SUPER BOWL- MetLife Stadium- East Rutherford, NJ
Seattle Seahawks (13-3, 6-2 away) vs. Denver Broncos (13-3, 7-1 home) 02/02- 6:25PM EST
Line: DEN -3.0
The stage is set come Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, two teams that have poured their blood, sweat and tears since training camp opened back in July will play for it all on the world’s biggest stage… Super Bowl XLVIII at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
Much of the story line leading up to Sunday’s big game in the league’s biggest media market has been the weather as these two teams will play in the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city. Will the weather cooperate? Will the game be moved to Friday, Saturday or Monday? None of that folks… the game will go on as schedule as the forecast calls for cold but nothing more. No snow, no rain…. Just cold and just football. Super Bowl Sunday! The way it should be here in America.
Let’s talk football now. The Seattle Seahawks (15-3) with the NFL’s best and most ferocious defense will look to deny the NFL’s best offense, the offensive machine that is the Denver Broncos (15-3).
While the Seahawks will be in search of their first ever Super Bowl victory… the Denver Broncos, no strangers to Super Bowl titles will be trying to help Peyton Manning with another ring and a chance to make NFL history by becoming the first starting quarterback to lead two different franchises to a Super Bowl championship.
To be honest unlike the Broncos, I was a nay-sayer most of last season with the Seahawks not believing they can win on the road, not believing they can win the big games, not believing they had what it takes to win it all…. I was wrong! I do believe they have the tools to win it all, but the test will be great as they will put their top-rated defense against the top-rated offense. A first since Super Bowl XXV when the New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills 20-19 following the 1990 season.
Sunday’s game will also mark the first meeting of two No. 1 seeds since the 2009 season when New Orleans beat the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.
“It will be a great matchup,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
And while the Seahawks may not be the ‘marquee’ team that we wanted in the Super Bowl, there is no denying that they are a great football team that did what they had to do and deserve to be there with a chance to make history of their own by capturing their first Super Bowl title for the city of Seattle.
Seattle lost in their only other previous Super Bowl appearance in 2005 to Pittsburgh 21-10.
The Seattle offense averaged 26.1 points per game during the season but it was the defense that has carried them this far by allowing only 14.4 points per contest. Now just how well the defense can contain Peyton Manning who set league records by throwing for 5,477 yards with 55 touchdowns to pace an offense that averaged an NFL-best 37.9 points per game remains to be seen… but I like their chances.
“Peyton’s been extraordinary,” Carroll said. “People couldn’t even dream to have the year that Peyton’s had before this season with all the numbers. We’re up against it.”
Manning has been picking teams apart all season long with his choice of offensive weapons, be it running back Knowshon Moreno (13 TDs), receivers Wes Walker (10 TDs), Eric Decker (11 TDs), Demaryius Thomas (14 TDs) and tight end Julius Thomas (12 TDs) and although the Seahawks lack the experience of not having one player with Super Bowl experience… they have great confidence in their defense.
“I’ve never seen experience play in games,” said Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman who has been making headlines all over the media with his trash talking, questions of sportsmanship and racial attitudes, but there is no denying he gets it done on the football field.
Sherman led the NFL with eight interceptions and has been the leader in a hard-hitting secondary know as the “Legion of Boom.”
“I am just a guy trying to be the best,” said Sherman. “I am a guy who wants to help this team win. I am a fiery competitor who puts his life into his work and puts everything into his work.”
Tale of the tape for the Seattle defense is impressive… 14.4 points allowed per game, 273.6 total yards 172.0 passing yards, a league-best 39 forced turnovers and 44 sacks led by ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.
“They are as good as advertised,” said Manning. “Probably one of the most impressive things is how well they play together as a unit.”
Manning has thrown for 580 yards on 67.5 passing percentage with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his two Super Bowls where he is 1-1.
The Seahawks have a little bit of offense punch themselves backed by third-year quarterback Russell Wilson, who is the only QB to post a passer rating of at least 100.0 in each of his first two seasons and his 24 regular-season victories are the most by a quarterback for his first two years since 1950.
Running back Marshawn Lynch (1,257 yards 12 TDs) will try to open up the ground attack against a Denver defense that has stepped up allowing an average of just 15.0 points and 268.5 yards in their last four games, including the playoffs.
But, oddsmakers are counting on the experience and just the overall power of the Denver offense by making the Broncos a (minus -3.0) point favorite, but with anybody who is everybody betting on all things Super Bowl related and the line expected to move back and forth as game time approaches, stay up to date and in the know with the latest lines up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.
This is the Super Bowl… everything is magnified… experience, numbers, stats, history and records are a thing of the past when these two teams take the field on Sunday night as it will come down to execution and taking care of the ball and whichever team does the better job and wants it more, wins… it’s that simple. Which team will make history? Seattle winning their first Super Bowl or Denver adding to Manning’s NFL legacy?
“I’d like to have to be, like, 70 to have a legacy. I’m not even 100 percent sure what word even means,” said Manning.
“I’m down the homestretch of my career, but I’m still in it. It’s not over yet. And so it’s still playing out.”
As good as the Seahawks defense has been and is, can they do enough to keep the Broncos at bay and give the offense a chance? Ball control may play a part but Denver can score so quickly… will it matter? So many questions, so many ways to dissect the biggest game of the year in all of American sports, but in the end as mentioned before… execution, taking care of the football and who wants it more will decide the winner. Who will do the better job to take home the trophy? All indications point to the Broncos which is hard to go against, but in the end, I favor the Seahawks doing the better job on both sides of the footbal and predict the Seattle Seahawks lifting this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII championship trophy as the NFL’s best team for the 2013 season.
Prediction/Pick- Seattle Seahawks
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter