I will be in a car as this appears, hopefully back by opening kickoff but perhaps listening to the first quarter on the radio old-school like. So I’ll refer you again to Barnwell (1, 2). I have only two comments:
- I think that the DVOA rankings, which show the Denver offense as exceptional but not quite on a level with peak Brady and about even with peak Rogers, Elway, Young, etc., are more accurate that the raw stats, which would show Denver as easily the best past offense ever. The parade of awful pass defenses they faced as well as the era inflates the era a little. Having said that, 1)whether they’re the best offense of the last 25 years or merely in the top 10, that’s a formidable opponent, and 2)the fact that at 37 Manning can plausibly be compared to peak anyone else pretty much clinches his greatest QB ever case.
- I think Barnwell’s point about Seattle and health is crucial. If Harvin can make a couple big plays on offense and/or special teams, and if the two weeks rest allows Okung et al. to bear a greater resemblance to an NFL offensive line, Seattle is in good shape, especially since they were probably the better team overall even without Harvin and a functional offensive line. On the other hand, if they can’t keep Denver’s front 7 out of the backfield any better than they kept out San Francisco’s…I don’t think that even this superb pass defense is going to force the quantity of turnovers from Manning that will bail them out.
If I had to bet I guess I’d take Seattle because in a matchup this close you should take the points, but it’s about as good a game on paper as you could ask for. Let’s hope it’s fun.