Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction
After a quick three-step drop, he turned to his left and stepped into the throw. They’d used the play all season, already completing it once in the game. But this time, there was a problem. Number 22 Tracy Porter stepped in the way, intercepting the pass. Number 18 tried to pursue, but in vain. Thrown to the turf during Porter’s return, he and the Colts never got back up.
For Peyton Manning, he of the incredible football recall, that has to be the lasting memory from Super Bowl XLIV. Sunday, four years later, Manning will have to do his best to forget that play, or, if not, at least push it to the back of his mind. Richard Sherman – call him Tracy Porter 2.0, if you want – will be lining up across from him. Possibly the best corner in football, he’s probably not even the best player in the Seattle Seahawks secondary – that’s how good they are. And yes, Manning vs the Seahawks secondary deserves a lot of attention, but it’s certainly not the only big one to watch for.
Broncos Offensive Line vs Seattle’s Front Four: The best way to make a high-flying offense crash back to earth? Get to the quarterback, something Seattle’s D-line has been doing all year. The Broncos held up well against San Diego and New England, but Seattle’s a whole different animal with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Even if they’re just falling around Manning’s feet, that may be enough to disrupt his timing with receivers, a major part of the Broncos offense.
Broncos Receivers vs Seattle’s Secondary: Speaking of disrupting timing, have you met Seattle’s secondary? That’s sort of their thing. The Legion of Boom had the most pass interference calls in the league this year, and guess what: They were also the best defense in football, ranking first against the pass. And guess what mostly isn’t called in the Super Bowl? Pass interference. Remember Tom Terrific and the Pats unstoppable attack of 2007? Well, the Giants dismantled it by playing press coverage off the line and then hanging on the receivers as much as possible. Broncos fans: You don’t have to like it, but you have to accept it. It’s going to happen.
Super Bowl XLVIII Tickets
Russell Wilson vs. Denver’s Secondary: This could end up being the key to the game. If the Broncos are able to bottle up Marshawn Lynch like they did LaGarrette Blount – and I realize that’s a big “if” – the burden of moving Seattle’s offense will fall on Wilson. He’ll have to throw, and while his receivers aren’t the best in the league, they’re also not facing the best secondary in the league (since the best secondary is, you know, their own). Can the receivers, with the addition of Percy Harvin, back from his concussion, get separation for Wilson? I waffle on this, but I tend to think they will. With Harris out for the year with a torn ACL, aging veteran Champ Bailey could be the liability Wilson exploits.
What hasn’t been dissected this week, hmmm? There’s Manning’s path to this Super Bowl after his neck surgeries. There’s the What If piece about how Russell Wilson was almost a Bronco. There’s the heart-wrentching story of Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas’ family life. There are the polls about clutchness, legacy, or pretty much anything you can think of. Don’t like my prediction? There’s always the Madden NFL 25 Super Bowl Prediction. That’s right – why not let a video game tell you who’s going to win?
Yet, even though the Broncos and Seahawks were examined with a microscope by the rest of the media, I think I’ve come up with a new angle. I give you:
Seattle’s Secret Agenda: First Macklemore cleaned up at the Grammy’s, now the Seahawks are in the Super Bowl. Coincidence? I think Seattle may be scheming to rule the world. OK, back to serious stuff.
Who’s got the most at stake? To me, this question’s easy. This year for Broncos fans is like 2007 for Patriots fans. Tom Brady and the Pats were on an 18-0 tear, as well as a tear through the record books, before they were struck dumb in the Super Bowl. The fairy tale 19-0 season, cementing Brady’s legacy as the best ever, fell one win short of reality.
Now, this year, Broncos fans have a similar dream for Manning: Cap the best statistical season for a QB with a Super Bowl win, and Manning might well retire at the top of the QB Mount Rushmore. The question is: Does Denver’s dream turn into a nightmare, or end happily ever after?
I’ll admit, I’m rooting for him and the Broncos to do it, to win. But sadly, painfully, I don’t see it happening.
Prediction: Seahawks win, 27-21.