Saturday, February 1, 2014

Seahawks vs. Broncos: Prediction Time

The Super Bowl is finally upon us. We've prepared you guys all week leading up to the game with in-depth analysis, positional breakdowns and key matchups to watch for. Each writer here at Seattle Sports Soup has paid close attention to the media surrounding the big game and has watched all the big time outlets predict the game. Now it's our turn. Here are out Super Bowl 48 predictions.

Marshawn Lynch could be the difference in the game.
Sports Illustrated

Marshall Cherrington, Editor-In-Chief
The Seattle Seahawks are in the freakin’ Super Bowl. Now even though there is no way I am going to pick against them, if I was a neutral observer, I would still pick the Seahawks. Jackson did a great job with his series of statistical analysis articles and you should go read them all. It’ll give you more insight into what this matchup really looks like on paper. Anyways, I think the Seahawks overall have a more skilled roster than the Broncos. This is one of the main reasons why I think the Seahawks are going to win. With the cold weather, there could be some injuries and that does not bode well for the Broncos. If one of their starters goes down, it might not be good news for Peyton Manning's team. The Broncos are already playing with multiple backups starting and digging further into the depth chart probably doesn't sound to appeasing to Broncos fans. Another reason I think the Seahawks are going to win is because they matchup so well against the Broncos. The best position group on the Broncos, besides QB, is the wide receiver core. The best position group on the Seahawks? The secondary. Great matchup right there. Jackson broke down the matchup, position group by position group yesterday in his Super Bowl preview and somehow the Broncos came out on top, winning 6 position groups to 5 position groups. I think that is horrible analysis by Jackson, but he’s provided enough good analysis that he gets a free pass this time. In every position group that the Broncos are better than the Seahawks in, the Seahawks aren’t far behind when it comes to talking about skill level. In every position group that the Seahawks are better than the Broncos in, the Broncos are clearly behind. I think this gap in talent will play a big part in the game, but there’s one position group where the Broncos have a huge advantage. Can anyone guess? Yeah, that would be the quarterback position. I think the game will come down to Russell Wilson leading the team down the field to kick a field goal to win it. What a story that would be. Not the defense for once. Should be a fun one to watch. 
Seattle 30, Denver 27

Jackson Safon, Senior Writer 
Prediction time! I am going to put my official score prediction as 27-23, a slight change from my prediction before of 27-24. The Seahawks are going to win for a couple of reasons. First, they are the only team in the entire NFL, possibly in NFL history that can match up with all of the Broncos weapons. The Legion of Boom is physical, talented, and disciplined, the three most important characteristics when playing the type of defense that the Seahawks do. Additionally, the ‘Hawks are very balanced on offense, which will allow them to control the clock. As the Chargers showed, to beat the Broncos, the most important thing to do is keep Peyton Manning off the field. The Chargers time of possession was almost 39 minutes. While I do not think the Seahawks necessarily have to go that far, controlling the clock and controlling field position with their balanced offense will be a key to their success. With all the talk about statistics in this game, myself included, I believe the game could boil down to three stats: Turnovers, red-zone efficiency, and explosive plays. Explosive plays have become an official stat in the NFL, and they consist of runs over 12 yards and passes over 20 yards. I believe the Seahawks will have to win two of those three stats, and possibly all three in order to win the game. The Seahawks had the best turnover differential in the league and the best red-zone defense. But the Broncos have the best red-zone offense, and a quarterback that has only thrown 11 interceptions in almost 800 attempts, if you include the playoffs. It will no doubt be a fantastic game, but I believe Russell Wilson will make just enough plays and the defense will force a turnover or two which will lead the Seahawks to a victory. 
Seattle 27, Denver 23

Kevin Calderhead, Staff Writer
If the Hawks are going to win Super Bowl XLVIII, it’ll be because of their defense. Seattle cannot afford to get into a shootout with Peyton Manning’s number one offense. Thankfully, the Seahawks’ number one defense has the ability to combat the Denver powerhouse.

