Tag Archives: Percy Harvin

Prediction and Preview for the Super Bowl

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Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos:

6:25 PM

MetLife Stadium

Finally the big game has arrived. After an epic season, we are watching the best two teams play for the final, which is rare in the NFL. The two number 1 seeds are playing in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2009, Saints won Peyton Manning’s Colts. This game is even more intriguing because it will pit the number one scoring defense in the league verses the number one scoring offense in NFL history. This game has great matchups, Peyton Manning versus Richard Sherman, Broncos’ passing offense, which is the best in the league, versus Seattle’s secondary, which is the best in the league, and Marshawn Lynch aka Beast Mode verses the Broncos’ run defense, which was surprisingly the 8th best unit in the NFL during the regular season. The Seahawks were able to sustain success throughout the season because their defense ranks first against the pass and seventh against the run while their offense has taken great strides with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Although Seattle is predominantly a run first team, 4th in yards per game and 2nd in attempts per game in the league, with Marhawn Lynch and a versatile Russell Wilson, the passing offense was incredible consistent and efficient. While the Seahawks finished 26th in passing yards per game, they were fourth in the league in yards per attempt, ninth in completion percentage, and third in interceptions. Although the stats may be random, it shows that the team strategically uses its running game to set up the defense for the play action pass down the field, which is rarely intercepted, but commonly completed. Although the Seahawks do not have a big play receiver, the group is steady and catches every ball thrown their way. Although Harvin has been hurt throughout the season, he has great talent and speed that could break a game open, if he can play through the game. Along with the ability to throw the ball for a big play, Marshawn Lynch is a great running back that wears a defense until they break and give up a huge run. As seen in the last view playoff games, Lynch has rushed for a long touchdown late in every game, which gave the Seahawks the win. The Seahawks have a great balance of big plays while limiting their turnovers. The Seahawks should be able to throw on the Broncos as long as they block for Wilson because the Broncos’ secondary is the worst part of their team and is facing nagging injuries. Although Lynch may have trouble in the first half against the stout Broncos’ run defense, he should be able to wear them down and eventually break huge runs at the end of the game. Also, Wilson may try to run more often if his offensive line is having trouble like their game against the 49ers, although the 49ers have a far superior pass rush.

Courtesy of ESPN
Courtesy of ESPN

Along with the great offense, the defense complements the offense because it causes turnovers and stops every offense it has faced over the last few games. The defense has been great because it plays to its strengths: its secondary. Along with Richard Sherman, one of the best corners in the league, the Seahawks have Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, and Brian Maxwell. Besides Earl Thomas, the trio has great speed and size while playing physical football at the line of scrimmage. They will need to continue playing bump and run defense against Peyton and his wide outs so that they can disrupt the rhythm of the Broncos’ offense. Although Thomas does not have the size, he is a ball hawk in the secondary and makes great plays that alter the path of the game for the Seahawks. Although they will probably switch the men they play, fans should expect Sherman on D. Thomas, Chancellor and linebackers on J. Thomas, Earl Thomas or a linebacker on Welker, and Maxwell on Decker. Since the Seahawks can play one on one coverage in the backfield, the front four of the Seahawks is given more time to rush the passer. The Broncos’ offensive line has been great this postseason and Peyton has not been sacked in any of the previous two games. The combination of Clemens, Mebane, Bryant, and McDaniel must apply pressure on Peyton in order to force errant passes and turnovers. Although Seattle rarely blitzes, their linebackers are solid, athletic, and have the ability to play all over the football field. The linebackers will need to occasionally add pressure on Manning while also defending the run and stopping the short routes to Welker or Thomas over the middle. The Seattle defense needs to be able to stop the run in order to put Manning into “throwing downs”. This will help them come off the field and possibly cause a turnover. The cold and the wind should help Seattle’s ferocious and aggressive defense. Fans need to look at the way the game is called because it could make a major difference in the game. Although the refs have not called many holds or pass interferences on Seattle this year, the Seahawks are known for holding and interfering with the receivers. If the refs make these calls, it will give Manning extra downs, which will lead to a demise of the Seahawks.

