Peyton’s legacy, Seattle’s defense and cold weather: CV Weekly’s sportswriters make their picks for the Big Game.
The easiest Super Bowls to watch are the ones where your heart can sit comfortably without being pulled in every which way, where you don’t have to sit on the edge of your seat rooting for your favorite team or player, or when you don’t to partake in an act of schadenfreude. Yes, it’s fun seeing the Patriots go home without another championship (nine years and counting!), but it’s much better for the soul to make like the average viewer and eat chips and discuss the commercials or the merits of the halftime performers.
But that’s not me. I sit and root every year for good to triumph over evil (in my head, at least). While I do not find the Seahawks evil, and am actually glad Pete Carroll was able to defeat Jim Harbaugh in the NFC title game, I will once again root for Peyton Manning to cement his legacy as possibly the best quarterback of all time.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has looked average as of late, putting the onus on Marshawn Lynch and the running game. That has obviously worked well enough, but Denver’s defensive line has upped its game in the postseason. Peyton doesn’t have to light up the scoreboard; he just has to control the ball like he did two weeks ago vs. the Patriots. If he does that that, he’ll get his second ring. At least, that’s what my heart wants.
Prediction: Denver 24, Seattle 17.
For the first time since 1995, Super Bowl XLVIII features an all West Coast lineup. The storylines are varied, and both teams have legitimate arguments for the title of best in the world.
Ultimately I feel like this is Peyton’s year. He has the offensive weaponry to make plays happen and put points on the board. Seattle has a solid defense, and I think it will be tough in the first half for the Broncos offense to get up to speed, especially with the dominating secondary of Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman.
The Seahawks are known for getting in the head of their opponents, racking up numerous penalties by provoking teams’ offenses. However, the Broncos have the calm, savvy Peyton on their side, and I think he can make the necessary adjustments at halftime to make a difference in the second half.
The weather will be crucial in the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather climate. The two offenses benefit differently from the weather: a lot of precipitation and wind is likely to disrupt Denver’s clinical passing game, while paying dividends for the punishing running game of Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. But if the weather is more fair and calm, Peyton can take to the air and pick apart the defense with the surgeon-like precision Denver fans know all too well.
Of note is the fact that no Seattle Seahawk has been to the Super Bowl, including their coach, former USC Head Coach Pete Carroll.
Ultimately, I think Russell Wilson’s inexperience and, conversely, Manning’s vast experience will be decisive in a game that will probably come down to the wire.
Prediction: Denver 34, Seattle 24.
It’s finally come to this. The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will meet in the Super Bowl. The league’s best offense against the league’s best defense. However, it’s even more than that.
Peyton Manning had the best statistical year by a quarterback in the NFL and the Denver Broncos scored a league record 606 points. The Broncos offense was akin to a video game, Manning distributing the ball at will amongst his four elite receivers, and a balanced run attack with Knowshon Moreno and Monte Ball.
Denver will be up against their stiffest competition to date as they face a fearsome Seahawks defense (league best 14.4 opponent PPG). Seattle has a vicious pass rush and perhaps the best secondary in the game with Earl Thomas and the self-proclaimed best corner in the game, Richard Sherman.
Thanks to Sherman’s epic, but derisive, post-game interview following the Seahawks’ win in the NFC championship, the Super Bowl has developed a nice hero/villain narrative. Outside of the Pacific Northwest, everyone will be rooting against the Seahawks. America wants to see Peyton Manning win. For Manning, a win might cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Sherman can cover one of Denver’s receivers, but he can’t cover all of them, and Peyton Manning will find a way to exploit mismatches.
Prediction: Denver 24, Seattle 17.