Super Bowl XLVIII, unlike some other recent Super Bowls, will be a matchup of the two best teams during the regular season. Let’s first examine how the Denver Broncos got to the Super Bowl.
The Broncos finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, and they are coming off of an impressive 26-16 win in the AFC Championship over the New England Patriots. The Broncos boast the best offense in the NFL, as they scored 37.9 points per game in the regular season, which was the best in the NFL.
In addition to their exciting, impressive offense, their defense has been underrated recently. In their last four games (the last two regular season games and their two playoff games), their defense has only allowed 13 points, 14 points, 17 points, and 16 points.
The Seattle Seahawks, on the other hand, also finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, and they beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC Championship. Seattle’s offense isn’t as high-powered as the Broncos’ offense, but the Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL. They gave up just 14.4 points per game in the regular season, which was the best in the NFL.
This Super Bowl is certainly going to be entertaining because of the matchups but also because of some drama off the field.
Peyton Manning had one of the best regular seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. However, many critics have questioned his ability to be effective in the postseason. He’s also had trouble in the past with playing in rainy, snowy, or windy environments.
Initially, it appeared as if the weather at MetLife Stadium on Sunday would exhibit those types of conditions. However, as of recently, the weather forecast has been updated, and there’s only a 10 percent of some type of precipitation. On Sunday, there’s a high temperature of 46 degrees and a low of 26 degress. Manning has experience playing in cold temperatures though, as he plays his home games in Denver.
On the Seahawks side, the drama centers around Richard Sherman. The cornerback showed some unsportsmanlike and disrespectful behavior after winning the NFC Championship. Despite this, he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and plays with one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Since the Broncos employ such a pass-heavy offense, Manning will have his hands full this Sunday.
Seattle’s defense might be the worst nightmare for a team like Denver that relies on their passing game so much, but there are a few reasons why Manning might be able to overcome such a powerful defense.
First of all, Manning has one of the highest football IQs out of all NFL quarterbacks. He’s not overly quick or mobile, but he is incredibly accurate with his arm and incredibly sharp with his mind. He’s so smart, and he finds ways to avoid contact from the defense. He rarely gets hit or gets sacked, so this will put more pressure of Seattle’s secondary to make big plays.
Second, Seattle’s secondary is superb, but they might not have enough defensive backs to match up with all of Denver’s weapons on offense. Sherman might find a way to contain Demaryius Thomas, but the Broncos also have potent weapons in Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, and Knowshon Moreno. Even if the Seahawks use a nickel defense, it will be hard to stop or contain every single one of the Broncos’ offensive weapons.
With that being said, let’s get to the prediction. Manning is having a record-breaking season, and I don’t think he will fold under the pressure of the Super Bowl. I don’t think he can be stopped, even by the NFL’s best defense.
Many people say defense wins championships (a saying which is used in many sports), but that’s a naive statement given the fact that Seahawks are a completely different team on the road.
Manning is also one of the most experienced veterans in the NFL, whereas there isn’t one player on the Seattle Seahawks that has any Super Bowl experience. I think Seattle’s inexperience will ultimately cost them.
Given Denver’s underrated defense, Seattle’s loss of identity and consistency on the road, Seattle’s inexperience, Denver’s electrifying offense, and Manning’s elite talent, I predict the Broncos will win the Supper Bowl.
Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction: Denver Broncos 24, Seattle Seahawks 21
Also, several Golden Gate Sports writers, including myself, submitted Super Bowl predictions, which appeared in an article on Friday. Check out what our predictions were here.