Who will win Super Bowl XL? In analyzing the tape and metrics for this game, I believe there are five factors that will determine the winner.
Pittsburgh's vertical pass offense vs. Seattle's pass defense
Pittsburgh has used a very effective vertical passing game during much of the season and all of the playoffs to help establish early leads. This approach seemed to catch many opponents off guard (especially Indianapolis in the AFC divisional game), but Seattle will certainly be expecting it on Sunday.
As I detailed in a recent column, the Seahawks have been very good at slowing down vertical passing games. This will be their goal Sunday, as Seattle wants to force Ben Roethlisberger to be a more patient quarterback. I think the Seahawks will play their secondary and linebackers deep in an effort to make Roethlisberger throw short passes and rely on the running game before he has a lead.