Ramblin’ Fans Super Bowl XLVIII Picks and Predictions

Super Bowl

Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws against the San Diego Chargers during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Here at Ramblin’ Fan we have decided to shake things up for our Super Bowl edition of our weekly picks and predictions article.  Since this is the last and most important game of the year we are going to get a pick and score prediction from each of the Ramblin’ Fan staff writers to go along with my usual analysis of the games.  Of course there are several storylines associated with this years Super Bowl, including the #1 offense versus the #1 defense, the Peyton Manning legacy talk, and of course the media buzz surrounding Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch.  While the Denver Broncos clearly have the superior offense and the Seattle Seahawks clearly have the superior defense the NFL is all about matchups.  How does the Broncos offense matchup with the Seattle defense and vice versa?  How about the special teams, does either team have a significant advantage there?  We will go ahead and take a look at each of the 3 phases and see if we can predict a winner.

Broncos Offense versus Seahawks Defense.  This is the matchup that everyone can’t wait to see, how does Peyton Manning and the record breaking Denver offense matchup against the Legion of Boom?  One thing is true about this Super Bowl matchup is that neither the Denver offense nor the Seattle defense has seen a unit anything like what they will be lining up against on Sunday.  The Broncos have more weapons than anyone else in the NFL, and they also happen to be lead by one of if not the best equal opportunity distributor of the football in NFL history.  The Seahawks defense has a deep defensive line, athletic linebackers and a physical and imposing secondary.  If there is a defense in the NFL capable of slowing the Broncos aerial attack you would think it would be the Seahawks.  They have incredible skill throughout their secondary with Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell on the outside, and perhaps the best safety duo in the NFL of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.  The Seahawks rarely blitz, and have not thrown a lot of exotic looks at offense throughout the season, they prefer to line up and outplay you as opposed to try to outsmart you.  Peyton Manning may be the best pre-snap quarterback in NFL history and if the Seahawks don’t attempt to disguise their coverages he could carve them up.  As good as the Seahawks defense is they can’t expect to win one on one matchups across the board against an offense as dangerous as the Broncos.  Something that the Seahawks defense has struggled with at times this season is the running game, most notably allowing the St. Louis Rams to rush for 200 yards without the threat of a passing game on Monday Night Football.  Clearly the Broncos have an elite passing game, but they also have a very efficient running game.  If the Broncos can run the ball effectively it could force the Seahawks to bring Chancellor into the box to help slow Moreno and Ball and open things up for Peyton Manning.  The Broncos don’t have to dominate on the ground, just do enough to avoid becoming one dimensional on offense and keep the chains moving.  If the Seahawks can shut down the Broncos running game and get pressure on Peyton Manning (the lowest pressured QB in the NFL this season) they will have a chance to limit the Broncos offense.  As great as the Seahawks defense has been this season I would have to give the advantage to the Broncos in this matchup.  Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, and Knowshown Moreno are all dangerous receiving threats and will be too much for the Seahawks to contain.  Denver with the Medium Edge.

Seahawks Offense versus Broncos Defense.  This is likely the matchup that will determine the Super Bowl champion, as the question will be can the injury depleted Broncos defense stop the mediocre Seahawks offense?  If this were a healthy Broncos defense I would have to give the advantage to the Broncos without any real question.  The Seahawks offense is entirely predicated on the ability to run the ball with Marshawn Lynch, and when teams have slowed Lynch down their offense has ground to a halt.  The Rams held the Seahawks to 135 total yards in their Monday Night game, with 80 of those yards coming on the Golden Tate touchdown where Janoris Jenkins tripped as he was in position to make the interception/pass deflection.  Of course that game saw the Seahawks without Percy Harvin and their two starting offensive tackles while going against one of the best pass rushing defensive end combinations in the NFL. The Broncos don’t have the same level of pass rush as the Rams do as injuries have taken their best pass rusher Von Miller away.  The Broncos will need to contain Russell Wilson just as much as they will need to pressure him, as he has displayed the ability to extend plays when allowed to escape the pocket on numerous occaisions.  If the Broncos defense can prevent Wilson from making one of his seemingly routine “chicken with their head cut off” type of big plays they should be in good shape.  The Denver defense will likely focus first and foremost on slowing down Marshawn Lynch and seeing if Russell Wilson can beat them.  Surprisingly the Denver defense ranks near the top of the NFL in run defense and is actually tops in DVOA against the run.  If the Denver defense can limit Marshawn Lynch early they will likely give the Denver offense an opportunity to build a lead and force the Seahawks to throw more than they would like.  One thing that will be impossible to account for is the impact of Percy Harvin, we have seen so little of Harvin this season it is impossible to see what kind of impact he will have in this Super Bowl.  A player of his abilities is definitely needed if the Seahawks find themselves in anything that even resembles a shootout, as they simply lack the firepower to maintain pace with the Broncos.  The Broncos defense is riddled with injury, but if they can manage to pressure Wilson while not allowing him to break the pocket they should be in pretty good shape.  Unfortunately that is a whole lot more difficult to do than you might think, and I think the combination of Wilson’s scrambling ability matched with Lynch’s power running gives the edge to the Seahawks offense.  Seahawks with the very slight edge. 

Special Teams.  Each of the Super Bowl teams has a reliable place kicker and an electric kick returner.  The special teams game could end up being the huge X-factor in this game that swings the tide for one team or the other.  The Seahawks have an advantage in the punting game with the huge leg of Jon Ryan, but I don’t see this as a “field position” type of a football game anyway.  The special teams phase to me is sort of a toss up, each team has some strengths but neither team really has a glaring weakness.  One thing to keep an eye on is how many opportunities will Percy Harvin and Trindon Holliday get in the return game?  Percy Harvin with the injury bug and Holliday with the fumble history may prevent either coach from risking it during the biggest game of the year.  If the game is going to come down to a clutch field goal you would have to expect either team to feel very comfortable with their chances, with Matt Prater having the slight advantage over Steven Haushcka in terms of leg strength.  If I had to determine which team had the edge I would say the Broncos have the edge with the placekicker, Seahawks have the edge with the punter, the return games are probably a push and the coverage units favor the Seahawks.  Seahawks with the very slight edge.

Picks and Predictions.  Without further ado we will move onto the picks and predictions portion of our Super Bowl picks article.   Below is a table with the picks and predictions from the staff here at Ramblin’ Fan, but first a video from EA Sports Madden 25 prediction.

Superbowl XLVIII

Pick

Score

Nathan

Broncos

31-24

Troy

Broncos

30-22

Blaine

Broncos

27-23

Ben

Broncos

27-13

Madden 25

Broncos

31-28

The Simpsons were visionaries, is this sort of like when Back to the Future predicted the Florida Marlins would win the World Series?

 

 

One of my favorite ESPN personalities, and fellow University of Idaho Alumni

 

 

Finally why not something from Peter King and his Monday Morning Quarterback column?

 

 

There you have it as we here at Ramblin’ Fan have all made our picks in favor of the Denver Broncos.  All but one of us anticipate this being a one score game when all is said and done with Peyton Manning finally securing his second ring.  Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone and thanks for reading.  As always Go Rams!!!

Topics: St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl

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  • Christi Cleveland

    I was going to take your article seriously but then I noticed you were from Idaho and therefore know nothing about football. #gohawks.

    • tvandenbark

      Nothing like making sweeping generalizations an entire state, you stay classy Christi