No mystery here. I’m not leading you on until the bitter end. The Seattle Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLVIII and here is why:
Seattle Offense Isn’t Bad
A lot has been made about the Seahawks offense being mediocre. I don’t believe that to be accurate at all.
Seattle was the 8th highest scoring team in the NFL this season averaging just over 26 points per game. Also consider they played in a division with the 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams. Those teams ranked 5, 6, and 15 in yards allowed and 3, 7, and 13 in points allowed. In the playoffs they took on the Saints (#4 scoring defense, #4 yardage defense) and the Niners (#3, #5). They scored 23 points in their victories over both in the playoffs. They don’t turn the ball over and are extremely balanced. It’s complete nonsense for anyone to say they can’t score 20 on Denver.
Denver played 8 games this season against what I would deem quarterbacks that can move around or run. What were the rushing results?
Terrelle Pryor- 34 and 49 yards
Alex Smith- 52 and 46 yards
Mike Vick- 41 yards
Tony Romo- 7 yards
Andrew Luck- 29 yards
Robert Griffin III- 7 yards
Denver doesn’t have the athletes (especially without Von Miller) to contain Russell Wilson. I’d bet on Wilson having at least 5 rushes and around 30 yards and buying time to hit multiple big plays down the field.
Seattle is without WR Sidney Rice and CB Brandon Browner. They’ve adjusted though and their replacements may actually be an upgrade with Percy Harvin playing on Sunday and CB Byron Maxwell actually grading out higher by Pro Football Focus.
Denver, on the other hand, is without 5 starters on defense (Miller, Vickerson, Wolfe, Harris, and Moore). Both their run defense and pass defense has suffered because of it. John Fox and Jack Del Rio deserve a lot of credit for helping them overcome those losses. The Broncos have also played all year without their starting left tackle and center on offense, although that didn’t stop them from scoring the most points ever.
Seattle forced 39, and turned it over 19 times. (+20)
Denver forced 26, and turned it over 26 times. (Even)
Seattle isn’t as good away from home. Yes, I agree. But neither is Denver. Both went 6-2 on the road this year. I don’t see it as a big a deal as some people are making it out to be. Defense will travel anywhere, and this is a neutral site, not a road game.
Match-up Not To Watch
Richard Sherman vs. Demaryius Thomas
Sherman lined up at right outside cornerback just three times during the entire regular season. He lines up at left corner 80 percent of the time, and moves to safety on another 15 percent. Thomas, meanwhile, lines up wide to Peyton Manning’s left on 48 percent of his snaps. So more than half the time Thomas will face off against Byron Maxwell if the teams continue to play the way they have all year. It will be interesting if either team switches things up. If they don’t, it’s almost a waste of time talking about the two because they won’t see much of each other, and if I’m Denver, I’d keep Thomas away as much as possible.
Who To Watch
Broncos TE Julius Thomas. He’s big and athletic. The two most athletic and fastest tight ends in football are Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham in my opinion. They combined for 3 catches, 24 yards in the playoffs against Seattle. Just sayin’.
What I worry about if I am Seattle
Denver DT Terrance Knighton has played out of his mind lately. He must continue to be a difference-maker for the Broncos to have a chance.
The Seahawks play mostly zone, mostly Cover 3. That would lend itself toward Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, and Knowshon Moreno being very active in the passing game. Can Manning just pick at Seattle and make them bleed out slowly? Or can Demariyus Thomas get over the top of the defense down the sideline for a big play?
Seattle is partly great because they are smart and opportunistic. If Denver doesn’t beat itself, I think that evens things out quite a bit.
Seahawks FS Earl Thomas is the best in the business. He completely takes away the middle of the field. Manning did a ton of damage in the deep middle this year so this is something to definitely keep an eye on.
Seattle DE Chris Clemons and DE Cliff Avril are the guys that will lineup on the right side, Peyton Manning’s blind-side, most of the time. Broncos LT Chris Clark has given up 7.5 of the 18 sacks Denver allowed this year. One or both of those guys need to get it done against the weak link.
Seattle WR Percy Harvin will be a big-time player in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks used him heavily against the Saints before he was knocked out. They will throw it to him underneath and let him run. They’ll also hand it to him. Expect only Marshawn Lynch to handle the ball more.
Denver Broncos -2.5 vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are balanced on offense with a power rushing game and a smart, mobile quarterback.
The Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL that emphasizes both power, and finesse. Their secondary is one of the best in recent memory.
The Seahawks special teams are a plus. They have excellent return teams and one of the best, most accurate kickers in the NFL.
The Seahawks are well coached, have a deep and healthy roster, and the great defenses have history on their side.
Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.
Last week straight-up: 2-0
Last week against the spread: 1-1
Overall straight-up: 9-1
Overall against the spread: 6-3-1