Well it’s been awhile since I did a Super Bowl prediction but today I dusted off the ole’ formula that I use to ‘git er done. Let me first say that I am a Russell Wilson fan…have been since he played for the Badgers and no one wants him to win more than I do. But the Broncos have their own Badger hopeful in Montee Ball. Can’t play favorites in a prediction post y’all!
Shortly after the Championships, all the talk was about how Denver was practically unstoppable on offense and how this year was “the year” for the Broncos. Toward the middle of this week, however, it all started to change. The Broncos are favored by 3 (2.5) in this game but you wouldn’t know it with all the love the Seahawks are getting. They are described as a more balanced team and how many times can we hear the phrase “defense wins championships”…well, in one sense that is absolutely correct somebody’s defense wins a championship every year. But here are some thoughts for everyone spouting platitudes like that:
1. Offense, defense and special teams win championships. This is a team sport and always will be won based on team effort including special teams. Any questions about special teams, just ask Desmond Howard or Adam Vinatieri, I’m not just talking field position here (which is HUGE in the Super Bowl).
2. If that statement were as black and white as it sounds…every team with a superior defense would win every championship, making the Super Bowl easy to predict. I highly doubt that bookies would still be in business if predicting the Super Bowl was that easy.
So I looked at defense, but I also looked at offense and the ability to score points (something the Packers have thrived on for a couple years) along with several other factors (top secret ha!) to take my shot at who is going to hoist Lombardi at the end of this game.
Offense – Gotta give the nod to the Broncos. Peyton Manning has had a phenomenal year and thought I am not a fan…RESPECT. He’s played on this stage and won…in bad passing weather no less. He will continue to be surgical. A lot has been said about the Seattle D-backs who are a fantastic group, Kam Chancellor being my favorite. They will get big hits but they will not get turnovers in this game…not INT’s anyway. Sherman’s talk ends in the Meadowlands. In the SanFrancisco game, the Seattle defense were blessed to be playing against a quarterback whose only asset are his two legs. Kaepernick has a strong arm and runs well…but is the most overrated quarterback in the league. Peyton Manning will make it very clear that there is a difference between a Hall of Fame to be quarterback and one who was born with great physicals but is lacking in the detail work that makes a quarterback great.
I expect the Seahawks to make some GREAT defensive plays, but they won’t keep the Broncos out of the endzone.
Defense – Marshawn Lynch will be a handful for the Broncos Defense and I think the X factor for the Broncos D could be the fact that Percy Harvin has been cleared to play. This guy reminds me of Randall Cobb except he cannot stay healthy. Seattle will rely on the run game to keep Peyton off the field and will have a bit of success with likely a couple of long series’ capped off with TD’s. But the Broncos will do enough to give Peyton the opportunity to outpace the ‘Hawks. Russell Wilson will play his exciting, scrappy-smart brand of football and make some plays with his feet to keep it close but I expect Seattle to trail coming into the third quarter and begin to have to throw the ball rather than ground-and-pound with Lynch. If this is the case, and Seattle’s Defense can’t come up big, the Broncos will be able to ride it out.
Well there are a LOT of other factors that go into a football game…one that is particularly important is adjustments. I have heard people give Seattle the nod on their ability to adjust because coach Carroll is so intimately involved with everything that is going on whereas the Broncos’ Fox relies on expert assistants and coordinators and manages them as they do their jobs. I disagree entirely.
1. John Fox has put a team in place that is worthy of his trust and he TRUSTS them. No one person can have his fingers in every pie, influence every decision and make every call that factors into a football game…not effectively at least. Fox’s management style will allow his coaching staff to make the right choices at the right time, and they will make adjustments to things that the head coach can’t even see.
2. Fox has Peyton Manning – arguably the best pre-snap read quarterback in the game, Peyton is going to be able to see the future against the Seahawks. Their defense is great, but complicated it is not. Manning will be able to shift protections on the fly and give his guys a chance at succeess
So, in the end, I see this game being close but not as low scoring as some might expect. What I do NOT see is a lot of lead changes in this game like the San Francisco vs. Seattle game. This game will be exciting because so many (including myself) will be rooting for the Seahawks to finally square it up and take a stab at that elusive first-ever franchise title. But I don’t see it happening…Broncos cover the spread, 28-24.