Updated Feb 2, 2014 - 7:08 am
Seahawks' offense has edge over Denver's defense
By Jim Moore
This is the post you've been waiting for, the one where you're hoping I'll pick Denver to blow out the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Everyone thinks I'm wrong with my picks even though I'm actually 9-8-1 against the spread in Seahawks games this year. And 15-3 last year. I keep bringing up last year because I actually sort-of knew what I was doing back then. But when you pick the Saints to beat the Seahawks on "Monday Night Football" and San Francisco to beat Seattle in the NFC Championship Game, you get a reputation for being a hater or a fool or both.
In the Super Bowl, you can make a case, albeit flimsy, for Denver to crush or at least beat the Seahawks.
You start with Peyton Manning and his four marquee targets. As good as the Legion of Boom is, they've never faced a quartet like Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker.
Denver's defense isn't as strong as those Russell Wilson and the Seahawks faced over their last four games. (AP)
How can you possibly stop all of those guys? You also have to be concerned about running backs Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. They both averaged more yards per carry than Marshawn Lynch. Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards, and if he'd carried it 301 times like Lynch did, he would've rushed for 1,296 yards, more than Beast Mode's 1,257. He's also a threat coming out of the backfield with 60 receptions and a 9.1-yard average per catch.
Denver's defense was average in the regular season but has stiffened against the run in the playoffs. In its wins over San Diego and New England, the Broncos have allowed only three points in the first three quarters of both games. But is Denver's defense tougher than New Orleans' or San Francisco's, the two that Seattle faced in the playoffs? Or Arizona's or St. Louis' in the last two regular-season games? I would think not.
I'm hoping that Russell Wilson's struggles are more a result of the defenses he faced than his own issues as a quarterback. I know he missed on some throws, but this should be a spot for him to get back on track again. Denver was 27th against the pass in the regular season, and it's missing one of its best corners, Chris Harris, who's out with a torn ACL.
Wilson should throw for at least 250 yards, and I'm guessing he's got a shot at 100 yards on the ground, too. Could be wrong about that, but I'm thinking we'll see Wilson completely unleashed in this one. His mobility is one of his strengths, why not use it more often? That's what I'm thinking if I'm offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who needs to call more read-options in the Super Bowl.
I'd like the chances of the Seahawks' offense getting untracked without Percy Harvin, but they'll have him, too. Think about the problems he presents for Denver's defense. Fly sweeps, bubble screens, quick lateral passes, maybe even a vertical threat the Seahawks have been lacking. At the very least, as a decoy, he'll help other receivers get open.
Plus he'll give the Seahawks a threat to score on kickoff returns or shorten their drives - he averaged 35 yards on kickoff returns with the Vikings last year and had a 58-yarder in his only kickoff return against the Vikings this year.
So much talk has been about Denver's No. 1 offense against Seattle's No. 1 defense, but I think the game will be decided by Seattle's offense against Denver's defense. In that matchup, I like the Seahawks a lot.
I'm hoping they'll have a two-score lead to avoid Manning magic in the final 2 minutes. The Seahawks' defense still concerns me late in games – they failed to hold a 17-16 lead in San Francisco and a 10-9 lead against Arizona.
The line will likely move by kickoff, but as I'm writing this on Saturday morning, Denver is favored by 2.5 points. Like the Groz, who picked the Seahawks to win 31-14, I think they could win by two touchdowns or more. But in respect for the guys in Vegas who anticipate a close game, I'm predicting this will be the first Super Bowl to go overtime. With a 50-yard field goal, Steven Hauschka's going to win it, and Harvin will be the MVP.
See you at the parade.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Broncos 24 (OT)
Season record against the spread: 9-8-1
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.
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