And the Super Bowl Winner Is…
Well, the largest unofficial holiday in the United States is finally upon us and the questions abound. Who will have the best and funniest commercials? Will the Halftime Show performers freeze up in the Northeastern cold? How many "Omahas" will we get from Peyton Manning? Will Manning throw a "duck" Richard Sherman's way? Who will make the defining play of the game? Will Roger Goodell spend the whole game outside with the fans?
I think the most important questions to answer are: Who will be the Super Bowl MVP? And, who will win the game?
For only the sixth time in Super Bowl history, do we have matchup that pits the number one overall offense against the number one overall defense. In the first five meetings, four times the better defense won the game. Will Seattle make it a fifth time that happens, or will Peyton Manning will the Broncos to victory?
Let's breakdown both teams and see who will be the victor of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Why Denver could win:
1. Peyton Manning. Manning is the ultimate quarterback at breaking down opposing defenses. If any quarterback can find even the smallest weakness in a defense-- even Seattle's-- it is Manning. Even if his postseason record isn't the most glamorous, he also wasn't playing with as many weapons as he has to his disposal with the Broncos.
2. Knowshon Moreno/Montee Ball. While Manning and his receiving options get the most notoriety on the offense, it might just come down to Moreno and Ball carrying the load in the expected cold weather in MetLife Stadium on Super Sunday.
3. Denver's secondary. While the Denver secondary gave up a lot of yards and big plays in 2013, they did so while missing a ton of players to injury. The loss of Chris Harris in the Divisional Round could still hurt but Champ Bailey held up very well in the AFC Championship against Tom Brady. Seattle has a very underrated, young, speedy corp of receivers. If the Broncos' secondary can hold up and keep the yards after catch down, it could to Denver hoisted their third overall Lombardi trophy.
Why Seattle could win:
1. Marshawn Lynch. There is no secret that the Seahawks' offense runs through Beast Mode. If finds success and the endzone, Seattle tends to come out victorious. If Lynch makes at least one big impact run in the Super Bowl, Seattle will have the momentum they will need to win their first Lombardi.
2. Legion of Boom. Very rarely has there ever been a secondary built that can cover any receiving option. Every member of this group can cover man-to-man and shut down a passing attack. While Manning can certainly find some openings, this secondary can still very much limit the big plays-- maybe even make big plays non-existent.
3. Seattle's pass rush. Whether it is Chris Avril, Chris Clemons, Michael Bennett, or Bruce Irving, the key to winning for Seattle will come down to being able to disrupt Manning's timing. If they can get to Manning consistently in under 3 seconds (as they did against Drew Brees twice) they will force Manning to make a mistake that could seal the victory for Seattle.
Who will win:
While I think Peyton Manning is one the greatest quaterbacks ever and I believe he can carry and will any team to victory, I believe that the younger Seattle Seahawks-- led by Lynch and the defense-- will ultimately come out victorious.
Seattle 24, Denver 17
The Super Bowl MVP will be Beast Mode himself, Marshawn Lynch. He will run for a TD, catch a TD, and gain at least 120 yards against the Broncos' defense.