Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction (Yanotchko): Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
This game has it all, and hopefully it will be like recent Super Bowls, and come down to the last possession. You can't get a better matchup than the two No. 1 seeds from the AFC and NFC, and now we will get to answer the age old question of what wins championships, offense or defense.
The Broncos have had an offensive season for the ages, and Peyton Manning has never had a better season offensively. The Broncos have a nasty arsenal of weapons with the best three-man receiving corps in the game of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker. Denver also has a slick pass-catching tight end in Julius Thomas, and of course, the forgotten running back Knowshon Moreno had 1500-plus yards from scrimmage.
The Seahawks had the best defense in the league this year against the pass, and they did this all by mainly playing base coverages. Seattle's stat line is one for the ages, as they only allowed a 59-percent completion percentage, 172 yards per game, only 16 touchdowns all year with 28 interceptions, and 44 sacks. Seattle also had a stout front-seven against the rush, as they allowed 101 yards per game against, 3.9 yards per carry, and they also allowed only four touchdowns the whole year. On offense, Seattle was a rushing machine, led by Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks ran for 136.8 yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry, and 14 touchdowns on the year.
I think when it comes down to it all, it's very simple to break the big game down, as historically the team with the better defense beats the better offense. (See Giants vs. New England in 2007, 2011, and Rams vs. Patriots 2001.)
The Seahawks have a very physical secondary that can knock Peyton's rhythm-and-timing passing attack off schedule, as Richard Sherman can take Demaryius Thomas one on one, Earl Thomas can cover Julius Thomas, and Seattle will take a page out of the Patriots playbook and clog the middle and force Manning to throw out to the numbers. The Seahawks will be able to put pressure on Manning, something that he hasn't seen in over a month, and he will be sacked this game. Seattle has the ability to control the clock with its rushing attack with Lynch, and I think Percy Harvin can and will explode for a big play in this game.
In the end, I really respect Manning and I am amazed with the season he had, but cold weather, plus unbelievable defense re-routing his receivers, and for the first time in a long time, he will be hit which he does not like.
Give me Seattle, 24-20.
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