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Super Bowl Preview: Grime vs. Gleam

As different as the two teams are, their approach may be surprisingly similar.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Sheriff's eyes watered some from the dust cloud that raised up from the road. He looked out at the riders on the horizon and sighed.

He knew about these whippersnappers: bunch of loud-talkers and dancers. Some may have even call them clowns. He wiped his eyes with his handkerchief and opened his holster. He would try to reason with them if he could, but these clowns were the most dangerous kind of all and he figured that he wouldn't be able to say much anyway.

The Seahawks are the ultimate party crashers. In the football world, they are anti-establishment, renegade demonstrators, ready to make noise and make change by any means necessary. They are resentful underdogs who play with tenacity.

The Broncos on the other hand, are the self-assured, perhaps smug, elite. If Seattle is a grimy hip-hop show than Denver is an awards banquet held at an upscale hunting lodge. Oh look, there's Champ Bailey drinking champagne with Peyton, classy stuff. They have the kind of self-assurance that is so steadfast one thinks it must be a facade for some deeper-seated issues, but their play this year has been spectacular and has reached new heights for statistical greatness.

Of course, when operating in such swanky circumstances, many will feel obliged to apply the "soft" label upon the Broncos because of how easy they seem to have made the game for themselves. Offensively speaking, this kind of labeling is blind jealousy and has no real grounds, but the Denver defense is certainly not made of unbreakable steel.

If the Seahawks are going to win, they must run the ball well. Marshawn Lynch is the angry silent-type of runner-that in the mold of Corey Dillon-and he has earned his spot among the tops at his position. With a Seattle victory, he may put himself in the drivers seat toward hall-of-fame consideration. Russell Wilson is a fine young player who grows with the game at each new level, but his receiving corps is limited and his safety net remains Lynch. If Percy Harvin plays, there could be some explosive razzle-dazzle moments where he breaks loose on a reverse or something, but Harvin is the most injury-prone dude in the sport today it seems, and if he finishes the game, I would be impressed. Ultimately, they need Lynch to keep their offense on schedule, wear down the Bronco front seven and loosen up the passing game, but Denver has limited their opponents on the ground nicely since being bullied by San Diego in Week 15. Their run defense broke the offensive scheme of both the Patriots and the Chargers when they met again in the playoffs.

The ballyhooed clash of the titans is between the Broncos spaceship-offense versus "The Legion of Boom". The Seahawks secondary is terrifying and awesome. Denver has seen nothing like it this season, or maybe ever. They are rangy players with a blood lust for big hits. I'm sure their plan is to get rough with their opposing receivers and disrupt all that illegal-pick, crossing-route nonsense the Broncos have mastered so well. If they do plan to jam, then they are forced closer to the line of scrimmage, sacrificing the possible deep pass. Whether Peyton can convert on the bomb would then would become the new focus of the Bronco game plan. It won't be easy.

Strangely enough, I think Knowshon Moreno will make the difference. I look for the Broncos to set up the pass for the run and find big chunk yards on the ground the way New Orleans did in the Divisional round against the Seahawks. Once Moreno breaks a couple off and has the Seattle secondary second-guessing, that's when the vast football universe that is Peyton Manning's brain will unfold and crush the Legion.

Afterward, with a steady hand, the Sheriff opens the door to his office, removes his holster and hangs it back up on the gun rack. He locks the door behind him on the way out and heads back home to his land and family. The clowns lay wounded along the main drag, and the Sheriff nods to them as he rides past.

Broncos 26, Seahawks 17

MVP: Knowshon Moreno

Mojokong-the right bookend.