The Seahawks 30-10 win over the Broncos last preseason took the shape of things to come, as the second team, lead by then-rookie Russell Wilson, outscored Denver 21-0 after halftime. By the next game, Wilson was the team’s starting quarterback and he’s never looked back. This year’s preseason rematch has both teams once again hoping the game is a harbinger of the future, as the former division rivals square off in what many believe is a potential Super Bowl preview.
According to Vegas Insider, the Broncos are currently 6 to 1 favorites to win the Super Bowl this season, with the Seahawks listed third with 12 to 1 odds, alongside Green Bay and New England. NFL.com Power Rankings released this week had the Seahawks listed at three, right behind Denver and San Francisco. Many experts believe that Seattle resides among the NFC's elite teams this year, with talented young players filling key positions on both sides of the ball. Quite a change from the week two matchup last preseason, when the biggest stories were Peyton Manning’s home debut for the Broncos and Terrell Owens’ dropped touchdown pass for Seattle.
Change has been the operative word for both teams over the off-season as well, as they each added explosive playmakers to further bolster their championship aspirations. Although he’ll miss time with a hip injury, Seattle acquired versatile wide receiver Percy Harvin in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, while Denver landed prolific pass-catcher Wes Welker from New England in free agency. Defensively, the Seahawks added depth at defensive end by signing free agents Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and improved what was already considered the league’s best secondary with the addition of Antoine Winfield. Meanwhile, Denver aggressively targeted free agents on the defensive side of the ball, signing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive back Quentin Jammer, along with defensive linemen Terrence Knighton and Shaun Phillips.
All of this is to say that two of the NFL’s best teams in 2012 look even better heading into the upcoming season. With starters expected to play most of the first half, fans will get a good look at two of the favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in New York next February.