Courtesy of ESPN
Courtesy of ESPN

Since the first game, which featured the Ravens and the Broncos, it seemed that the Broncos would make it the Super Bowl. Although the Broncos could not maintain the pace that they set in the first game, 7 touchdowns, they became the greatest scoring offensive of all-time. The Broncos have been lead by Peyton Manning all season long. Manning set the record for most passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season. Peyton would not have been able to succeed without the best receiving core in the league and one of the best and most consistent offensive lines in the league. During the season, D. Thomas, E. Decker, J. Thomas, and W. Welker all recorded more than 65 catches, 775 yards, and 10 touchdowns. The Broncos’ receivers posted great numbers because they are skilled and Peyton is able to fit the ball into tight windows. The Broncos’ receivers are big, fast, and have great hands, which enables them to win one on one matchups and separate from opposing cornerbacks. Manning has time to throw to all of his receivers because his offensive line is one of the best in the league. Although they lost Ryan Clady early in the season, the unit has been great over the last two games. Over the past two games, Peyton Manning has faced little pressure and has not been sacked. If the Seahawks cannot provide pressure on Manning, the Legion of Boom will be unable to stop Peyton and the best passing attack of all time. Along with Manning’s ability to spread the ball by passing, the Broncos have a very good running game that compliments their passing attack. Along with having the ability to catch the ball, Knowshon Moreno has rushed for over 1000 yards while recording 10 touchdowns. Lately, Montee Ball has been effective and provides Denver with a physical back that can wear down opposing lineman. If the wind affects the game, the Broncos should be confident that they can move the ball without passing the ball. The Seahawks are unlikely to hide many of their schemes so Peyton Manning will need to execute and put his offensive pieces in the correct spots in order to score points.

Courtesy of ESPN
Courtesy of ESPN

Since the Broncos’ offense has been historic, the Broncos’ defense has been very good and fantastic over the past four games, including two playoff games. Over the past four games, @Houston, @Oakland, San Diego, and New England, the Broncos’ defense has allowed on average 15 points per game. Although the Broncos ranked 26th in the league in passing yards allowed, the pass rush has improved and the cornerbacks are playing well even though they lost their best corner Chris Harris. The combination of Robert Ayers, Trevor Knighton, and Shaun Phillips has been great and has recorded five sacks in the past two games. Although the Denver secondary does not have as much talent as the Seahawks, Bailey, Rodgers-Cromartie, and Jammer have been playing well stop opposing quarterbacks in the first half. Although the trio has been good in the first half, the group has allowed more open receivers. In the game against the Chargers, Rivers and Allen torched the Broncos and almost came back to tie the game. Although the group will not have to stop a big play receiver, they must ensure that the Seahawks’ wide receivers do not run behind the defense. While the secondary needs to stop the big plays from Russell Wilson, the Broncos’ front seven must stop Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle rushing game. The best part of the Broncos’ defense is their rushing defense, which ranked 8th in the league during the regular season. The group has been successful because they have big, athletic players on the line. Last week, the group put forth their best effort and held the Patriots’ running backs to 57 yards, although they posted 235 yards the week before. The Broncos’ defense will be tested because they have not seen a running back like Marshawn Lynch. In order to stop the big, powerful, and fast running back, they need to stay fresh and keep Lynch from bouncing outside. If the Broncos’ can keep Lynch inside the tackles, the smaller defensive backs will not have to attempt to tackle Lynch, which is nearly impossible.

Courtesy of ESPN
Courtesy of ESPN

Although the game will be close, the Seahawks should be able to win the game because they have a better overall team. The Seahawks will keep Manning off the field because they usually win the time of possession battle with Lynch. Also, the Seattle secondary should limit Manning because they will throw off his timing and their size will affect the receivers. Although Wilson has not played well lately, Percy Harvin is set to return, which gives him another competent receiver that can garner yards after the catch.

