The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are set to take the field on the biggest stage in all of sports when they face off in Super Bowl XLVIII.
In a matchup where the NFL's best offense will take on the league's No. 1 defense, predicting which team will get the better of the other is as difficult as any game that's been played this year. Though Peyton Manning has a group of receivers who are better than any other in the NFL, Seattle will combat that with the best secondary.
As ESPN Stats & Info points out, the Seahawks have been historically good, ranking alongside one of the most memorable defenses ever in the NFL:
The @Seahawks are the first defense to lead the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed and takeaways since the 1985 Bears.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 25, 2014
That Chicago Bears team also held the New England Patriots to just 10 points in the blowout 46-10 triumph. Expecting the Seahawks to put 46 points on any team, much less the Broncos, is asking a little much after they didn't reach that mark all season up to this point.
Before the game officially kicks off, here is a prediction of how the final score will look and whether the two teams will surpass the over/under.
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
|Final Score||Broncos (-2.5)|
Vegas Insider (VI Consensus)
Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider
Though the Seahawks' defense has gotten much of the attention heading into the Super Bowl, both defenses are playing their best heading into the big showdown.
Will the two teams eclipse the over/under mark?
The Broncos struggled throughout the season to find consistency on the defensive side of the ball but have been a huge reason for the team's success in the playoffs thus far. The Broncos have reduced their yards per game from 356 in the regular season to 289.5 in the playoffs.
As for scoring, neither team has allowed more than 17 points during its two postseason games. The Seahawks have held opponents to 20 points or less in nine straight games, but they also haven't faced an offense as strong as the Broncos away from home all season.
The matchup is so close that it was tough for even oddsmakers to predict the favorite.
The task of simply picking who should be favored and by how much was difficult for some oddsmakers, as Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point sports book points out to Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press, via the Huffington Post:
Take your best shot. It's an intriguing matchup with no clear cut favorite. [...] It's incredible already, they're lined up betting this game like it started a half hour from now. If we don't do $100 million on this game I'd be really puzzled.
With the game being in New York and the early forecast for below normal temperatures that favors a defensive team. It also favors a running team and that's certainly an advantage to the Seahawks.
But what the two teams offer is a matchup with some of the biggest offensive weapons in the NFL. Whether it's Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson in the backfield for the Seahawks or Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and a receiving corps that has given every defense fits this season, the possibility of an offensive explosion by either team doesn't seem like a long shot.
My prediction for the game is the Broncos winning by a final score of 31-23, so I would take the over of 48 points. But with two defenses that have proved they can shut down great offenses in the playoffs through two games, it could easily be a game with neither team breaking 20 points.
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