Fil-Am sportswriters offer their Super Bowl XLVIII picks
MANILA, Philippines - With the beer on ice, the order for 75 chicken wings placed with the catering company and the office pool bets all locked in, Super Bowl XLVIII is just hours away. America's biggest sports spectacle, which combines the aggressive competition of the National Football League with the glamorous pageantry of show business, is an over-the-top celebration of Americana that is quickly expanding in interest around the world.
This year's Super Bowl, which will emanate from Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Manila time (live on TV5), will match the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos in a summit meeting of the season's two most dominant teams. Both the Seahawks and the Broncos had regular season records of 13-3, with both teams achieving their ledger by contrasting means.
The Seahawks suffocated opponents with their defense, holding opponents to the fewest points per game (14.4) and passing yards per game (172) in the league, while drawing comparisons to other great defensive squads such as the '85 Chicago Bears and the '86 New York Giants.
Their offense may not be as dynamic, but they were a respectable fourth place in rushing yards (2188), with their primary running threat being Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch.
The Broncos have made it to this point behind quarterback Peyton Manning, a living legend who, at 37, has broken most of the single-season passing records, including touchdowns (55) and yards in a season (5,477). The Broncos squad also set the record for most points in a season, becoming the first team to pass the 600 points threshold.
And if Manning hadn't broken enough records already, he was selected as the NFL's Most Valuable Player for a record fifth time earlier today.
The winning team will likely go down in history as one of the greatest squads in NFL history, while the loser will just go down. Those are the stakes that precede the Super Bowl 48.
Below are the predictions of five Filipino-American sportswriters, complete with scores. Luckily for us, the stakes aren't nearly as high as they are for the teams which will play tomorrow morning.
The narrative for the game has been well-documented: Peyton Manning's record-breaking Broncos aerial attack will lock horns and wits with the loquacious Richard Sherman's dominant Seahawks defense in a colder-than-normal setting for a Super Bowl.
The low temperature favors the Seahawks, who have proven they can win playoff games by wearing teams out with a bruising run game led by Marshawn Lynch. Moreover, the Broncos' receivers might have issues getting open on timing routes against a Seattle secondary that will jam them on the line of scrimmage. But I think Manning's experience on the big stage outweighs his young counterpart Russell Wilson's versatility to either run or throw. I foresee the Broncos quarterback being able to exploit any favorable matchups, and more importantly, his offense controlling the clock when necessary behind a workhorse running back in Knowshon Moreno - who might be saving his best performance for last Sunday.
Cold weather will be a factor. Both teams will rely on their running game. I envision Russell Wilson scoring two rushing touchdowns.
Broncos 27-Seahawks 24
Aptly advertised as the classic offense vs. defense matchup, it can't get any better than this.
Peyton Manning and the no. 1 rated offense and the AFC's no. 1 seed Denver Broncos should figure in an epic showdown against Richard Sherman and the no. 1 rated defense and the NFC's no. 1 seed Seattle Seahawks.
For my money, I'm taking the offensive genius in Manning to tediously find enough wrinkles in the Seahawks defense and make the plays that count to squeeze out a very close win, 27-24.
Broncos 24-Seahawks 20
I'm picking Denver. Peyton Manning will be going to Disneyland as the MVP and retire on top. This is pending if the weather turns bad. Then it will be ground & pound with running back Lynch & special teams with Doug Baldwin playing a pivotal role in field position on punt returns. I just want an entertaining game.
This being the first Super Bowl to take place outdoors in a cold-weather state will be a key factor, I believe. Peyton Manning's winning percentage drops significantly in cold weather (71% in temps above 40 degrees Farenheit/42% below it according to ESPN). If the Seattle secondary can delay Manning's decision-making long enough to put pressure on him, good things will happen for them. Their offense feeds off their defense.
What gives me pause is that the Seahawks have only faced one top 10 offensive team this year, and that was the New Orleans Saints. They also need standout games from quarterback Russell Wilson, who as a second-year player is far outgunned in experience against Manning, and Marshawn Lynch. I think they are both due for a big game, and will earn Super Bowl rings for their efforts.
Fil-Am sportswriters pick the Denver Broncos to defeat the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 3-2.