The Broncos are the favorites. I like the Seahawks.
Strong arguments can be made for either team to win Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos’ offense led by Peyton Manning can score against anybody. Richard Sherman is the loudest voice of a Seahawks’ defense that can be dominant.
I love this matchup because the Broncos and Seahawks did not meet during the regular season. It’s a fresh and fascinating chess match. With two weeks to prepare, has Manning found weaknesses in the Seahawks’ defense that he can exploit? Can Denver’s defense contain the powerful running of Marshawn Lynch?
It will be settled outdoors at MetLife Stadium, and don’t worry about the weather. Sunday’s forecast in East Rutherford, N. J. calls for afternoon temps in the upper 40’s, with low winds, and no rain.
Get your popcorn ready for a terrific matchup. Here are three reasons why I like the Seahawks.
1. Lynch will have plenty to say Sunday.
Lynch loathes interviews, but loves playoff football. In six career playoff games, he has topped 100 yards four times. By the second half, the Broncos’ will be susceptible to Lynch breaking a game-changing run. Seattle has the running game to control time of possession. Keeping Manning off the field is the only sure way to stop him.
[RELATED:Disappointing season fuels Rice]
2. Russell Wilson’s mobility will be an issue for the Broncos
Few quarterbacks are more elusive than Wilson. When he scrambles, Wilson keeps his eyes downfield looking to throw. That’s when he is most dangerous. The Broncos have beaten two classic pocket quarterbacks in the playoffs – Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. But Wilson, who already has a 3-1 career playoff record, is going to turn a couple of broken plays into big plays for Seattle.
3. The Seahawks’ defense will pressure Manning enough to bother him.
Manning has not been sacked in the playoffs, and has rarely thrown under duress. It’s almost impossible to beat him that way. But the Seahawks have the most imposing defense to reach the Super Bowl since the Ravens’ defense in 2000. The Seattle secondary is the best in football, and the front four is good enough to pressure Manning without blitzing. For the first time in the postseason, Manning will be rushed, throwing the ball to his dangerous receiving corps featuring Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas. Seattle’s defense will be the difference.
Prediction: Emotions will run high early, and I think both teams could start slowly offensively. But in the fourth quarter, when the game will be decided, Seattle will be the stronger and better team. Seahawks win, 23-17.