Who will win Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks? Big Blue View staffers have weighed in with their picks for the game. Keep reading to see what we think, and vote in the poll to let us know what you think.
Pick: Seattle 29, Denver 27
Explanation: They say that defense wins championships. That will be tested in the most perfect way this year. The No. 1 overall, scoring, and red zone defense goes up against the No. 1 overall, scoring, and red zone offense. Peyton Manning will win his matchups. That Seattle secondary will win some of theirs. However, their biggest weapon will not be any of their stars on defense. It will be one man on their offense.
That man is Marshawn Lynch. "Beast Mode" is what will allow Seattle to control time of possession and keep the ball out of Manning's hand. Denver is ill-equipped to handle such a powerful attack. Their linebackers are small, quick, coverage guys, with their own "X-factor" Von Miller out for the season. Ultimately, I think Lynch, Russell Wilson, and secret weapon Percy Harvin will overpower a Denver defense that is not without weaknesses.
Pick: Seattle 24, Denver 21
Explanation: I agonized over this one for a while. More than any other championship game in recent memory, this one truly matches strength against strength. The no. 1 offense against the no. 1 defense ... If there's one quarterback that can dissect Seattle's defense it's Peyton Manning. If there's one defense that can disrupt Denver's (Peyton's) timing and match-up based offense, it is Seattle's. What's more, the strength of Seattle's offense is Marshawn Lynch rumbling between the tackles. However as Denver proved in the AFC Championship, the strength of their defense is shutting those runs down.
On the other hand, both teams will be playing at a disadvantage. Seattle rode a dominant home-field advantage into the into and through the playoffs (they're 17-1 at home over the last two years), but they will be without that on Sunday. On Denver's side, there's the ever-present question mark of how Peyton will perform outside in the cold. He was still accurate and efficient against New England in the AFC Championship game, but his passes were distinctly duck-like. The margin of error will be an order of magnitude smaller against Seattle's secondary than it was against New England (with or without Talib).
I think the game will ultimately come down to which team is able to force the other out of their game plan, and I think that team will be Seattle.
Pick: Denver 21, Seattle 17
Explanation: The Broncos take on the Seahawks in a matchup of strength vs. strength: the Broncos' passing attack vs. the talented Seattle secondary. This is true, but the matchup that I think tips the game in the direction of the Broncos is the average Seahawks' offense against the suddenly competent Broncos' defense, which is giving up an average of 15 points per game. For those reasons alone I'd pick the Broncos but the real clincher for me is this -- Eli win his second Super Bowl in the house Peyton built, it seems like destiny that Peyton's second Super Bowl title and legacy clinching victory would occur at "Giants Stadium."
Pick: Denver 24, Seattle 20
Explanation: I should know better. The saying goes 'defense wins championships.' It's one I believe in, and one I think history shows to be accurate. Defense had almost everything to do with every title the Giants have won, including 1990 when the Giants top-rated defense outlasted the Buffalo Bills top-rated offense. Like I said, I SHOULD know better. I am picking the Broncos, anyway.
Why? Peyton Manning. I know all about the concerns that the cold weather will impact Manning's ability to make some throws. I know how good Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are, along with the rest of the vaunted Seattle defense. With two weeks to prepare for anyone, however, I will not -- cannot -- bet against Manning. He is the smartest, most studious quarterback of his generation and if there is even the slightest chink in the Seahawks' armor Manning -- with two full weeks to uncover it -- will find it.