Emmitt Smith, who won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys in the mid-1990s, knows what the week leading up to the Super Bowl is like – or, as it is now, the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
“I’ve (experienced) both,” the NFL’s all-time leading rusher said on The MoJo Show. “Having two weeks (off), the one thing I can expect from the game is (that) the running game is going to suffer. You’re giving two defensive coordinators two weeks to prepare for your running game. (But) if anybody has a chance of having tremendous success in the running game, I’ve got to lean toward Marshawn Lynch.”
As we saw in the NFC Championship, Lynch, facing a stout 49ers defense, was bottled up for much of the first half. But as the game wore on, runs that had been going for two or three yards started going for four or five yards – and eventually Lynch broke through. His 40-yard touchdown run tied the game at 10 early in the third quarter.
“Two weeks makes it very tough for the running game,” Smith said, “but if there was an edge, I’d have to give it to Marshawn Lynch.”
Which isn’t to take anything away from Knowshon Moreno, who had 1,500+ total yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
“I can’t take anything away from the kid from Denver,” Smith said. “Knowshon Moreno is not a bad running back, (so) don’t get it twisted. If Seattle comes up there slipping, Knowshon Moreno can punish them. He can punish them big time. He comes out of the Southeastern Conference, so I know he can run the football.”
The Georgia product has averaged 87.5 total yards per game this postseason – a respectable number. But let’s see how he fares against the league’s top-ranked defense. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points (14.4) and the fewest yards per game (273.6) in the NFL this season.
Denver wasn’t quite as stout, finishing 19th in yards (356) and 22nd in points (24.9).
“I do know this much,” Smith said. “Both of these defenses – and Seattle’s defense in particular – is pretty salty. Very, very salty, and very, very aggressive.
“The thing I’m looking forward to is (seeing) if Seattle can (take) that edge that they have at home (and bring it) on the road to New York. I know Denver can play in outdoor weather, and Seattle is outdoors as well – but Seattle may not have that 12th Man in New York City.”
Smith was asked who his favorite running backs are.
“I love Adrian Peterson,” Smith said. “Adrian Peterson, by far, is one of the best running backs in the National Football League today. But at the end of the day, Marshawn Lynch, oh my gosh. He’s killing it right now. He’s killing it. And he’s the man to talk about because he has this team in the Super Bowl, and everyone else is on the sideline watching.
“To see Seattle come together as a complete team – they’re not relying on Russell Wilson; they’re not just relying on Marshawn Lynch – they are a complete team. Not to say that Denver is not, but overall, Seattle is a team to be reckoned with.”