Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction
Disclaimer - I'm a Seahawks fan....obviously
You're all probably amped for the Super Bowl (unless you're a 49er fan or Pats fan) and can't wait for two Sundays from now. Trust me...I'm as excited as you are. My Seahawks will be competing in their second Super Bowl in franchise history (2005 was the other....robbed) and will face the NFL's #1 offense and arguably the greatest QB of all time (the other Manning).
Here is how I see the big game going...
Denver is the top ranked offense in the NFL. There is no question that they are loaded with weapons and can hurt you in multiple ways. Decker, Thomas, Thomas, Welker, Moreno....all with Peyton Manning conducting the symphony. Manning threw a record 55 td passes this year and didn't have too many games this year where he didn't shred opposing defenses. In the AFC title game he tore apart the Patriots and threaded the needle all day long.
Seattle has, without question, the best defense in the NFL this year. They finished as the top ranked defense in total scoring, total yards, interceptions, and turnover differential. The Legion of Boom was dominating and is led by Richard Sherman...a very soft-spoken, quiet, reserved, humble cornerback....yeah right. Earl Thomas, a defensive player of the year candidate roams at FS and the hard-hitting Kam Chancellor brings the pain and flies around and makes plays for 60 minutes. Maxwell, at the CB position opposite Sherman, was 2nd in the NFL in opposing QB passer rating (second only to Sherman). The LB core paired with the DL helped the Seahawks have a top 10 rushing defense and the LB's also shut down TE's like Jimmy Graham, and Vernon Davis on more than one occasion (each).
While the Denver offense and the Seattle defense will be the story I think this game will be decided by the match up of the Seattle offense vs. the Denver defense.
Denver's defense is banged up and is missing their leader in Von Miller as well as their leader in the secondary, Chris Harris. They have played well this year and have only allowed one 100 yd rusher.
Seattle's offense is led by second year QB Russell Wilson and is anchored by the beast, Marshawn Lynch. They have played most of the year without their top two receivers (Rice and Harvin) and at the halfway point of the season ranked in the top 5 in scoring offense (a lot of people forget this). While the offense has "struggled" recently, they'll need to convert some of their signature big plays to get the job done.
WEATHER (since everyone is talking about it...)
It's cold...29 degrees... but doesn't snow during the game. The announcers open the telecast by sharing the % chance of snow and spend a solid 10 minutes talking about the weather and it's possible impact on the game....but the snow never comes.
Manning throws for over 300 yds and 2 tds, but also throws 2 picks.
Moreno rushes for 75 yds and doesn't hit paydirt.
Denver puts good pressure on Russell Wilson and forces him to make some bad throws, including one int.
Russell Wilson throws for 210 yds and 1 td (to Golden Tate)
Lynch rushes for 130 yds and 2 tds.
Harvin makes a nice play here or there and the announces blow it way out of proportion...
LOB comes up with 2 picks...Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Kam returns his int for a game changing touchdown in the second half and Denver never recovers from the momentum shift.
Marshawn Lynch...beast mode...and he is forced to do a post game interview he doesn't want to be involved with, but pulls it off nicely.