The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. In a year when the NFL couldn't have been more unpredictable during the regular season, the final game pits No. 1 seeds against each other for just the second time since the 1993 season.
So that should make the final game easily predictable, right? Wrong. Not even the oddsmakers at Sportsbook could figure out what they wanted to set the line at, as R.J. Bell of Pregame.com explains:
Sportsbook.ag says over 90% of early betting on #Broncos - driving the move to Denver -3 over Seattle— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) January 20, 2014
Oh, by the way, the odds have changed yet again since that tweet by Bell.
After two of the preseason favorites to make the Super Bowl clinched their spot, not even the educated folks at Sportsbook knew which direction to go. This was an insane year in the NFL, and the two best teams are making it difficult to figure out which team to pick.
So where should bettors place their wagers? Before the big game kicks off, here is a full breakdown and prediction for the biggest game of the season.
|Seattle Seahawks||Denver Broncos||-2.5||48|
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Super Bowl Breakdown
The Broncos have a plethora of wide receivers that are all at full health after a regular season in which they had four players catch 10 or more touchdowns. The Seahawks feature the best defensive secondary in football behind All-Pro players Earl Thomas III and Richard Sherman.
Who will win the Super Bowl?
While the Seahawks don't have quite as many weapons as the Broncos, they will face the No. 27 passing defense in the regular season after dueling with the San Francisco 49ers' No. 7 pass defense. Those are the matchups before even looking at the running game, which will be a focal point for both teams playing in likely freezing temperatures at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Needless to say, it's going to be a tight one either way.
But the deciding factor in this one is the complete team effort that Denver has been displaying in the postseason. What everyone knows about is the passing game, so let's start there.
Peyton Manning has put together the best statistical season in the history of the NFL for a quarterback, breaking the passing touchdowns and yards record in the regular season. He has also translated that into two spectacular performances in the postseason.
The biggest reason for that is not just the fact that Manning has been sensational, but that he also has a total offense around him. With the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Eric Decker surrounding him at receiver and Knowshon Moreno in the backfield, the Broncos look unstoppable.
In terms of unstoppable receivers, Thomas has been by far the most lethal target for Manning and the Broncos in his postseason career. In five playoff games thus far, Thomas has averaged 104.4 yards and has a total of four touchdowns, according to Pro-Football Reference—three of which came from Manning.
In the two games they've played this postseason, the Broncos defense has been much better than it was in the regular season. Thus far, Denver's defense has allowed just 289.5 yards in the postseason and is rolling heading into the final showdown of the season.
As for Marshawn Lynch going into Beast Mode, the Broncos held the New England Patriots' potent running backs to 57 rushing yards and the San Diego Chargers' backfield to 55 yards on the ground.
When it comes down to it in clutch situations, the Denver defense has proven that it can withstand great offensive attacks, and the offensive side of the ball has never been in question. While Sherman and the Seahawks defense have been great all year, Manning will be hoisting his second Lombardi Trophy for a Broncos team that will win its first Super Bowl since 1998.
Prediction: Broncos 31, Seahawks 23
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