Seattle defense is music to these ears

I was driving into work on Friday afternoon and still didn’t have a clue as to who had the edge in the Super Bowl.

I’m happy to say the football gods intervened and sent me a message on my iPhone. As I was driving in, my playlist was on shuffle and in succession I heard Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Macklemore.

The Seattle Seahawks and their defense will be more super charged than a Starbucks double latte and beat the Denver Broncos.

In all seriousness, the game will be played in cold weather and will be decided up front by the Seahawks offensive and defensive lines.

Sure the Broncos haven’t allowed a sack all postseason, but that’s because Peyton Manning is so good at getting the ball out in less than two seconds. The Seattle secondary will force Manning to stay in the pocket longer and the Broncos injuries at center and left tackle will be exposed.

The Seahawks have sacked opposing quarterbacks 44 times this season.

The Denver defense also hasn’t faced a mobile quarterback during the playoffs like Russell Wilson. The absence of Von Miller will catch up to Denver in this game.

The game may be played in New York, but the San Diego Chargers put up a blueprint to beating the Broncos. The Chargers held the Broncos to less than 400 yards of total offense and used a power run game to win one of those three and lost the other two by eight points or less.

With all due respect to Knowshon Moreno, Marshawn Lynch is a better back and the Seattle defense has better personnel.

Seahawks 24, Broncos 21, and Earl Thomas III hauls in some interceptions to win the MVP.

— Albert Alvarado

Heart says Peyton, head says Seattle D

Like most of the rest of the country outside the Pacific Northwest, I’ll be rooting for Peyton Manning tonight in Super Bowl XLVIII.

How can you NOT love that guy? He’s part goofball and part genius. On Sundays we get to watch him orchestrate an offense like Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops. We sit mesmerized as Manning repeatedly shouts curious things like “Omaha” before taking a snap and dissecting another defense.

The rest of the week we crack up as he pitches various products from credit cards to pizza. Remember “CUT! THAT! MEAT!”?

We all know about the incredible comeback from neck surgeries that threatened his career. And two years later we see him, at age 37, playing his best football and collecting another MVP award.

And he’ll have another fine game tonight, I’m sure. It just won’t be enough.

That’s because the most complete team on the field tonight will be the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle won’t have an edge at quarterback, but they won’t be at a huge disadvantage either with Russell Wilson.

Any deficit will more than be made up for by running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Percy Harvin.

The Seahawks also have the best defense in the NFL. History tells us that’s a winning formula. In the five previous Super Bowls where the No. 1 defense squared off against the No. 1 offense, the team with the defense won four times.

— Mark W. Miller

Team with best player wins — and it’s not QB

It’s a theory. It’s not a theory that works 100 percent. But it’s not a bad theory. It’s called the BPT. 

The Best Player Theory.

And it’s usually pretty helpful when two evenly matched teams square off in championship contests. It works like this: whichever team has the very best player on the field/court/ice is more likely to win the championship.

Recent proof? Take the 2013 NBA Finals. San Antonio vs. Miami. Two very evenly matched teams. One had LeBron, the best player on the court, and that team took the title.

Boston and Chicago met in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. The experts, including ESPN’s Barry Melrose, called it an “even match.” But the best individual player, Patrick Kane, belonged to the Blackhawks, and they won the championship.

The best player who will suit up to play in today’s Super Bowl, pound for pound, is Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. You know the stat: 20 picks in his first three seasons. You know what he did against San Fran two weeks ago: made the game-saving play.

Peyton Manning won’t toss a ball anywhere near Sherman, or at least he’ll try not to. That’s a huge advantage for Seattle — knowing what Peyton won’t be doing on any given play.

Never mind that Sherman is loud, bombastic and, to some fans, just plain annoying. Sherman is the best player on the field.

And so, employing the Best Player Theory, the pick here is Seattle.

— Allan Mandell

Manning goes out like Elway, Ray Lewis

I’m a fan of storybook endings.

John Elway had his. Ray Lewis had his last year. Now, it is Peyton Manning’s turn.

After one of the most stellar careers in NFL history, Manning has an opportunity to walk away from the game as a champion. I’m not saying the future Hall of Famer will retire should Denver defeat Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII, but his teammates will do everything in their power to give him the option.

Known for being a favorite in the locker room, Manning is 37 years old and has accomplished almost every goal possible. He is a multiple MVP winner, a former champion and he holds more records than some Grammy winning artists.

Surprisingly, for as ridiculous as it sounds, he is often criticized for only having one Super Bowl ring. A win today erases any doubt he belongs among the position’s elite.

The Seahawks are loaded, and they will not be pushed over, and the much talked about Richard Sherman will be a thorn in Manning’s side for 60 minutes, but the Broncos simply have too many options on offense — the most important being Manning, who is one victory away from his storybook ending.

— Clay Whittington

Great defense will top the great offense

On paper, Super Bowl XLVIII seems to be an easy pick.

Because there is no way Russell Wilson, averaging 159 yards passing in two playoff games this year, and the Seahawks offense can keep up with Peyton Manning and the best statistical offense in NFL history, right?

And it appears fitting for Manning to end this season — the one he has owned since tossing seven touchdowns against the defending champion Baltimore Ravens in the nationally televised opener — with his second Super Bowl title.

But while Manning leads a historically efficient offense, he will be facing a historically efficient defense in the Seahawks.

Seattle not only led the league in total defense this past regular season, it also led it in scoring defense, passing defense, interceptions and turnovers.

Furthermore, the Seahawks are practically built to stop passing offenses like the Broncos.

It is no secret that Seattle doesn’t disguise its schemes. The Seahawks simply line up with All-Pros like safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman and dare teams to beat them.

And perhaps Denver will be able to do that. Seattle certainly hasn’t appeared nearly as invincible away from home — or even at home later in the season.

But I’m picking great defense to trump great offense one more time in the Meadowlands today.

— Jordan Mason


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