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Why the Seattle Seahawks can win Super Bowl XLVIII

It's not hyperbole: Super Bowl XLVIII is the greatest matchup between a historically potent offense and a dominant defense in NFL history. The difference between Denver's points scored and Seattle's points allowed was 375 points, which is nearly 100 points more than the next-biggest differential in the Super Bowl record book.

The Broncos' offense or the Seahawks' defense will go down as one of the best units of all time. Here's why Seattle can win Sunday:

Percy Harvin is back



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Super Bowl coverage:
» 'Hawks stomp Broncos in SBXLVIII | Smith is MVP
» Manning falls flat on big stage | No-so Super night
» Manning running out of time | 'Not embarrassing'
» 'Hawks' dominant D new normal | Why effective?
» 'Best defense since '85 Bears'? | D sets tone
» 'Hawks savor the moment | Carroll's a.m. rounds
» Harvin saves his best for last | Intimidation factor?
» Broncos center takes responsibility for safety
» Lynch dances with himself in locker room | Watch
» Namath's coin flip gets picked by ref | Name it

Video:
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» Game highlights | Trophy presentation | Remix
» Highlights: Seahawks D | Harvin | Wilson | Sherman
» Safety first | Pick six | Harvin's return | Kearse TD

Photos:
» Super Bowl XLVIII | Halftime | Celebrities

NFLShop.com:
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It's hard to know what impact Harvin can have on the Seahawks offense, since he's barely been on the field. We do know that he looked explosive during the brief time he was on the field during Seattle's Divisional Round Weekend victory over New Orleans. Despite all his injury history, Harvin, when healthy, is one of the toughest players in the league to tackle. He can run over people and make them miss.

The Seahawks could use him as a running back, in the slot and on the outside. The Broncos' secondary doesn't have a logical defender that can match up. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are fine receivers, but Harvin is a gamebreaker on an offense that needs one. Harvin could justify the Seahawks' bold trade with one huge performance.

Pass-rush depth


Michael Bennett has played like a premier pass rusher all season, especially in the playoffs. Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons are both capable of winning any play one-on-one. Bruce Irvin has been quieter this season, but has the potential to be explosive. Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant are known for stuffing the run, but they do an excellent job pushing the pocket up the middle. Peyton Manning is well-aware that linebacker Bobby Wagner is an effective blitzer.

Manning is used to getting rid of the the ball quickly, but that might not be possible Sunday.

Broncos receivers will struggle with timing routes


The Seahawks' secondary is even deeper than the defensive line, and Seattle's cornerbacks are excellent at the line of scrimmage. People smarter than myself believe that Walter Thurmond and Byron Maxwell are even more physical than Richard Sherman. Manning relies on timing, especially with Wes Welker. The Seahawks uniquely are equipped to disrupt that timing.

Playoff officiating


There was once a point of emphasis in the NFL on how the New England Patriots manhandled Manning's receivers in the AFC playoffs when the signal-caller played for the Indianapolis Colts. This season has included a lot of action in which the officials the players decide the action for themselves. The more physical the play, the better off the Seahawks will be.

Historical trends


We don't put too much stock in this one, but the trends are hard to ignore. The top-scoring offense has faced the top-scoring defense five times in the Super Bowl, with the defense coming out on top four times. In addition, the NFL leader in passing yards has made the Super Bowl on four occasions. All four of those teams lost by an average score of 31-17.

Denver's defense is playing over its head


The Seahawks got to the Super Bowl because of their defense. But they could win the Super Bowl because their lesser half is stronger than Denver's lesser half: Their defense. The Broncos have done an excellent job maximizing their talent over the last month. But they don't have a premier pass rusher or a truly great performer in the secondary. Linebackers like Nate Irving and Paris Lenon have been terrific, but they lack speed. Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson can get to the outside.

They don't know any better


Our intrepid embedded reporter Marc Sessler covered a loose, confident bunch all week. The Seahawks take on the personality of their coach Pete Carroll. They are embracing this moment and seem aware of what a special moment in time this is. That doesn't guarantee victory, but it can't hurt.

Pete Carroll said it well to pool reporter Peter King on Friday.

"Russell is exactly where he's always pictured he'd be in life," Carroll said.

Peyton Manning knows exactly what this game means. Wilson and the Seahawks don't know what they don't know. They believe this championship is theirs.

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