COMMENTARY: Forecast Calls For Great Super Bowl
Charles E. Sutton | 1/27/2014, 11:52 a.m.
I know. You've read enough about the threatening weather that could negatively affect this year's Super Bowl. So, I won't bother to reiterate the old news that the game could be wrought by snow, ice and frigid temperatures.
What I will tell you is that once you manage to get beyond the throng of meteorologists, you'll discover that Super Bowl XLVIII has one of the most intriguing matchups of the year.
The AFC champion Denver Broncos rode the arm of quarterback Peyton Manning all the way to the Super Bowl, as the Hall of Fame-bound signal-caller was the catalyst for the the NFL's No. 1 offense. On the other side, the Seattle Seahawks and second-year quarterback Russell Wilson, and the league's top defense.
This game provides an interesting contrast. Manning, playing in his third Super Bowl, set the NFL record this season for passing yards (5,477) and touchdown passes (55).
Even with a Super Bowl victory under his belt, many fans chide Manning's 9-11 postseason record, which is worst than all but Dan Marino and Warren Moon among the 29 quarterbacks who've made 10 or more playoff starts. Win or lose, he'll go down in history as one of the greatest to ever the play the game, but a Denver win Sunday would go a long way in burnishing his legacy and getting the playoff monkey off his back.
Conversely, Wilson has the ability to beat you with his legs as well as his arm. The 25-year-old from Richmond, Va., will be only the fifth African-American quarterback to start in a Super Bowl (Doug Williams, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb and Colin Kaepernick are the others).
He directs an offense that features 1,200-yard rusher Marshawn Lynch, aka "Beast Mode." Lynch is a tough, physical runner who often times welcomes physical contact, as opposed to shying away from it.
The Seahawks' ground game is complemented by a solid receiving corps, including Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, and a returning Percy Harvin, who missed the NFC championship game with a concussion suffered the week before.
I believe it's the Seahawks defense that will ultimately make the difference in this contest. They are a young, brash, physical group of very talented athletes who cover well against the pass and swarm to the ball on rushing plays. The secondary is particularly brash, quick to brag about itself to the opposition after most plays (see: Richard Sherman).
Not taking anything away from Manning, I just feel that the Seahawks defense is simply too much for the Broncos' offense to overcome. I believe that they will make more plays because of their superior athleticism. And I predict Seattle wins 27-21, in a close, well-fought game.
And please, no more talk about the weather. Whatever the conditions, both teams will have to play in it. So let's get our popcorn ready and enjoy.