As Super Bowl XLVIII draws near, football fans around the country are starting to get excited about seeing the NFL’s best offense against the NFL’s best defense.
The matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks isn’t just one that was predicted by The Simpsons during season 17 (2005). It’s the first time in Super Bowl history that the best teams on both sides of the ball will square off.
Most oddsmakers have the Broncos as 2.5-point favorites. Favoring Peyton Manning should be no surprise as he had one of the most prolific passing seasons in NFL history.
With that said, here are five bold predictions for this year’s Super Bowl:
1. Demaryius Thomas Will Be a Non-Factor
There’s no doubt that Thomas has been one of Manning’s favorite targets this year. Thomas finished with 92 catches for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns.
However, in two of Denver’s three losses this year (New England and San Diego), Thomas was virtually a non-factor. He did catch a touchdown pass in the game against the Patriots, but only totaled four catches for 41 yards. Against San Diego, he only had four catches for 45 yards.
Why is that? He had great corners posted on him all game. Aqib Talib held down Thomas in the regular-season meeting, while an injury to Talib in the playoffs allowed Thomas to go off with seven catches for 134 yards. Might that game have been any different if Talib hadn’t gotten injured?
Thomas will no doubt draw the game’s best cornerback in Richard Sherman, who is known for backing up his talk. Manning is going to have to look to Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas to pick up the slack, because Sherman will have Demaryius on lockdown.
2. The Game Will Have At Least 6 Turnovers
The weather is going to be a huge factor in this game as it is expected to be the coldest Super Bowl in history. Because of that, the game will see at least six turnovers.
Now, they won’t all be fumbles. Some will be interceptions, too. But mistakes will be made in the cold and the defenses will take big advantage of that. And, more than half will come from Denver which had a zero turnover differential during the regular season, compared to Seattle’s plus-20.
3. A Field Goal Will Be The Game’s First Score
With the weather being what it is, the first score of the game is going to come on the legs of a kicker. A team will get down inside the red zone and will not look to push the issue, instead opting to get a few points on the board.
Those three points will give that team an edge as the other team will have to immediately answer, or face the possibility of being down two scores.
4. Seattle Will Have More Yards (Passing and Rushing) Than Denver
It’s hard to fathom Russell Wilson throwing for more yards than Manning, but it’s a real possibility. Denver ranked 27th against the pass during the regular season, although they’ve held Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers under 300 yards passing in the playoffs.
Seattle is a beast on defense and Manning is going to have to really be on top of his game (which he’s expected to be).
Still, there’s a little bit more give in Denver’s defense. And although Seattle’s offense is not as good, it’s just as opportunistic and will take advantage of those opportunities.
5. Seattle Will Win Super Bowl XLVIII 27-21
If you couldn’t tell by the tone of the article, I’m predicting the Seahawks to win 27-21.
Their defense is just too good and Manning is known for having his struggles in wintery conditions.
Couple that with Seattle always doing just enough to win and that’s why they will come out on top for the organization’s first Super Bowl title.