Point/Counterpoint: Which NFL team is the preseason Super Bowl favorite?

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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Seattle Seahawks

The top question poised on every NFL fan’s lips going into tonight’s game and the rest of the regular season is the same as it is every year: Will last year’s champions repeat? Will they be able to do it again?

It didn’t take long after the Seahawks had hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for analysts and fans of the game alike to ask whether or not this team could be a dynasty. I was asking myself as early as the third quarter of last year’s championship match-up when Seattle had my beloved Broncos scrambling with the sole purpose of not looking silly.

Truth is, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has a bit of a reputation as a dynasty-maker. He is known best for leading USC to back-to-back championships and a 97-19 record over 9 years. Carroll has almost 40 years of coaching experience between his time in the collegiate arena and the NFL, and along with General Manager John Schneider and owner Paul Allen, the management and business-operations side of the team is hungry for another championship.

As for the team itself, there is talk that Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seattle corners and safeties (known as The Legion of Boom since 2012 for leading the league in numerous defensive categories) could be one of the best defensive secondaries in the history of the league. After all, these are the guys that held Peyton Manning and the record-setting Broncos offense to only 8 points in last year’s Super Bowl.

It is a certainty that  QB Russell Wilson, Sherman, Carroll, and the rest of the Seahawks squad will be roaming the league with a chip on their shoulder this season; daring anyone to stop them, and the dynasty-maker Carroll, from repeating as champions of the National Football League in 2015.

— by Josh Hicks

Green Bay Packers

Any team with an elite quarterback is a contender every year in the NFL. And let’s be honest, there’s no one more elite than Aaron Rodgers.

As great as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady are, Rodgers is in the prime of his career at 30 years old. Entering his seventh season as the Packer’s starter, Rodgers’ career passer rating of 104.9 is tops in NFL history, and over seven points higher than the next-best score (Manning).

His athleticism, accuracy, and football IQ collectively make Rodgers the NFL’s premier signal caller.
Throw in a running attack headlined by Eddy Lacy, and you have the league’s most dynamic offense.

But why has this team gone just 1-3 in the postseason since its Super Bowl run in 2010-2011? What was the No. 2 scoring defense that year has fallen off the face of the earth in the years since.

At the very least, veteran newcomer Julius Peppers will prevent teams from double-teaming Clay Matthews, which should greatly improve what has been an underwhelming pass rush in recent years.

Expect big things from former Hawkeye Mike Daniels, a defensive lineman who looks like he’s ready to breakout in his third season.

The inside linebackers are iffy but the secondary appears to be shaping up with the likes of another former Hawkeye, Micah Hyde, providing invaluable depth that can make the difference between a good and a great team in the NFL.

The defense may not make history, but its improvement will give the offense enough help to bring another Super Bowl to Titletown.

— by Charlie Green

Denver Broncos

With the amount of talent on the roster on both sides of the ball the Denver Broncos are the unquestionable favorite to win the Super Bowl this year.

General Manager and legendary Bronco John Elway knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl late in a career, and has put together the talent around quarterback Peyton Manning to help him do so.

The Broncos added wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Pittsburgh Steelers and drafted Indiana standout Cody Latimer in the second round.

Latimer stands 6-foot-3, and so do two of Manning’s favorite targets, Julius and Demaryius Thomas, making the Broncos receiving corps more than capable of coming down with a jump ball and with enough size to out muscle most corners and safeties. Meanwhile, Sanders brings flexibility to line up on the opposite side as Demaryius Thomas to line up in the slot.

The Broncos anchored down the defensive line and in the secondary as well with two key additions.
Demarcus Ware, a free agent signing from Dallas, and Derek Wolfe, create a strong one-two punch at defensive end. Backing them up are three veteran starting linebackers, and Ware’s 10 seasons should add even more veteran leadership to an experienced front seven.

Adding free agent corner Aqib Talib should help bring last years mediocre secondary up to par. Talib, only 28, is tied for 13th on the active career interception leader board with 23, and is the only player under 30 in the top-15.

With a list of factors-new faces, veteran talent, Peyton Manning, and a reason to play, look for the Broncos to not only be in the Super Bowl, but hoisting the Lombardi trophy when the time runs out.

— by Ian Murphy

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