IRVING, Texas –It's finally that time of year.
The DallasCowboys.com staff offers its first prediction of a non-Cowboys game since the 2013 season began, as the Broncos face the Seahawks in Sunday's Super Bowl. Peyton Manning and the NFL's top-ranked offense will face off against Richard Sherman and Seattle's top-ranked defense.
Here are the gut feelings from Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.
Nick Eatman: This is a classic matchup between the NFL's best offense and best defense. People that believe defense wins championships will have a great argument if Seattle wins. There's no denying that great defenses will put you in position to win. But something tells me this is just Peyton Manning's year. I've always thought he's the best QB in football. He has just one Super Bowl ring, half as many as his brother. There's something very wrong about that. But the fact Eli won his second Super Bowl in Peyton's house lets me think Peyton is going to win his second one in Eli's house. Give Manning two weeks to figure out Seattle's scheme, which really isn't that complicated to start with, and I think Denver has the edge. We all remember what the Cowboys did to Denver through the air, but not really on the ground. I don't think Seattle is capable of having that kind of offensive explosion on Denver. I see the Broncos winning it 30-17 and Richard Sherman gives up a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the first quarter.
Rowan Kavner:A Super Bowl championship would be the cherry on top of Peyton Manning's unheralded season, and it's rarely wise to pick against that guy, particularly with all the weapons at his disposal that Dallas fans know about all too well. But if there's a defense equipped to stop that aerial attack, it's the Legion of Boom in Seattle. Most of the pregame talk is understandably on Richard Sherman, but I think it'll be another corner, Byron Maxwell, who'll garner the postgame chatter. I expect Manning to test the side opposite Sherman most of the day and Maxwell to get a pick. If Denver gets up early, it's over, but I expect the score to stay in the low-20s and benefit Seattle. Percy Harvin returns and scores a touchdown, while the Denver defense struggles to slow Marshawn Lynch, who bowls in for a late go-ahead score. Don't underestimate Steven Hauschka, either. Maybe the Cowboys keeping it close against the Broncos early in the season is weighing too much on my mind, but the Seahawks are "just 'bout that action, boss," and I expect they'll prove it by pulling out a late 23-21 win. [embedded_ad]
Bryan Broaddus: The focus will be on both quarterbacks in this matchup between the Broncos and Seahawks but this game will in my feeling come down to which defensive coordinator puts his players in the best positions to make plays. It's not hard to respect the work that Dan Quinn has done with this Seattle defense but my gut feeling is that Jack Del Rio and his troops will expose Russell Wilson's inability to throw the ball consistently enough to keep pace with the Broncos, who will find ways to score and put pressure on the Seahawks to try and keep up, which they will not be able to do.
David Helman: I'm going to buy into the hype. I'm aware that "defense wins championships," and I'm aware that it's only been four years since Peyton Manning threw an interception that lost his team the Super Bowl. But Manning has a chance to put a stamp on the greatest season by a quarterback in the history of the sport on Sunday, and I don't think he's going to let it slip away. The Seahawks are going to make it difficult, and I'm going to go on the record and say that Richard Sherman – or at least one of the members of the Legion of Boom – gets a pick on Manning. I don't think the Seattle offense can keep pace with Manning and Co., though. My guess is the Broncos win, 27-17. I think Montee Ball scores the touchdown that puts Denver in front for good.