Prediction: Seahawks win 24-23

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com

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Why Percy Harvin will push the Seahawks over the top

By: Evan

The acquisition of Percy Harvin has made Pete Carroll a very happy coach.  Courtesy of CBSsports
The acquisition of Percy Harvin has made Pete Carroll a very happy coach.
Courtesy of CBSsports

The Seattle Seahawks stand at 10-1 going into their week 12 bye and with games coming up against tough NFC opponents such as New Orleans and San Francisco, they need to be at the top of their game on both sides of the ball. Most people know that Seattle has an elite defense, ranking 2nd  in passing yards allowed per game, 1st in interceptions and 3rd in points allowed per game. They have stars at every level, Cliff Avril,Chris Clemons and Michael Bennett are tremendous pass rushers up front and stout linebackers Bobby Wagner,Bruce Irvin and KJ Wright form one of the best young linebacking corps in the league. The best part of their defense is the notorious Legion of Boom led by the loquacious and hard hitting corners, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner (who will be out 4-6 weeks with a groin injury), to go along with the best strong safety and free safety combo in the league in Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Most importantly the Seahawks’ success will rely on the offense, led by Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the new addition Percy Harvin. After Wilson was selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, he has shown he has all the tools to be an elite quarterback. He has a strong arm, a great feel for the game and most importantly, great leadership qualities. This year Russell Wilson has the 5th best passer rating in the league at 105.1, proving he can make the most out of a mediocre wide receiving corps that Seattle had for the first 10 weeks of the season. Now with Harvin back from injury, the Seahawks are exponentially better on the offensive side of the ball. Here are a couple of reasons why.

1.)Harvin gives Russell Wilson a primary target

Russell Wilson's affinity for the deep ball with only grow with Percy Harvin in the mix Courtesy of News Tribune
Russell Wilson’s affinity for the deep ball with only grow with Percy Harvin in the mix.
Courtesy of News Tribune

This year Russell Wilson ranks among the NFL’s elite in passer rating, while throwing for 2,362 yards to secondary and tertiary options such as Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. With Harvin, the 67 million dollar man, Wilson has a serious deep threat, a player who might just be the fastest player in the league and has a reputation for making big plays. Obviously people know Harvin’s strength is speed and this fits Wilson’s style perfectly as his deep throw accuracy is one of the best, Wilson has a passer rating of 117.6 with balls thrown between 21 and 30 yards and a passer rating of 141.4 with balls thrown 31-40 yards. Harvin will also open up opportunities for players like Tate and Baldwin because the defense will be so focused on Harvin that these other players will have less press coverage. Teaming up with Wilson will also be a change for Percy Harvin as he gets an elite quarterback to throw to him. Look at Percy Harvin’s numbers with an older Brett Favre, 790 yards and 6tds in 15 games in 2009 and 868 yards and 5tds in 14 games in 2010 and with Christian Ponder, 967 yards and 6tds in 16 games in 2011 and 677 yards and 3tds in 9 games in 2012. Neither Favre nor Ponder were on the current level of Russell Wilson, showing that Harvin’s potential hasn’t even been tested. Great quarterbacks tend to have great receivers to help them out and Harvin will be a first for the ever-evolving Wilson.

2.)Opens lanes for Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch will be another beneficiary of Percy Harvin's presence. Courtesy of Washington Post
Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch will be another beneficiary of Percy Harvin’s presence.
Courtesy of Washington Post

Harvin or no Harvin, Marshawn Lynch has been playing like a beast this year, ranking 2nd in rushing with 925 yards and tied for 1st with 9tds. But with Harvin, Lynch could improve in the final weeks of the season. Look at Adrian Peterson’s numbers in 2008, 1,760 yards with 10 tds and 125 yards receiving and in Percy Harvin’s rookie year, 2009, AP had 1,368 yards with 18tds and 436 yards receiving.Although Peterson did have more yards in 2008 with 1,885 as opposed to 1,804 in 2009, he had 8 fewer tds and 49 more rushing attempts in ’08.  This lessened workload helped Peterson sustain a balanced season while still being a productive runner. This could be the same case for Lynch as he won’t have to run as much and he can focus on the very effective screen plays that only expand this offense. Lynch averages 6.1 yards per catch with balls thrown behind the line of scrimmage, an indicator of Lynch’s effectiveness in the screen game. The other positive with Harvin’s return is the vaunted play action pass the Seahawks love to run. Imagine this, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in the spread option with Harvin in the slot. They have three potential deadly options, 1.) Give the ball to Marshawn 2.) Have Russell Wilson pull out the ball and scramble 3.) Have Russell Wilson pull out the ball and find Harvin on a deep route. Defenses will have to guess and then react to these different options, making it difficult to stop all of the weapons. This will open lanes for Lynch as corners and safeties will not be able to crowd the box and defend Harvin simultaneously. Most people will watch Harvin and his improvement but I will be watching how Marshawn Lynch plays with Harvin on the field.

