Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE SUPER BOWL XLVIII COUNTDOWN IS ON – AND WE ROLL OUT OUR DAY-BY-DAY JIM SEZ ANALYSIS WITH A LOOK AT WHEN THE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE FOOTBALL …
PLUS OUR COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT CHECKS OUT A PAIR OF KEY WEDNESDAY TILTS INCLUDING #1 ARIZONA AT STANFORD
By Jim Hurley
You’ve no doubt noticed that the totals price on Super Bowl XLVIII has pretty much stayed put at 47 or 47 ½ points ever since the price opened up some 10 or 11 days ago.
Doesn’t that surprise you when you consider all this talk about foul weather at MetLife Stadium this Sunday evening?
Shouldn’t we have seen the totals price come down a bit?
Maybe the betting public simply wants to sit tight and see what the eventual game-day forecast is gonna be or maybe it’s just that nobody out there really thinks the high-octane Denver Broncos – who averaged nearly 38 points per game this past regular season – is gonna be slowed down by Mother Nature and/or the big, bad Seattle Seahawks.
Or maybe folks think the Seahawks will score their fair share of points in this most intriguing Super Bowl clash – after all, the Broncos did allow 48, 39 and 34 points in three of their games this year and so it’s not as if the media is comparing this Denver defense to the 1985 Chicago Bears!
We’ll get to our "Jim Sez" analysis of when the Seahawks have the football in just a moment in today’s Jim Sez column but take note of this recent Super Bowl history lesson:
In the past five Super Bowls, the winning team has averaged 28.8 points with three of the last four SB winners scoring 31-or-more points – maybe that has no impact here but in this day-and-age of passing offenses and plenty of points, you can’t be faulted for believing that maybe – just maybe – the Seahawks are gonna have to score in the high 20 or the low 30 to win this game and that basically flies in the face of conventional wisdom for this defensively-sound Seattle team.
THE SUPER BOWL XLVIII REPORT – WHEN THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE BALL
Much has been made of the fact the Broncos set an NFL single-season scoring record with their 606 total points, but did you realize that only seven NFL teams scored more points in the 2013 season than did the Seahawks?
Seattle’s 417 points actually tied with Green Bay for the eighth-most productive unit in the league this year, and that 26.1 points per game average is just slightly above the team’s 23 ppg average through respective playoff wins against New Orleans and San Francisco (the Seahawks scored 23 points apiece in those wins).
In other words, the Seahawks’ offense may be getting the least amount of media-related attention of any of the units playing here in SB 48, but Pete Carroll’s club has scored 33-or-more points on five different occasions and can be dangerous.
Quarterback Russell Wilson – who threw for 3,357 yards passing with 26 TDs and only 9 INTs in regular-season play and has added 318 yards with one TD and no picks this post-season – has thrown the ball only 40 percent of the time when Seattle’s had the ball this post-season, and the worst thing you can say about him and this offense is that Wilson has been sacked seven times total in the two playoff games.
No question that Seattle OC Darrell Bevell doesn’t want the second-year signal-caller to throw the ball up for grabs with a receiving corps that may or may not have explosive but oft-injured WR Percy Harvin here, but the ‘Hawks simply cannot have so many “negative yardage” plays here, and that Denver pass rush showed up big-time (even without injured OLB Von Miller) while sacking New England QB Tom Brady twice in the AFC Championship Game and San Diego slinger Philip Rivers four times in an AFC Divisional Playoff game.
Wilson has shown major trust in backup-turned-starting wide receivers Doug Baldwin (6 catches for 106 yards in the 23-17 win/cover against 3 ½-point pup San Francisco in the recent NFC Championship Game) and Jermaine Kearse (two grabs worth 44 yards against the 49ers two Sundays ago) in recent weeks, but his go-to guy continues to be WR Golden Tate, and so a major key here is to see if Denver’s secondary can blanket Tate on key third-down plays – Tate averaged 14 yards per reception on his team-best 64 catches this past regular season.
Naturally, the Seahawks will rise or fall offensively based on the play of RB Marshawn Lynch (1,257 yards rushing on the year and another 249 rushing yards in these playoffs) and if Seattle wishes to attach a key number here it’s 25 – that’s how many carries “Beast Mode” has averaged in the two playoff wins and getting 25 carries from Lynch here means an array of things here – namely that keeps the ball away from Denver QB Peyton Manning.
