It’s hard to believe, but the Super Bowl is finally upon us. This matchup has the potential to be a great one as the number one defense in the league faces the top offense. The amount of story lines circling around this game are also incredible. Between the cold weather Super Bowl, Peyton Manning’s legacy, Richard Sherman’s post NFC Championship interview and the ensuing aftermath and finally the ridiculous story made of how Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to speak with the media. With all things considered, this game has the potential to be quite memorable. Here is an x-factor for each team along with my prediction for the game.
Seahawks x-factor: Earl Thomas, Safety: Sherman is the one who draws all the headlines in the Seahawks secondary (or legion of boom if you’re into nicknames), but Thomas is the heart beat of the unit. As an All-Pro free safety, Thomas covers a ton of ground and will also be responsible for reading Manning’s eyes in the passing game. Very few over time have been successful in that task, but Thomas has the ability to make it happen along with loads of talent to back him up.
Broncos x-factor: Terrance Knighton, Defensive Tackle: The man known as “Pot Roast” had a huge performance in the AFC championship game. Knighton was the main reason as to why the Patriots were unable to get the running game going at all. With the Seahawks emphasizing the run, it’s going to be up to Knighton and company to prevent Marshawn Lynch from gashing defenses like he has all postseason. If the Broncos are able to force the Seahawks into a passing oriented attack, it would be a huge boost to their chances.
Prediction: This was a very tough game to decide on as I could pretty much see anything happen in this one. In the end though, I decided to go with the Seahawks. Manning has not faced a secondary of this caliber in quite some time and there are also questions as to how he will fare in the conditions. Assuming the Seahawks can keep it a lower scoring game, my guess is that Russell Wilson will mostly be managing the game and then coming up with two or three big plays when needed. Seahawks 23 Broncos (-2.5) 20