It would be fair to say that the Seattle defense has more depth than the Grand Canyon. I’ll start with the defensive line: Avril, Bennett, Irvin, Mebane, McDaniel, Bryant, McDonald. This defensive line needs to get to Manning, and quick, because Manning gets the ball out faster than any other quarterback in the NFL. It won’t be easy; Denver also had the best pass protection in the league this season. But because of the depth, the D-line can stay fresh the whole game and give us a pretty good shot at pressuring Peyton.

I also like the matchups we have in the secondary; Denver’s Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Eric Decker up against Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell. Throw in Thurmond and Lane and you have a shutdown secondary.  It is guaranteed that there will be some Legion of Boom highlights on Sunday. Don’t forget that our linebackers have done a pretty good job of stifling opposing tight ends this year as well. If Manning gets pressured and all his receivers are covered, hopefully the Hawks’ D can force some turnovers.

Moving on to the offensive side of the ball. Russell Wilson has to have an effective game through the air in order to depart a victor. He has to establish the pass to open up the running game for Beast Mode, Robert Turbin, and not to mention himself. Russell has to play smart and not force throws to well covered receivers, which he is perfectly capable of doing.

Oh yeah, that’s right. PERCY HARVIN. Having Percy back gives the Hawks an automatic special teams advantage on kickoffs, and he’s a huge addition to Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse at receiver. And a note to Russell on what I mentioned in the last paragraph: Go ahead and throw to Harvin when he’s covered. He’ll probably catch it anyways.
The Hawks have all the tools to win this game, it’s only a matter of whether they execute or not. I say they do. 
Seattle 31, Denver 27

Lukie Crowley, Staff Writer 
First of all, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Lukie Crowley and I am a senior in high school at Overlake NOT Redmond but I still support the Mustangs being from Redmond. I will be writing here every so often and am excited to be welcomed in by Marshall and Jackson beyond our Twitter conversations. Now let’s get to the business and Go Hawks.
There has been talk all week and throughout the season about the Broncos having the best offense in the NFL and the Seahawks having the best defense. A classic matchup in which it seems surreal, as firstly it is rare to see the two #1 seeds advance to the Super Bowl but secondly the #1 offense and defense colliding with each other is a dream come true for all fans. In my opinion, defense always overpowers offense and history tends to agree with me. Chase Stuart from provides some excellent research on this subject (h/t to Steve Rudman from
There have been 10 Super Bowls with the #1 offense and defense facing each other or the ones with greatest difference in scored vs. allowed). Eight have been won by the defense.

Offense (Average PPG)
Defense (Average PPG Allowed)
1966 (First SB)
Chiefs (32.0)
Packers (11.6)
Raiders (33.4)
Packers (14.9)
Jets (29.9)
Colts (13.4)
Vikings (27.1)
Chiefs (12.6)
Cowboys (29.0)
Dolphins (12.4)
Dolphins (32.1)
49ers (14.2 blegh)
Bills (28.6)
Redskins (14.0)
Rams (31.4)
Patriots (17.0)
Raiders (28.1)
Buccaneers (12.3)
Patriots (36.8)
Giants (21.9)

Now the Broncos averaged 37.9 PPG throughout the season (!!!) higher than any of the Super Bowls that were noted here and the Seahawks allowed 14.4 PPG. After looking how the matchups have gone in past SB’s I believe the Seahawks will win based on the stout defense. Everyone (including Colin Kaepernick) seems to the nickel corner is a weak point in the defense but I think Walter Thurmond will step under the pressure. I think he will have an INT and make a big play with Zach Miller (Who Jackson seems to hate) having 2 TD receptions. But all in all Russell Wilson will have the biggest game in the biggest game of his life, and will be named Super Bowl MVP. After careful consideration, my prediction: Go Hawks! 
Seattle 27, Denver 17  

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