3.)Kick Return and Rushing

Seattle's special teams will also improve with Percy Harvin Courtesy of Sportsillustrated.cnn
Seattle’s special teams will also improve with Percy Harvin
Courtesy of Sportsillustrated.cnn

Percy Harvin came out of Florida with the reputation as a “game wrecker”, a compliment for an explosive player of Harvin’s nature and with 4.4 speed he certainly is a game wrecker. Look at the kick return numbers for Harvin: 42 returns for 1156 yards and 2tds in 2009, 40 returns for 933 yards and 1td in 2010, 16 returns for 520 yards and 1td in 2011, 16 returns for 574 yards and 1td and then the return last week for 58 yards. Now if you average these numbers out, Harvin averages 28.1 yards on kick returns for his career. This average would be good for 2nd in return yards this year, showing just how dynamic Harvin is. He is also a menace coming out of the backfield with 6.4 yards per carry and 4tds in his career. Now with only five weeks left, I don’t know if there is time for Pete Carroll to design some Percy Harvin run plays, but if they do formulate a few designed read option runs, the Seahawks could be even more dangerous. Come playoff time Harvin could also prove to be a vital piece in the return game if he can replicate returns like the 58 yard one he registered against his former team last week.

The future for the Seahawks is very bright with Harvin in the fold as I believe the Seahawks will finish the year with a record of 14-2, win the #1 overall seed in the NFC and control home field until the Super Bowl. I then envision the 12th man and the Emerald city celebrating in early February as Paul Allen’s 67 million dollar investment pays off with a Super Bowl ring.

Vote Below on Harvin’s impact:

Stats from ESPN.com

2013-2014 Minnesota Vikings Preview

By: Prad

 

Projected Record: 9-7

NFC North Rank: Tied with Bears for 2nd

The Vikings made the playoffs last season in Week 17 after a win against their division rivals. Although Minnesota ruined the undefeated mark that the Green Bay Packers held in the NFC North, that wasn’t the biggest story line. The story line of note that every NFL fan followed in the final week of last season was RB Adrian Peterson’s attempt at breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. Even though, Peterson fell eight yards shy of tying Dickerson’s mark, the Vikings clinched a playoff berth, something they hadn’t done since 2009. Ultimately though, they were futile in their efforts of advancing to the Division Round, a wild card loss coming at the hands of coincidentally, the Packers. This year, the Vikings will finish the season above .500, but will fail to reach the postseason because of a deep NFC.

The Minnesota Vikings will become better contenders when QB Christian Ponder refines his talent Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
The Minnesota Vikings will become better contenders when QB Christian Ponder becomes more refined
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

In order for the Vikings to compete at a high level in one of the most difficult divisions in the league, their quarterback needs to develop into a more complete one. QB Christian Ponder isn’t required to be responsible for the majority of the offensive burden, which is a nice feeling for a QB. The position has become relied on heavier in the NFL during recent times and the majority of team’s are going with the aerial attack far more frequently than the rushing game. Ponder finished 24th in quarterback rating (81.2) last season among starting quarterbacks. Obviously, not every quarterback has a rusher that attains 2,000 yards, but for Ponder not to even surpass the 3,000 yard mark in passing is embarrassing. It’s rare in the NFL that the disparity in yardage between the passing game and rushing game is less than a 1,000 yards. The Vikings secured a viable backup when they got QB Matt Cassel this offseason. Perhaps, Cassel could even spark some competition for the role and Ponder could potentially use this as motivation to keep his starting job and increase his production immensely.

