Super Bowl 48 Pick Against the Spread Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
The excitement is building as football fans across the county prepare for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Feb. 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Cunning veteran Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will represent the best of the AFC, while Seattle Seahawks' young gunslinger Russell Wilson and the league's No.1 defense will represent the NFC.
And while some handicappers make their Super Bowl bet by looking at the lines and odds, others bet with their hearts.
The Broncos entered the 2014 NFL playoffs as a favorite, beating the San Diego Chargers in the divisional round of the playoffs, before rolling past AFC East champion New England in the AFC Championship to earn a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle meanwhile, edged out New Orleans in its divisional round match up, before holding on against the 49ers in the NFC Championship to reach the big game.
Head coach John Fox and Manning deserve a lot of credit in Denver's quest for the Super Bowl, but second-year defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio should not be forgotten. Del Rio turned a good, but never great defense into a unit capable of shutting down some of the NFL’s most prolific offenses — i.e. Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Using his mix-and-match defense, which had to deal with Von Miller's suspension to open the season, Del Rio has confused opposing QB’s and offensive coordinators all year, playing a huge part in the Broncos resurgence.
Meanwhile, the offense is very capable with Manning having a monster season, as he did a great job of spreading the ball around to four wide receivers, keeping defenses from predicting the next play.
The Denver ground assault was off to a sluggish start, but Knowshon Moreno has stepped up midway through the season and continued to be a presence in the playoffs.
Super Bowl 48 Head to Head Preview
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks, who have not necessary been known for their defense, have stunned opponents all season long, allowing only 273.6 yards and an NFL-best 14.4 points per game this year.
Their success has stretched into the postseason, holding the Saints and 49ers to 15 and 17 points, respectively.
Head coach Pete Carroll preaches defense above all, so expect more of the same in Super Bowl 48.
In the meantime, the offense is led by Wilson, who arguably had his best season in just his second year in the league. He played all 16 games, managing 3,357 yards and 26 TDs with only nine interceptions.
Wilson has the arm, and his receiving corps consists of eight different wideouts and tight ends, which have all hauled in touchdown passed this season.
Nevertheless, Seattle runs a balanced offense, which does lean heavily on running back Marshawn Lynch, who also played every game this season, rushing for 1,573 yards on 301 carries for 13 TD's.
The Broncos have steadily improved from Week1, and the defense is lights out right now, while the offense is showing discipline with a streak of reckless abandon that makes it hard for opposing defenses to gauge what’s next.
Likewise, Seattle's defense has dominated all season, ranking first in most defensive categories.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman anchors the group, but Manning has been strong in the playoffs and may be able to match that ability in the big game.
Expect the Broncos to pass the ball in the first half to keep the Seattle defense on its toes.
It’s hard to bet against Seattle's success, but Denver may be the team to beat.
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