Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) vs. Denver Broncos O/U 48
By now everyone has heard all of the obvious headlines: #1 offense vs. #1 defense, cold weather super bowl, Manning vs. Sherman, etc. However, anyone who has been watching football long enough knows that the game is very much decided by the players who don’t get all the headlines as well. Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno has been largely overlooked in the Broncos offense due to Manning and the receivers. He had a great regular season, and I think he will play a key role in the offense. I look for Seattle’s defense to try to take wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker out of the game. This should open up the field for tight end Julius Thomas and give Wes Welker space in the middle of the field to run his crossing patterns and slants.
Denver’s defense has been much improved toward the end of the season, and arguably a main reason they are even in this position. They are going to be focused on trying to shut down Marshawn Lynch. I also think Seattle gets behind early, forcing Russell Wilson to throw the ball. I think Wilson will have a good game due to his ability to both pass and run with the ball. Golden Tate and Percy Harvin will be getting attention from the Broncos secondary, so I look for Doug Baldwin to have a good game, since he has been playing very well recently. I think the coaching matchup is even for the most part, although I would give Pete Carroll the slight edge. The latest weather reports do not show extreme conditions, but rather 30s-40s with 10-15 mph winds. I expect this to be a close game, not surprisingly, and I think that defense wins championships. That is why I am picking Denver to win 20-17, as their defense will make several key stops down the stretch and the pass rush will fluster Wilson.