Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction (Beazley): Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

I haven’t been this excited for a Super Bowl in years.

We have the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense. We have the hero Peyton Manning vs. the villain Richard Sherman. My rooting interest will be with Seattle, (actually on my super bowl squares), but I do hope that it will be a good game.

Seattle needs to get a little more from Russell WIlson if they want any chance to win on Sunday. I think Wilson is the key for this whole game. As good as Seattle’s defense is, the Broncos offense is that much better. Seattle is going to need to score at least 24 points. Wilson is going to need to make plays with his arm and legs and make no mistakes turning the ball over. Turnovers are always a factor in a game, but it is especially important when you are facing the Broncos. Denver led the NFL in redzone touchdown efficiency converting 72.73% of their redzone trips into touchdowns. If Wilson turns the ball over and gives Denver a short field to work with, you can kiss this game goodbye.

Seattle on the other hand has struggled in the playoffs converting on their redzone chances. Kicking field goals is a wasted trip when you play the Broncos, and this is how I see this game playing out:

1st Quarter
Seattle gets the ball first, WIlson/Lynch make some big plays, they get some clutch first downs on third down and settle for 3. Their defense forces Denver to a three-and-out on their first possession and their offense works their way down the field again, and they settle for a FG. Denver is driving, but the quarter ends with Seattle in the lead, 6-0.

2nd Quarter
Two plays into the second quarter, Peyton hits Wes Welker on that quick out pass that you can see from a mile away. Welker and the Broncos take the lead 7-6. On the next Denver possession, safety Earl Thomas forces Demaryius Thomas to fumble deep into Denver territory. Seattle fails again to get into the endzone and Seattle kicks another FG to take a 9-7 lead. Seattle’s defense holds, and their offense sputters again. Peyton has under 2 minutes left in the half and the ball on their own 15-yard line, but two quick completions and then an Eric Decker 60-yard bomb give the Broncos a 14-9 edge. Seattle at this point will have double the time of possession, and have outgained and outplayed Denver but are behind at half time.

3rd Quarter
Denver gets the ball first, and after a big kickoff return they get great field position. Denver works their way into field goal range and they pad their lead to 17-9. Down a touchdown, and a two point conversion, Seattle gets away a little from what worked in the first half and Wilson throws a pick-6 to none other than Champ Bailey. Denver is now in the driver seat up 24-9. Seattle claws their way back in it, and Marshawn Lynch breaks one for a 40-yard touchdown giving Seattle hope. At the end of the 3rd quarter, it's 24-16 Broncos.

4th Quarter
Peyton Manning throws a pick to Kam Chancellor. Seattle with great field position is unable to knock it into the endzone, but another FG puts them within a TD: 24-19, Broncos. The Broncos go three-and-out on their next possession and the stadium is going crazy. Seattle gets a great punt return to midfield to start their next drive with just about 8 minutes left. Marshawn Lynch who has been abusing the Denver defense all game gets Seattle down to the 20-yard line with 5 minutes left. Seattle is faced with a 4th and 1, and Pete Carroll elects to go for it where Lynch is stuffed. With all 3 timeouts left, Seattle still has a chance to get the ball back. On the very first play expecting run, Peyton hits Demaryius Thomas on a quick bubble screen and he takes it to the house for a 79-yard touchdown, and that ends up being the difference.

Denver 31, Seattle 19

MVP – Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning: 20-37, 279 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Knowshon Moreno: 13 rush, 27 yards; 3 rec, 7 yards
Demaryius Thomas: 4 rec, 111 yards, 1 TD
Eric Decker: 6 rec, 101 yards, 1 TD
Wes Welker: 3 rec, 18 yards, 1 TD

Russell Wilson: 17-31, 178 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; 6 rush, 35 yards
Marshawn Lynch: 29 rush, 172 yards, 1 TD; 4 rec, 30 yards
Percy Harvin: 4 rec, 38 yards; 3 rush, 18 yards
Golden Tate: 5 rec, 61 yards

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