Super Bowl Predictions
The Seattle Seahawks (15-3) are set to take on the Denver Broncos (15-3) in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, February 2. This 2014 edition will be played at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. These have been the two best teams in the league all season, so it’s only fitting that they will match up in the finale.
There are certainly worries about the weather and if it will possibly be snowing. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 EST Sunday night with FOX providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the odds in Las Vegas, I find Denver as a 2-point favorite over Seattle with a total set of 47.5 points.
Why Denver Covers
The Broncos have looked absolutely dominant all season and in the playoffs. An amazing 14 of their 15 wins have come by a touchdown or more, and they are outscoring opponents by an average of 13.1 points per game. That is the best margin in the league. They have done so behind a record-setting year from Peyton Manning, who desperately wants to win at least one more Super Bowl before he retires.
Indeed, Manning has led the league’s top offense this season. The Broncos rank 1st in scoring offense at 36.4 points per game, and 1st in total offense at 454.9 yards per game. During the regular season, Manning completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 5,477 yards with 55 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Those yardage and touchdown marks are new NFL records, and it’s going to be hard to see them every getting broken.
The two playoff games that Denver played weren’t nearly as close as the final scores would indicate. It outgained San Diego 363-259 in a 24-17 victory in a game that was 17-0 until the fourth quarter. It also outgained New England 507-320 in a game that was 23-3 early in the fourth quarter. As you can see, the defense has really stepped it up in the playoffs to help compliment the dynamic offense.
Taking a look at Seattle’s two playoff games, you could argue that it is lucky to be in the Super Bowl. It was outgained 277-409 by New Orleans in a 23-15 victory in the Divisional Round. It then tied San Francisco with 308 total yards apiece, but needed three 49ers’ turnovers in the fourth quarter to come away with a 23-17 victory. There’s no question that the Broncos are playing the better football leading up to the Super Bowl.
Denver is 8-1 ATS vs. mistake-prone teams that average 60 or more penalty yards per game over the last two seasons. Seattle is 6-17 ATS in its last 23 games when playing on two weeks or more of rest. Denver is 15-2 ATS in its last 17 games when playing with two or more weeks of rest. The Broncos are 22-11 ATS in all games over the past two seasons.
Why Seattle Covers
The Seahawks have had a tremendous season this year and have clearly been the best team in the NFC, which was easily the best conference in 2013-14. They are outscoring their opponents by an average of 11.1 points per game this season en route to a 15-3 record. Given those numbers and the strength of the conference, it’s certainly could be enticing getting the Seahawks as an underdog in the Super Bowl.
Defense usually wins championships, and there’s no better defense better suited to stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos than Seattle. It is giving up just 14.6 points and 282.5 yards per game to rank 1st in the league in scoring and total defense. This is a stop unit that held a high-powered New Orleans offense to 15 points in the Divisional Round, and San Francisco to just 17 points in the NFC Championship.
The key to stopping the Broncos is stopping their passing game, and the Seahawks have the perfect antidote. They have by far the best pass defense in the league. They are giving up just 178 passing yards per game and 5.4 per attempt on 58.7 percent completions. Richard Sherman and company will be ready to go given two weeks to prepare for Manning.
Denver’s biggest weakness is a defense that is allowing 24.0 points and 348.6 yards per game this season. To compare, the Broncos are allowing 251 passing yards per game and 6.7 per attempt. Russell Wilson could be in line for a big day against this soft defense. Marshawn Lynch is one of the best backs in the NFL, and he was the only one to rush for over 100 yards on the 49ers all season.
Seattle is 9-1 ATS vs. good passing teams that average 7 or more yards per attempt over the last two seasons. The Seahawks are 8-1 ATS as an underdog over the last two seasons. Seattle is 34-16-1 ATS in its last 51 games overall. The Seahawks are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 vs. a team with a wining record. The Broncos are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 playoff games.
Score Prediction Based on Odds: Broncos 25, Seahawks 23