Lynch has that ability to get stronger as the game wears on with lots of carries and so don’t expect the Seahawks to short-circuit his rushing totals even if they find themselves down two scores early here – Carroll and Company knows that time of possession in this particular game means a whole lot and so that leads us to this point regarding the Seattle offense:
The oft-shuffled O-line must be able to handle the interior of the Denver defense starring DL Terrance Knighton – a/k/a “Pot Roast” – and one player who could be a major factor here is TE Zach Miller (3 catches for 25 yards in NFC Championship Game), who figures to get targeted plenty by Wilson, and don’t be surprised when/if the Seahawks look to isolate the athletic Miller on a Denver linebacker on a medium-range pass play.
Tell us right now that Lynch gets 25-or-so rushes here and that the passing game produces a handful of chunk plays and we’ll tell you Seattle’s offense will “hold their own” in Super Bowl XLVIII … and we still have not addressed the issue of Wilson’s runs out of the pocket (designed or impromptu) that must produce some first downs … or else!
Finally, a quickie stat here:
The Seahawks have committed only one turnover this post-season – you’ll recall Wilson’s lost fumble just moments into the NFC Championship Game against the Niners – and ball security remains a major plus for the NFC champs that have snapped a total of 114 times in these playoffs.
Rather amazing stuff – but can it continue here on Super Bowl Sunday in what could be chilly conditions in New Jersey?
And now hear this …
Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl XLVIII when you check with us on game-day morning plus go ahead and continue to pile up the profits all this week with loads of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – go ahead and score big today!
And That's Why I, Jim Hurley, The
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
On this Wednesday night card, it’s …
IOWA STATE (15-3, 3-3 Big 12) at #8 KANSAS (15-4, 6-0 Big 12) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Will the Kansas Jayhawks be the most feared team in college basketball come March?
No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot of that talk in recent days as Bill Self’s crew has won its last six games in a row – and by a per-game average of 12.2 points a game, to boot – and in this mid-week bash looks for the clean sweeperoo against Iowa State:
The Jayhawks snagged a 77-70 win as 2 ½-point road dogs back on January 13th when Kansas snapped a 36-all halftime draw as freshman star Andrew Wiggins was a stat-sheet stuffer with 17 points and 19 rebounds, while G Naadir Tharpe poured in a game-high 23 points – note that Iowa State shot a putrid 22-of-70 from the floor (31.4 percent) in that tilt and now is banking on the Big 12’s top scoring offense (84.8 ppg) to get it geared up at Phog Allen Fieldhouse … good luck!
If the Cyclones are gonna “get even” with the Jayhawks here, then guard Deandre Kane (just 3-of-12 FG shooting for 10 points in Iowa State’s 81-75 non-cover win against 9 ½-point dog Kansas State last Saturday) must come alive for a distracted I-State bunch that’s been dealing with off-the-court issues involving the troubled Bubu Palo and his legal woes.
#1 ARIZONA (20-0, 7-0 Pac-12) at STANFORD (13-6, 4-3 Pac-12) – 9 p.m. ET, espn2
Think anyone in/around the Tucson area are starting to research the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers?
Right, that’s the last college hoops team to go unbeaten through an entire season as that Bob Knight-led club finished 32-and-oh, and now here’s Arizona shooting for a 21st consecutive season-starting “W” here and hoping to get off to a better start after digging out of a 10-point hole en route to last Sunday’s 65-56 non-cover win against 14-point dog Utah. The U of A Wildcats – who shot just 24-of-40 from the floor (that’s 40 percent) against the Utes – also better buckle down at the free-throw line where Sean Miller’s crew drained just 14-of-23 freebies.
Hey, if frosh superstar Aaron Gordon (just 3-of-13 FG shooting for 10 points in that tilt) can continue to rally the ‘Cats on the defensive end of the floor, then home pup Stanford could be in for a long night but keep this under consideration when it comes to the Cardinal.
Johnny Dawkins’ crew sports four double-digit scorers, including guard Chasson Randle (19.1 ppg), who’s shooting his trifectas at a 40 percent accuracy rate – maybe Randle can step out from some big screens to drill ‘em from deep against an Arizona team that ranks first in Pac-12 scoring defense and third nationally while allowing a meager 56.7 points a game.
If Arizona wins here and keeps up the winning beat, the ‘Cats can be excused for “googling” the likes of Scott May and Kent Benson!
NOTE: More Super Bowl XLVIII coverage and NCAA/NBA Hoops coming your way all this week right here at Jim Sez … and make sure you catch our Super Bowl Preview in Friday’s column.