Super Bowl picks: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
Posted January 28
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks meet Sunday at MetLife Stadium for the National Football League's ultimate prize, the Lombardi Trophy.
When it comes to the Super Bowl, it is not about the record; it is about the pride and bragging rights that go along with winning at the biggest stage.
The WRAL sports staff weighs in on Sunday's game offering their keys to the game and tell you who they think will win.
Peyton Manning has had a few extra days to prepare for the Seahawks' top-ranked defense. What he can’t simulate is the size of the Seattle defensive backs. I love the running game of the 'Hawks led by Marshawn Lynch but I think for Seattle to win, Russell Wilson will have to use his feet to gain some yards. He will also have to pass better. His passing numbers are down in the last six games. The 215 he posted against the 'Niners in the NFC championship game is the highest yardage he’s passed for in that six-game span. He has only five touchdown tosses in that span, no more than one in a game.
Seattle can’t win with those kind of numbers. Because of that, I am picking the Broncos to win.
Pick: Denver 21 Seattle 14
This is the classic clash of styles - Seattle's stingy defense against Denver's prolific offense. But I see Seattle finding a way to slow the Broncos down just enough, and when necessary the Seahawks can grind it out on the ground. Marshawn Lynch goes into "beast mode," Mother Nature gets involved and Seattle wins its first Super Bowl.
Pick: Seattle 24 Denver 20
I am picking the Seahawks. It’s been the best defense in the league all year and I think the team will get pressure on Peyton Manning, which will force him to be uncomfortable. He won’t have the time to sit back there and make his reads with this defense. Russell Wilson has just enough to get the points the Seahawks need to win. I also really like Pete Carroll and I think he will be out to prove a “college guy” can win it all in the league.
Pick: Seattle by 3
As a Patriots fan, I have virtually no interest, but let's win one for Wes Welker.
Pick: Denver 27 Seattle 13
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As good as Seattle's defense is, I think Denver's offense and Peyton manning will be able to move the ball. The Broncos have five legitimate receiving targets and Knowshon Moreno is a dual threat out of the backfield. Seattle will definitely try and disrupt Manning's timing and, to use a football term, move him off his spot.
Seattle will try and control the ball with Lynch and the running game an then let Russell Wilson make some big throws of of play-action.
In a match up of the league's best offense (Denver) and defense (Seattle), it will likely be how their opposite units perform that will decide this game.
In the end, I think this entire year has been -- and will be -- a validation of Peyton Manning's greatness. To me, Joe Montana and Tom Brady are the best to ever spin it. Montana won four Super Bowls and three times was chosen the game's MVP. Brady won three of these games and was chosen the most valuable player on two occasions.
A win Sunday puts Manning on a very short list behind the top two. I say it happens, Denver wins.
Pick: Denver 26 Seattle 20
One hashtag: #AllRussellWilsonEverything
Pick: Denver 27 Seattle 20
The best offense in the NFL is the Denver Broncos. Seattle has a solid defense that can put pressure on you with the front four. The Seahawks lead the NFL in sacks without blitzing. That also means they led the NFL in coverage sacks. Problem is they're facing the least sacked quarterback in the league, Peyton Manning. Manning will play a complete game and finish strong against the 'Hawks.
Pick: Denver 30 Seattle 17
History shows that the team with the solid defense and running game usually wins the Super Bowl. Today's NFL is all about passing yards and numbers through the air. But for one game, the team that can run the ball and get to the quarterback ends up hoisting this Vince Lombardi trophy.
As prolific as Peyton Manning and the Denver offense has been this year, it is Seattle that has the ground attack and pass rush that wins titles. As much as I want to pick Manning and the Broncos to win because of how many weapons the sure fire hall of fame quarterback has at his disposal, the fact that Seattle has the better defense and a stable of running backs and quarterback Russell Wilson's play-making ability with his feet leads me to take the Seahawks.
Both teams will deal with weather, both teams will make mistakes, but when you have to put the ball in the air to win, which Denver will do, there are more opportunities to make game changing errors.
Pick: Seattle 27 Denver 21
It's probably wishful thinking because I believe I probably was the first person to interview Russell after he got to State and he'll always rate near the top of my list for classy athletes.
But the good thing about this Super Bowl, in my opinion, is it'll be a truly great sports story regardless of which team wins. How often do we get to say that these days? There's the weather, too. Heck, that could wind up being one of the all-time rare Super Bowl stories.
Pick: Seattle 21 Denver 20
It is no secret that I am from Denver – lived in Colorado for 23 years. I was born on a Broncos Sunday and I have never missed a Broncos game in my life. I will pick the Broncos based on my heart, but let me justify it with my head.
While the cliché has always been that defense wins championships, there has never been an offense like this. The Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” with Torry Holt doesn’t even stack up.
The Fighting Manning’s average 457 yards per game – that is 120 yards per game more than Seattle. Factor that as two possessions worth.
Meanwhile, the rushing yards per game are virtually even (117.1 for Denver vs. 136.8 for Seattle). There goes the “physical offense” theory. And, as you laugh, have you seen the Broncos running game with defensive tackle Mitch Unrein in the backfield and the wrinkle of tight end Virgil Green getting a carry last week??? Denver can be big at times.
The area that most concerns me as a Broncos fan is in the secondary. Can Russell Wilson beat Denver in the passing game? Chris Harris, arguably the best corner the Broncos had this year is out. Dominique Rodgers-Cromarte is the No. 1. Champ Bailey, who played as a safety for much of the year may be forced to play either boundary or Nickel. That leaves Tony Carter or Quentin Jammer filling the role that Bailey does not.
As much as I like Russell Wilson – had he stayed with the Rockies, Elliott Avent swears he could have been a Major Leaguer – I still believe the patch-work collection of veterans in the Denver secondary will be too much if it becomes a vertical game.
Don’t forget, even though Seattle may have a top overall defense, Denver is No. 8 against the rush – something Seattle will try to go to in the cold.
And the X-Factor? Trindon Holliday with his multiple TD returns and Matt Prater who set the NFL record with a 64-yard FG earlier this year. Should I mention that Britton Colquitt has only attempted one playoff punt headed to the Super Bowl?
Pick: Denver 38 Seattle 17
They always say defense wins championships but in this case, an offense as multi-faceted as the Denver Broncos will find a way to exploit the great Seattle defense.
Seattle relies heavily on their ground game, which would help them if the weather goes south but that doesn't appear to be happening, so they will have to make an impact in the air if they are going to have a chance to win the game offensively. On many occasions this season they haven't had to because their defense is quite capable or stopping the opposition or scoring themselves.
Which brings me to what I think is the main breaking point in this match-up. Peyton Manning has the experience and he has the options to make this team succeed. Seattle plays man-to-man coverage on the outside which works on most offenses but the Broncos play a four back set, someone is going to get open and Manning will find that person. Sure it won't happen every time but the Broncos have the best chance of beating the Seattle defense as any team has had all year.
Should be a fun one.
Pick: Denver 31 Seattle 24
Assuming the latest forecast -- cloudy, breezy with temps in the 30s -- holds up, I'll take Peyton Manning and Co. in a close game at MetLife Stadium. Manning's experience will be a factor, especially in the second half, and the Denver defense will be able to replicate its performance against New England by containing Marshawn Lynch and the downhill Seattle rushing attack.
If the weather goes south, all bets are off.
Pick: Denver 28 Seattle 20