By Daniel Foley ’17, Contributing Writer
The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday. Much speculation has been provided about this potentially explosive matchup, ranging from professional sports analysts to regular people like me. With this game featuring the best defense (Seahawks) and the best offense (Broncos) in the NFL, the only guarantee is that it will be an exciting game.
While the game is really a tossup between two powerhouses, my prediction for Super Bowl XLVIII is Seahawks 24 Broncos 21. The game will be decided by the play of Russell Wilson, quarterback for Seattle, and Marshawn Lynch, running back for Seattle, and the matchup between the Broncos line and the Seahawks line. These are the wildcards for Sunday night, as their play could go either way and their performance is absolutely critical to the outcome of this game.
Many would argue that Peyton Manning, quarterback for Denver, should be added to this list, because he will also play a critical role in this game. I completely agree that he will be an important factor in this game, but given Manning’s skill set and consistency, I have no reason to consider him a wildcard—I know he will have a good game.
The first wildcard is Wilson, who has helped lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl this year in only in his second season. While I do not doubt Wilson’s athleticism and natural talent, his lack of experience may be a factor in this game. He simply does not possess the same field awareness that Manning has given his limited experience in the NFL.
Wilson has a lot of pressure on his shoulders as well—the Super Bowl is always intimidating for first-timers, but to have to lead your team in only your second season is something else entirely. Despite all of this pressure, if Wilson can keep his composure and have a solid game, then the Seahawks are the favorite in my book.
The second wildcard is Marshawn Lynch, who is one of the best in the league and is known for having breakout games in the play- offs. I place him in the wildcard category because he has to dominate the game in order for the Seahawks to win. He is crucial to their success because he has the ability to take over this game.
If Lynch can successfully carry the ball 25 plus times while simultaneously taking as much time off the clock as possible, then the Seahawks will be led to victory. If Lynch does not have a spectacular performance, then there are no guarantees that the Seahawks will be able to compete with the Broncos.
One of the most important factors in this game will be the matchup between the Broncos line and the Seahawks line. Linemen are perhaps the most underappreciated factors in the outcome of a game. As good as Peyton Manning is, he will have a hard time being himself if he is bombarded with consistent pass rush. The young Russell Wilson will not fare well at all if this is the case for him. The performance of both Marshawn Lynch and Knowshon Moreno (Denver’s running back) will also depend on how well their front five are blocking for them. If one of the lines shows up on Sunday and absolutely dominates over the men across from them, then it is very likely that their team will walk away the victors.
Taking all of this into consideration, my prediction is that the Seahawks will win the game. I think that Russell Wilson will do his job, Marshawn Lynch will have a huge game, and that Seattle’s line will hold their own against Denver’s line. This prediction does not reflect my own preference however, because I would like to see Peyton Manning win his second Super Bowl, especially considering he may be forced to retire next year given his age and neck problems.
The game is really a toss-up and both of the teams are equally likely to go home the winner. There are only three guarantees this Sunday: over a 100 million viewers will be glued to their television screens to watch this exciting game, over 1 billion chicken wings will be consumed, and Peyton Manning will yell “Omaha” at least 20 times (which is his trademarks phrase which means he is flipping the play to the other side).
Anything can happen this upcoming Sunday, so just sit back and enjoy the game with family and/or friends.
First-year Daniel Foley is a contributing writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.