Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SEATTLE (AP) — In Denver, the offseason was spent with "35" being shouted through the halls of the Broncos' facility as a constant reminder.
In Seattle, the offseason was spent acknowledging a championship, while deconstructing the emotional high of last season to refocus on the challenge of being defending champs.
Different views, different approaches, all the result of a 43-8 blowout more than seven months ago.
"You don't forget what happened, and also you set the standard by playing against the Super Bowl (champions)," Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "They've earned the right to talk how they talk and we'll just speak with our pads and show up on Sunday."
Sunday's rematch between the Broncos (2-0) and Seahawks (1-1) is the first opportunity for Denver to erase the embarrassment from February. From the first snap, Super Bowl 48 was forgettable for the guys in orange. The most prolific offense in NFL history was made pedestrian, bullied for four quarters by the Seahawks and their swagger.
That night led to changes in Denver. Seventeen new starters on offense, defense and special teams will be on the field for the Broncos from those who took the field for the Super Bowl. Von Miller is back. So is Ryan Clady, along with the additions of Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, Demarcus Ware and Emmanuel Sanders.
This is an opportunity for the Broncos to see if the changes worked.
"We're looking forward to that challenge. We're not thinking about (the Super Bowl)," Denver coach John Fox said. "When you looking in that mirror, you're not looking through the windshield and you wreck. So we're looking through the windshield."
Meanwhile, Seattle is in a salty mood after melting in the heat of San Diego last week in a 30-21 loss. The Seahawks took their first loss by more than seven points since the middle of the 2011 season, a span of 41 straight regular-season games.
"We have to go out there and prove to ourselves we can bounce back from a loss," Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. "We know how good we are. We're one of the best defenses in the NFL and we have an opportunity to show it."
Here's what to watch as the previous Super Bowl participants meet in the following regular season for just the sixth time:
PRESSURE PEYTON: Seattle's front four influenced the Super Bowl despite sacking Peyton Manning only once. The Seahawks disrupted the timing of the Broncos' passing game by pressuring Manning and forcing him to move within the pocket.
Denver's protection should be improved with Clady healthy and the resulting changes on the offensive line. And Seattle's pass rush is still trying to find the right combination.
"It's very important to disrupt him as much as possible," Seattle's Cliff Avril said. "It's all about timing and if we can throw it off a little bit it gives us a better chance of getting after him."
OFF THE EDGE: Seattle QB Russell Wilson has two concerns he didn't have to worry about in the Super Bowl: Miller and Ware. Miller was out with an injury, while Ware was a spectator after his season in Dallas ended. Now the duo will be coming off the edge trying to harass Wilson without letting him scramble — and they'll be going against an offensive line that was leaky against the Chargers.
WELCOME BACK, WES: The Broncos were supposed to go a couple of more weeks before getting Wes Welker back in the offense. Welker was reinstated this week after the NFL agreed to a new performance enhancing drug policy, cutting his suspension in half.
Welker was slowed in the preseason by a concussion and how he's worked back into the offense will be watched after Denver relied on many two tight end sets the first two weeks.
"When he's out we all have to do little bit more to make up for his absence," Denver tight end Julius Thomas said. "But now with him there we know we have one of the best slot receivers in the game back out there doing what he does best."
BOOM OR BUST: Seattle's vaunted secondary knows it has to keep Denver's wide receivers from taking short passes and turning them into big plays. But equally concerning is Thomas, especially after last week when San Diego found ways to get tight end Antonio Gates in favorable matchups. The result: Gates had seven receptions and caught three touchdown passes.
"They know exactly what they have in (Thomas) and they use the heck out of him and he's a big force," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
HISTORY SAYS: Of the five previous Super Bowl rematches, the team that won the title won the return meeting three times. That includes Green Bay beating New England in 1997, a season after knocking off the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And if Denver is going to even the all-time score, it'll need to solve Seattle's home-field advantage that's seen the Seahawks win 18 of past 19 home games. Seattle's last home loss to an AFC team was Week 8 of 2011 to Cincinnati.
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