One of the biggest events of the year is just days upon us, the Super Bowl. The big game has a much different feel this time around. Usually the Super Bowl is held at a location that is either indoors or predominately warm. This year it is held in New York, which tends to be relatively cold in early February.
The two number one seeds advanced to the big dance for the first time since 2010 where the Saints and Colts battled it out in Miami. The Saints came out victorious, interestingly so over Peyton Manning. This time around, Manning does not have a horseshoe on his helmet. Peyton Manning is coming into New York with the number one offense in the NFL.
This is somewhat of a dream matchup for fans, as the number one defense and offense face each other in the NFL’s biggest stage. Peyton Manning shattered all of the regular season passing records and the Seattle defense recorded stats similar to the ’85 Bears. Great offense and great defense, there is not much to complain about, especially with the weather leaning toward the warmer side of the 40’s.
This game has plenty of intriguing match ups across the board. Time to look into some of the X’s and O’s on both sides of the ball.
Seattle’s offense is dependent on the running game to open things up for second year quarterback Russell Wilson. Marshawn Lynch, better known as Beast Mode, is what makes this offense go. If you stop the Seattle run game, your chances of beating them are pretty good. They have solid weapons on the outside, but not really a true number one guy. Percy Harvin was brought in via trade to be that guy, but injuries have not allowed him to see the field consistently.
Denver’s defense has been beat up throughout the season. Von Miller is the Bronco’s best player on the defense and he has been lost for quite some time. There have been injuries in the secondary as well, so the front seven play has been crucial for Denver. The most overlooked battle going into this game to me is the battle in the trenches for both teams.
New England dominated the Colts solely by running the football and they tried to continue at that pace in Denver. The Bronco’s run defense was ranked 7th in the NFL and displayed that vs. the Patriots. Seattle’s offense is reliant on the run game of Lynch and the Bronco’s know that. Denver knows that Seattle will try to run the ball consistently to control the clock and keep the ball out of Manning’s hands. This will be interesting to see what side of the line dominates in this particular situation. If Denver shuts down the Seahawks run game early, it will be trouble for Russell Wilson and company.
Peyton Manning is notorious for getting rid of the ball faster than almost every quarterback in the league. The ball is usually out in less than 2.5 seconds, which can be frustrating for a defense. The offensive line play in front of him throughout the playoffs has been stellar thus far, but Denver’s offensive line has not quite faced a defensive line like Seattle’s. If Clemons, Avril, Irvin and Bennett can get pressure to Manning early, the Bronco’s offense will struggle.
Manning is going to need his time in the pocket, because these Seattle corners like to play aggressive press coverage. Peyton’s receivers may not be open right away in that 2.5 second window, so time in the pocket is crucial to the team’s success.
Before getting to my official prediction, there are other factors outside of the X’s and O’s that will play into this game. Officiating will be a potential game changer in the Super Bowl. Last weekend in Seattle, you saw a good showcase of how football used to be played back in the 80’s and 90’s. The refs let both teams be extremely physical on defense, especially in the secondary.
If the refs eat the whistles and let these teams play to earn a Super Bowl title, the advantage goes to Seattle. The Legion of Boom will be able to have their way of aggressive play on the Denver weapons. If the refs decide to call it conservatively, the advantage goes to Denver. You never want to give Manning free yards up the field and if he gets some of those calls, Seattle might not be able to stop him.
The weather forecast for this game has been quite the topic of discussion recently. It was the main issue people had with having a Super Bowl outdoors in February. The forecast for the Super Bowl on Sunday appears to be in the high 40’s with no snow and minimal wind. This plays a huge part in my prediction.
The Denver Bronco’s will win this years Super Bowl and Peyton Manning will get his second Super Bowl title. With the Super Bowl win, Manning will finally have a playoff record just above .500. If the weather were a big factor in this game, Seattle would be the favorite. It just seems as if the football God’s want Peyton to finish out his career with another title.
This has a similar feel to the Baltimore Ravens run with Ray Lewis last year. Things aligned just perfectly, so one of the games greatest legends went out with a Super Bowl title. So with that being said, Manning gets a second title to get even with his little brother Eli. With his second championship, the ultimate debate will begin endlessly of where Peyton stands amongst the other quarterback greats.
Denver will win 23-13 over Seattle because the Denver front seven will do their part in slowing down Seattle’s run attack. Forcing Wilson to be one dimensional, it will give Manning too many opportunities to score. Either way, this Sunday is one of the best days of the calendar year. Super Bowl Sunday is damn near a holiday and it should be celebrated with either result. As soon as the day concludes, it is on to the long NFL off-season, where every other fan has reason to be optimistic for the next upcoming NFL regular season.