Who will win Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII matchup between the Denver Broncos, with the NFL’s most prolific offense, and the Seattle Seahawks, who boast the league’s stingiest defense? National Review Online asked for some predictions.
Richard Sherman will put his money where his mouth his, intercept Peyton Manning, and help the Seattle defense rein in the Broncos just enough to hold on to a four-point victory. Peyton Manning will have a good day, but not good enough to get a second Super Bowl ring.
— Contributing editor Jonathan Adler is the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University.
William J. Bennett
Seahawks put Peyton Manning under too much pressure. Win 30–21.
— William J. Bennett, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education from 1985 to 1988, is host of Morning in America, a nationally syndicated radio show.
Easiest prediction: The economic impact of the Super Bowl comes up way short of the claims tourism officials always make to get taxpayers to shell out millions to pay for junkets, parties, etc. I’ll take the under on $600 million, the ludicrous number cited by my congressman, Carolyn Maloney. Mayor de Blasio probably will not make a surprise appearance with a Bane mask on his face, but you can never be too sure.
And, sadly for this hater of all that is Manning, Broncos by 3. I have about as much confidence in Russell Wilson and the Seahawks on the road as I do in the gentlemanliness of your average New York Jets fan.
— Patrick Brennan is a Patriots fan and an associate editor at National Review.
EDWARD JOHN CRAIG
The last time Peyton Manning was in a Super Bowl, I mistakenly predicted he would win it because of the offensive talent that surrounded him in Indianapolis. Well, if the Colts of four seasons ago had too many horses, today’s Broncos have bigger and better ones. If you give the best quarterback ever a receiving corps of WRs Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker, along with fast and physical TE Julius Thomas, then don’t be surprised when he smashes Tom Brady’s single-season touchdown-pass record (to the chagrin of all Patriots fans, who, aside from their hatred of Peyton Manning and their bitterness at not going 18–0 in 2007, are otherwise exemplars of fair-minded sportsmanship).
And yet the Broncos offense may not be the best unit on the field on Sunday. The Seahawks defense is truly an imposing squad. Richard Sherman is the NFL’s premier cornerback, even if he does say so himself. The Seahawks’ front seven are talented, physical, and relentless. (Has anyone in history been happier about leaving Detroit than Cliff Avril? He has competition, no doubt, but my money’s still on him.) They play tough straight-up defense, pressure the quarterback, and pick off passes. No defense allowed fewer points or fewer passing yards this season.
Irresistible force, meet immovable object.
Still, the Broncos will win, if 1) they don’t fall behind by more than one score early on; 2) they manage to stay even on turnovers; 3) wind gusts at MetLife Stadium do not exceed 15 mph — allowing Manning’s ducks to fly true; and 4) Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno picks up at least 85 combined yards (he had over 1,500 combined yards and scored 13 TDs this year — not bad for a guy who was supposed to have been relegated to change-of-pace-back status the past two offseasons).
I’ll take Denver, 27–20. And now for the bonus predictions . . . !
If Peyton Manning is sacked more than twice, he’ll throw a happy-feet interception. Quack.
If Wes Welker tries to repeat the pick play that ended Aqib Talib’s AFC Championship game, he’ll be flagged for it. Legal schmegal.
Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch’s vicious “Beast Mode” running style will get someone hurt — possibly himself.
— Edward John Craig is managing editor of National Review Online and a Giants fan.
The Broncos win a relatively low-scoring affair, 24–16. Mariano Rivera is named MVP.
— Jason Epstein is president of Southfive Strategies LLC and a contributor to National Review Online’s Right Field.
Every true American wants Peyton to win another one, to shut up the last three guys in Christendom who doubt that he belongs on Mount Rushmore. But the world is a fallen place, and I think the Seahawks defense is going to be too much for him. The problem is a front seven who can make him instantly uncomfortable and a set of linebackers and safeties who can cover any tight end or running back in the league — and most wide receivers — out of a base 4–3. This will make Peyton’s zone-killing check-down passing game a non-starter. I expect him to get little going in the first half, make some adjustments, and come up just short in a relatively low-scoring affair: 20–17, ’Hawks. The game will probably turn on a single turnover, either way. Let’s just hope it’s not Sherman with the pick. I heard him the first time.
— Daniel Foster is a political consultant and former news editor of National Review Online.
I’ll be rooting for Seattle, mostly because I like the city and I hope to see Pete Carroll rewarded by the football gods for one of the all-time most unjustifiable firings after his one-year stint as head coach of the New York Jets in 1994.
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the Denver Broncos win their third world championship and Peyton Manning win his second Super Bowl MVP. If he does win, I just hope that his success leads some company to sign him up for their television commercials, because he seems like he might be good at that. Perhaps the Omaha, Neb., Tourism Board.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will shock the world during his immediate post-game interview, quoting Shakespeare: “Lay on, Macduff,
And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’”
— Jim Geraghty writes the Campaign Spot on NRO.