Super Bowl XLVIII Picks and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

Super Bowl XLVIII Picks and Predictions

Predictions for Super Bowl XLVIII, including box scores and stats

WhatIfSports.com
January 21, 2014

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Gridiron Dynasty - College Football Game

Super Bowl XLVIII: Seahawks vs. Broncos


Super Bowl XLVIII
MatchupWin%Avg. Score
Seattle Seahawks49.323Boxscore
vs. Denver Broncos50.724Simulate Game

The hungry and the hunted
Explode into rock 'n' roll bands,
That face off against each other
Out in the street, down in Jungleland
. Bruce Springsteen

A storm is coming to the Meadowlands, and not just of the winter variety. Both the Broncos and Seahawks notched resounding victories in their respective conference championship battles, letting it be known their Lombardi pursuits will not go calmly into the shadows. Denver, the NFL's best offense, helmed by its biggest star, staring down a formidable Seattle defense that's spurred by a litigious dynamo. You better believe Jersey will be rocking.

Both "the hungry and the hunted" could fit the plight of Peyton Manning. Coming off a near-flawless performance against his historical oppressors last weekend, the venerable arm is a game away from his second Super Bowl ring, forever silencing the barbs of a losing playoff record and "Rex Grossman!" Alas, to claim this crown, Manning will need to hurdle an obstacle he's been unable to clear: the cold. Though the quarterback has stated his disregard for this theory, the numbers don't lie: Manning is just 4-7 in contests when the weather is 32 degrees or lower. With the early forecast looking artic, the 37-year-old will need to tame these ice-covered demons to bring a title back to Mile High.

The Seattle resistance might have something to say about such matters. The Seahawks defense has been rockin' n' rollin' adversaries all year long to the tune of 14.4 points per game (best in the league). The face of this outfit is corner Richard Sherman, who, like many ensemble frontmen, is an enigmatic character. While the perspective spectrum is varied on Sherman's disposition, there's no doubting his impact on the gridiron, as the Stanford product has consistently impeded his opponents' receiving endeavors this season. Sherman's efforts, coupled with the work from fellow secondary stars Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, are the foundation of a defense that is conceding a league-low 172 passing yards per tilt. Fronting the aerial stylings of Manning, this clash will be must-watch theater.

However, while Seattle is one-up in the bark column, the Denver defense is not far behind in the bite. Viewed as the squad's Achilles heel for most of the fall, the Broncos' D has been a brick wall as of late, holding opponents to 17 points or less in four straight games. This is especially impressive given the host of injuries suffered by the Denver unit, losing Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and Chris Harris as starters (along with a lingering foot woe hampering the ability of All-Pro Champ Bailey). Seattle's stout ranks will likely encumber Manning's usual fireworks display on the scoreboard, making it imperative for the Broncos to keep up their impressive defensive feats.

Trying to rain on that parade will be Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. "Beast Mode" is an apropos description of Lynch's winter mayhem, rushing for 346 yards and four touchdowns in the past three outings. Moreover, his ground prowess has alleviated the offensive responsibility off Wilson's shoulders, vital as the Seattle field general has struggled mightily in the past six weeks. Wilson remains a viable threat under center, with his mobility presenting matchup issues for challengers. Nevertheless, Wilson operates best in an administrative mode, putting the onus on Lynch to do damage against a Broncos front that's been tough against the run (101.6 yards per game, eighth-best in the NFL).

So who will emerge with the Lombardi Trophy? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Denver Broncos come out on top 50.7 percent of the time by an average margin of 24-23.

The Seahawks more than prove their merit with a tough fight, but in the jungle of the Jersey, there can be just one alpha. Bit with all respect to Bruce, the Broncos stake claim to the title of "Boss."

Check the box score below to see how the game unfolded:

Super Bowl XLVIII
Seahawks emblemSeahawks
vs.
Broncos
Sun., Feb. 2
Broncos emblem
NFC
Seattle
AFC
Denver
23GAME PROJECTION (Jan. 20, 2014)24
Win % 49.3 Win % 50.7
Over/Under 47.5 Spread -2.0
Win % ATS 51.1 Win % ATS 47.5
Over % 43.4 Under % 56.6
First Downs 19 First Downs 20
Rushing 7 Rushing 6
Passing 11 Passing 14
Penalty 1 Penalty 1
3rd Down Eff 6/13 3rd Down Eff 6/13
4th Down Eff 0/1 4th Down Eff 0/1
Rushes-Yards 33-129 Rushes-Yards 26-111
Avg Rush 3.9 Avg Rush 4.3
Comp-Att-Int 17-26-1 Comp-Att-Int 23-35-1
Passing Yards 205 Passing Yards 250
Sacked-Yards 2-14 Sacked-Yards 2-13
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 Fumbles-Lost 1-0
Punts-Avg 4-42 Punts-Avg 4-42
KR-Avg 5-24 KR-Avg 4-21
PR-Avg 4-10 PR-Avg 4-11
Penalties-Yards 3-22 Penalties-Yards 4-23
Time of Possession 30:26 Time of Possession 30:09
Rushing ATT YDS TD
Marshawn Lynch 21.0 88.6 0.8
Russell Wilson 6.8 23.6 0.1
Robert Turbin 4.2 15.1 0.2
Rushing ATT YDS TD
Knowshon Moreno 16.2 74.9 0.6
Montee Ball 7.5 32.9 0.3
Peyton Manning 1.2 0.5 0.0
Receiving REC YDS TD
Doug Baldwin 3.6 57.5 0.4
Golden Tate 3.9 56.9 0.4
Zach Miller 3.1 33.8 0.2
Percy Harvin 2.1 28.0 0.2
Marshawn Lynch 2.1 21.2 0.1
Jermaine Kearse 1.1 12.8 0.1
Receiving REC YDS TD
Demaryius Thomas 4.8 72.2 0.4
Wes Welker 5.0 53.0 0.3
Eric Decker 3.6 46.6 0.3
Julius Thomas 3.7 40.4 0.2
Knowshon Moreno 2.4 22.0 0.1
Andre Caldwell 1.4 14.3 0.1
Virgil Green 1.1 9.3 0.1
Passing YDS TD INT
Russell Wilson 219.3 1.4 0.6
Passing YDS TD INT
Peyton Manning 263.4 1.6 0.9
Field Goals Made Missed
Steven Hauschka 1.6 0.2
Field Goals Made Missed
Matt Prater 1.8 0.3

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Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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