The Denver Broncos are favored to win their third Super Bowl in franchise history. At most Las Vegas casinos, the AFC champions are giving the Seattle Seahawks 2.5 points.
The Seahawks have a very good chance to be victorious in Super Bowl XLVIII. They navigated the toughest division in football to lead the NFL with a 13-3 record, and faced two tough tests on their way to the big game. The NFC West champs had the best odds of winning it all for most of the playoffs, but the betting public jumped on the Broncos when the two teams won their respective conference title games.
Denver, though, is the favorite for good reason. There a several factors why they will raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2014 Super Bowl.
Through just two years in the NFL, Russell Wilson has been as impressive as any young quarterback in the past decade. In that time, he’s registered a passer rating over 100, lost one game at home, thrown 33 more touchdowns than interceptions and led his team to the Super Bowl. With all that said, Peyton Manning clearly gives the Broncos the edge at the most important position on the field.
Not only is Manning a future Hall of Famer, but he might be playing the best football of his career. In the regular season, the 16-year veteran set records by throwing for 5,477 yards and completing 55 touchdown passes. He did so while completing 68.3 percent of his passes and registering a 115.1 quarterback rating.
Seattle may have the No.1 ranked defense, but Manning has picked apart every team that he’s faced. He’s taken on four of the league’s top 13 pass defenses, totaling 16 touchdowns and just one interception in those matchups. Manning has had his share of playoff disappointments, but it looks like this is his year, and is poised to take home his second championship.
Having Manning has certainly helped elevate the Denver wide receiving corps, but the group is still as talented as any in the league. Demaryius Thomas has proven himself to be an elite an elite player, recording over 90 catches and 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Erick Decker and Wes Welker also had big years, and the three totaled 252 receptions and 3,496 yards.
While Welker was third on the Broncos in catches, he would’ve led the Seahawks in that category. Golden Tate had a career year for Seattle with 898 yards, and Percy Harvin will play in the Super Bowl after missing almost the entire season, but Wilson doesn’t have nearly the same weapons that’s Manning does. Denver even has a major advantage at tight end, where Julius Thomas more than doubled Zach Miller’s production in the 2013 season.
The one area in which the Seahawks have the advantage is at running back. Marshawn Lynch outgained Knowshon Moreno by more than 200 yards in the regular season and has played very well in two postseason contests. However, the gap between the two is smaller than many might think. Moreno had a better yards per carry average this year and has been very productive when given the opportunity to shine.
With about 10 days to go before the Super Bowl, it looked like the game could be played under very poor conditions. Very low temperatures and a high possibility of snow seemed to be on the horizon. Now that the game is just a few days away, the weather forecast looks a lot less bleak, and it appears there will be clear skies and above freezing temperatures for the game.
A Super Bowl in bad conditions would have favored Seattle. The team’s offense is built on its running game, including Wilson’s ability to use his legs. Manning, though, probably won’t have to worry about throwing the ball in rain or snow. It would have been difficult for him to put up big numbers if the weather were to play a large role, but the elements probably won’t be much of a factor.