’s no secret,” said Seahawk receiver Golden Tate. “The No. 1 defense going against the No. 1 offense. That’s going to be a battle right there.
“I’m excited to watch that, but in order for either team to win the game, you’re going to need offense, defense and special teams.”
But history supports Seattle. Defense plays well in the Super Bowl.
Outside of these Broncos, the three highest-scoring teams to reach the Super Bowl all lost — the 2007 Patriots, the 2012 Patriots and the 1983 Redskins. The highest-scoring team to win a Super Bowl was the 1999 Rams, who outlasted Tennessee 23-16.
The last time the No. 1 defense (in yards) played the No. 1 offense (in yards), Tampa Bay routed Oakland 48-21, in Super Bowl 37.
And this is the fifth time since the 1970 merger that the Super Bowl has matched the No. 1 defense (in points) against the No. 1 offense (in points). The top defense has won three of those four Super Bowls, with only the 1989 49ers (in a rout of Denver) getting a victory.
“They’re a very aggressive bunch,” Denver coach John Fox said of the Seahawk secondary, which will combat Peyton Manning. “They don’t do a whole lot, but what they do is really good. They’re long. They’re fast. They’ve got good ball skills.
“When you look at them statistically, I think they were No. 1 in probably five of the most important categories. So it’s going to be a tremendous challenge, and a tremendous opportunity for us to combat that. You’ve got the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense competing against each other. So I think the fans should be excited and I know we’re all excited.”
No. 1 vs. No. 1. Let’s go with history, which means we go with Seattle. Seahawks 23-20.