By Timothy van Kuijk and Sitharthan Sekar, contributing writers
For the first time in NFL history, the number one offense in yards and points, the Denver Broncos led by Peyton Manning and his receiving corps, will face the number one defense in yard and points allowed, the Seattle Seahawks, led by Richard Sherman and a stout defensive line. The game is set to kick off this Sunday, February 2nd at 6:25 pm. Also for the first time ever, the game is being played outdoors in the North. Pundits have predicted snow and rain for months, but against all odds the weather is expected to be moderate with a temperature in the low 40s and no snow.
The Denver Broncos enter the Super Bowl as the favorite to win on account of the Peyton Manning-led high powered offense, which has set numerous records this season. Peyton has previously struggled in cold weather conditions, including a loss this year against the Patriots. The wind, which is expected to be 10 mph, will swirl throughout the game and make field goals and passes difficult. Look for the Broncos to rely on running back Knowshon Moreno in key situations if the weather affects Peyton Manning’s characteristic accurate deep throws.
The Seattle Seahawks will attempt to stifle Denver’s passing game with the lockdown coverage of Richard Sherman, most recently known for his rant about San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, and their excellent defensive line. Sherman, a second year product out of Stanford, is considered by many as the best cornerback in the league this year. Despite being known as a defensive team, the Seahawks also have a top offense behind RB Marshawn Lynch’s hard-hitting running style, which earned him the nickname of “The Beast” that is commonly chanted by crowds following his plays. Back from injury and a concussion, former Gator WR Percy Harvin is expected to play and join the cast of wideouts for sophomore QB Russell Wilson, a pro bowler.
In many games this season, the referees have been a factor in the outcome. Both the Seahawks and Broncos come into this game with the reputation for stretching the rules on defense and offense, respectively. The Seahawks commonly have the reputation of committing pass interference on every play because the referees can’t call it every time. The Broncos are known for their questionable “pick” plays, one of which resulted in the injury of Patriots CB Aqib Talib, former Buccaneer, in the AFC championship and sparked backlash from Talib’s Head Coach Bill Belichick. The head referee for this game, Terry McAulay, has a notoriously light hand in terms of penalty calls. It will be interesting to see how this affects the game on Sunday.
For those less interested in sports, the Super Bowl is always accompanied by high-budget advertising and a star-studded halftime show. This year the show will be a combination of Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to please both the young and older viewers. Before the game is the always popular Puppy Bowl, airing on Animal Planet at 3 pm.
Prediction: 28-24 Broncos.