The NFL championship is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the calendar year, and 2014's Super Bowl XLVIII featuring the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will be one of the most memorable title games in history.
With the best defensive team in the league (Seattle) squaring off with the most explosive offensive unit (Denver), this is the ultimate example of the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force.
This will be a fierce battle.
Here is all the vital viewing information for Super Bowl XLVIII, the brightest stars to watch on both teams and the predicted final score for this AFC vs. NFC showdown.
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Brightest Stars for Each Team
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
The focus in the AFC Championship Game was whether Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would be able to overcome his demons and beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots under the pressure of the postseason.
With the far superior cast of characters around him, Manning and the Broncos proved that they are not only the class of the AFC but also the class of the entire NFL. Seattle deserves immense credit for making it to the championship game, but Denver is flat-out more explosive.
Led by the league’s most impressive offensive unit, Denver will be able to put up points on the vaunted Seahawks defense no matter how much Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman yells during the build to the game.
Manning threw for 400 yards against New England in the AFC Championship and has built off his record-breaking regular-season campaign. With 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, the veteran QB will pick Seattle apart.
As long as the Broncos’ weapons around him step up—stars like wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, tight end Julius Thomas and running back Knowshon Moreno—Manning will help lead Denver to a Super Bowl victory.
Predicted Stat Line: 30-of-40 for 400 yards and three touchdowns
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
No matter which game plan the Denver Broncos use as the team enters the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks will attack the challengers with a run-heavy offense led by veteran power back Marshawn Lynch.
After running for 109 yards against the vaunted San Francisco 49ers defense in the NFC Championship, Lynch proved that even when stifled for the majority of the first half, sticking with the run-first mindset throughout the game will eventually open running lanes in the latter stages.
Denver may limit Lynch’s production early, but his bruising style will wear down the Broncos front seven after 12-to-15 running plays right into the heart of the defense.
There is only so much energy a defense can use before getting tired. Once Denver is flat-footed, Lynch can break giant touchdown runs.
The Broncos only allowed 64 yards to New England in the conference title game and just 65 to the San Diego Chargers in the divisional round, so Lynch will have to work for every yard he gets in the Super Bowl.
Predicted Stat Line: 20 carries for 85 yards and one touchdown
Super Bowl Prediction
Both teams deserve credit for making it all the way to the championship game, but the Broncos have the better overall team and will beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The best matchup of the entire postseason will be the most gifted offensive unit in the NFL going head-to-head with the toughest defense in the league.
Something must give.
Led by the experience of Manning as a former Super Bowl champion with the Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos will be the less emotional of the two franchises, and that will allow the team to prepare more sufficiently.
While Seattle is the fierier group, the two weeks of preparation is the advantage that Manning dreams about. The extra week to plan and scheme will give the future Hall of Fame QB enough time to develop an attack that can beat what has been a rigid defensive unit all year.
The Seahawks will play tough in the Super Bowl, but Manning will lead his team to victory.
Predicted Final Score: Denver 31, Seattle 24
*Stats via NFL.com.