WR Greg Jennings will be the #1 receiver Courtesy of Zimbio
WR Greg Jennings will be the #1 receiver this upcoming season
Courtesy of Zimbio

Unfortunately for him, his leading receiver from a season ago, WR Percy Harvin was traded this offseason to the Seattle Seahawks. But, the Vikings did a decent job replacing him by acquiring WR Greg Jennings this offseason, who inked a 5 year-$47.5 million deal. In seven seasons with Green Bay, Jennings caught 425 passes for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns. He is a proven deep threat, who can boost Christian Ponder’s TD numbers from last season, which stood at a mediocre 18. This attests to his general underachieving nature, since the average starting QB threw for 27 last year. Peterson didn’t even take a drastic amount away from Ponder, getting only 12 TDs all of last season. If Ponder can develop a better pocket presence in the redzone, it would tremendously improve the versatility of this offense.

RB Adrian Peterson will go for the 2,000 yard club again Courtesy of ESPN
RB Adrian Peterson will attempt to go for the 2,000 yard club again
Courtesy of ESPN

AP is the best running back the game has seen in a while, some even say the best since Barry Sanders, which would effectively make him the best since the turn of the century. To prove people wrong who say that last season’s numbers was a fluke, Peterson’s goal is for 2,500 yards this season. While I don’t believe that 2,500 is attainable, 2,000 yards is plausible. This will make NFL history as nobody in the game has ever reached the 2,000 yard rushing mark more than once. That would prove the people who aren’t already believers in Peterson, which is a tiny minority. In his six year career, Peterson has averaged 1,475 yards a season, which makes his career total 8,849 yards. In that time period, Peterson has rushed for more yards than any other halfback in the league. These statistics should prove his naysayers wrong and secure him an entrance to the Hall of Fame in Canton by the age of 28.

The Vikings' defensive prowess will have to be on full display this season Courtesy of Associated Press
The Vikings’ defensive prowess will have to be on full display this season
Courtesy of Associated Press

A major reason for the Vikings going 10-6 last season despite a lack of touchdowns through the passing game and a rushing attack that wasn’t top tier in regards to rushing touchdowns, was their lock-down defense. All-Pro DE Jared Allen highlights this defensive unit, which ranked in the top 10 in rushing defense and 5th in sacks. They allowed only 105.8 rushing yards per game and sacked opposing quarterbacks 44 times throughout last season. Their defensive line is a proven presence that can poke holes in opposing offensive lines and make them look inferior. Although this is probably the best part of the defense, their linebacker group is impressive as well, which is led by LB Chad Greenway. Greenway led the team in tackles last year with a whopping 148, which stands at a tie for second in the league with San Francisco’s LB NaVorro Bowman and behind only Carolina’s LB Luke Kuechly (164).

Former FSU CB Xavier Rhodes Courtesy of SB Nation
Former FSU CB Xavier Rhodes
Courtesy of SB Nation

An issue with this defense seems to be the secondary. They didn’t force enough takeaways last year through the air, only intercepting 10 passes all of last season. To make matters worse, the Vikings released, CB Antoine Winfield, who signed with the Seahawks and was released by them too and subsequently retired. Winfield amassed 101 tackles last season, leading the cornerback group, but three tackles behind FS Harrison Smith. The Vikings have not taken adequate measures to fill the void left by Antoine Winfield. GM Rick Spielman drafted CB Xavier Rhodes, who could not possibly match Winfield’s production because of a lack of experience despite much potential. Rhodes is set to be #3 or #4 on the depth chart, but has a lot of room to improve in this secondary. Overall though, this defense needs to be as effective as it was last year for the Vikings to stay in postseason contention until late in the season.

Last year, the Vikings held a 4-2 mark in the NFC North. Look for them to repeat that record this year with one loss coming to the Chicago Bears and another at the hands of Green Bay. Adrian Peterson is the best player in the NFL, but he can’t single-handily will his team to the postseason again without support from QB Ponder. This defense can maintain the proficiency they were known for last season, in spite of the departure of a leading cornerback in the secondary. The Vikings are capable of dethroning the Packers and surprising the NFC North, but much of their success is contingent upon the competency of QB Christian Ponder.