Richard Martin

The Weather Won't Be Awful Sunday, And That's Good For Denver

Created on Jan. 31, 2014 3:17 AM EST

So the latest forecast calls for highs in the upper 30s, little wind and only a 20 percent of precipitation. What does it mean?

If that forecast is right, I think it means that Peyton Manning should be happy. The Broncos’ high-flying passing attack should be unaffected by the weather. The Seahawks, on the other hand, run a simpler offense that depends more on the run and should theoretically should work equally well in all kinds of weather.

Any sort of weather problems should help the Seahawks, right?

Well, maybe. Here’s why it might not make any difference either way:

Manning is the more experienced signal-caller, by far. He’s likely to be unfazed by anything. He’s proved to be adaptable and won in tough conditions. He’s been through ups and downs.

Everyone’s pointing to the matchup between the Seattle defensive backs and Denver receivers as crucial. Yet that’s only half the battle.

Denver’s defense has been vulnerable, but mostly against the pass. It’s been stout against the run. The Broncos did a fine job stopping the Patriots’ running attack, and were overall very good in that game. Here’s what I see as key: The beginning of the game. Denver’s favored, and if they get off to any sort of lead, that could be it. The Seahawks are not a come-from-behind team, but they’re great at holding a lead or staying in a close game.

It’s possible that the Broncos could start quickly. If that happens, I don’t see Seattle mounting a huge comeback. I don’t think Russell Wilson can match Manning. He will have trouble if he has to pass every down, or if the Seahawks fall behind more than, say, 10 points.

If the weather proves worse than predicted, you’d think it would help Seattle. I guess so, but I think the wind would be the toughest to battle. Even there, Manning would know what sort of passes should be attempted and which ones should be skipped.

Remember, too, that the most recent bad-weather game, Eagles-Lions in Philly in December, was actually a high-scoring game. What it hurt was the kicking game more than anything. Both those teams basically gave up on kicking field goals, and went for two after scoring touchdowns.

Both teams have excellent placekickers, though Matt Prater probably has greater range. If it’s cold or wet or windy or snowy, that would figure to lessen the range of the kickers. That would figure to be a slight advantage to the Seahawks, as the defensive team.

There’s one other thing bad weather does: make turnovers more likely. You can’t grip the ball as well, you’d think. And that would figure to also help Seattle.

The Broncos are favored. Anything worse than the forecast of 38 degrees and little wind would help the Seahawks.

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