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Originally published January 20, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Page modified January 20, 2014 at 10:32 PM

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Opponent Outlook

By the numbers


Denver’s points per game differential this season, best in the NFL (Seattle was second at 11.7).


The combined margin of Denver’s three losses (Seattle’s was 15)


Denver’s third-down offensive conversion percentage, second in the NFL (Seattle was 17th at 37.3)

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Game time: 3:30 p.m., Feb. 2, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: Ch. 13.

Coach: John Fox, 107-85 in 12 years overall, 34-14 three years in Denver (regular season).

Regular-season record: 13-3.

Playoffs: Beat San Diego, 24-17; beat New England, 26-16 in the AFC Championship Game. Both games were played in Denver.

The series: Denver leads 34-18 in a series that dates to 1977 and included two meetings a year from 1978-2001 when each was a member of the AFC West. The two have met just twice since 2002 — a 23-20 Seattle win in 2006 and a 31-14 Denver win in 2010.

The early line: Broncos by 2.

Key players: Everything Denver does revolves around future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who at age 37 is having one of the greatest seasons in NFL history, having set a season record for touchdowns with 55, while throwing just 10 interceptions. He has an able corps of receivers, five of whom caught 60 or more passes, led by Demaryius Thomas with 92 for 1,430 yards. Denver also has a more-than-complementary running attack keyed by Knowshon Moreno (1,038 yards in the regular season). Tight end Julius Thomas was named to the Pro Bowl after catching 60 passes this season. Guard Louis Vasquez was also a Pro Bowler, one of four Denver offensive players named to the game. Denver’s defense lags in comparison to its highflying offense, ranked 19th in the NFL this season. But it was solid against the run at No. 7 overall, and held New England to just 39 rushing yards through three quarters Sunday. Cornerback Champ Bailey, in his 15th season, is the spiritual leader of the Broncos’ defense.

Denver’s key to success: Two words: Peyton Manning. Two years after there were fears his career was over, Manning has been as good as ever. Denver averaged 340.3 passing yards per game to lead the NFL, which will present a great matchup going against a Seattle defense that allowed the fewest passing yards this season (172 per game). Denver likely won’t stray far from its usual offensive plan, giving the Legion of Boom more chances to make plays than it has had all season. Defensively, Denver has improved against the run, holding five of its past six opponents (including playoffs) to less than 100 yards. Denver kicker Matt Prater also made the Pro Bowl this year after hitting 25 of 26 field goals and scoring 150 points, second-most of any kicker in the NFL.

Bob Condotta

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