PFF Pick’em: Super Bowl XLVIII
Sam Monson - Pick: Seattle Seahawks - The more I look at this the more I think the Seahawks are tailor-made to beat the Broncos. Denver’s offense is all about timing, and the Seahawks have the ability on defense to mess with that timing from both sides of the equation…I think the Seahawks come close to shutting that Denver offense down.
As for the rest of the staff, their reasons for picking Denver come down to Peyton Manning. We all know - especially the PFF guys - that football is the farthest thing from a one-man sport, but if anyone has ever been the exception to that rule, he's the guy.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell backed the Washington Redskins’ moniker Friday, stating that nine out of 10 Native Americans support the name. That remark came during Goodell’s annual press conference on the Friday of Super Bowl week. Goodell actually was asked rather contentiously if he “would call a [Native American] a Redskin to his face?” The commissioner mostly sidestepped that question, instead offering up the reasoning behind not forcing Washington owner Daniel Snyder to change his team’s name.
“This is the name of a football team … [and it has been] presented in a way that honors Native Americans,” Goodell said.
For those waiting for Roger Goodell to turn his back one of his own bosses, keep holding your breath.
As for honoring anyone, Washington could start by winning four games next season.
Under Pressure's Super Bowl Preview
Realistically, when playing against Manning, you’re looking to disrupt his delivery rather than bring him to the ground. He gets rid of the ball so quickly that it’s hard to count on getting more than one or two sacks over the course of the 40-to-50 passes he’ll throw in a game. In the playoffs, Manning has dropped back 82 times. He’s had his footwork or throwing motion disrupted in any way by a pass rusher seven times. Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones grabbed Manning’s shoulder pad to disrupt a throw on a third-and-goal in the second quarter of the AFC Championship game. That’s the only time Manning has actually been grabbed as he’s thrown. He’s not only not been sacked in the playoffs ... he hasn’t even been knocked off his feet.
If defense wins championships, then the Seahawks are going to have to do something no one else has been able to do. Of course, it's not happening.
The Hidden Matchup
Don’t be surprised if we see the Seahawks use more zone read with quarterback Russell Wilson, especially early, to loosen up what has become a stingy Broncos run defense. “It’s part of what they do,” Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “I think as we looked at during the regular season, they didn’t do as much, I think, in order to protect the quarterback. I think when you’re in a single game elimination for the world championship, I think then you can throw that out the window and be a little bit more aggressive with him. So we’re prepared for that.”
...with two weeks to prepare, perhaps offensive coordinator Darren Bevell has put it back in. A big run by Wilson on a keeper early would go a long way toward softening up the Broncos. “It’s been in every week,” Bevell said. “There have been opportunities for it to happen every week.” Wilson hasn’t taken advantage, perhaps out of preservation, but with no tomorrow after Sunday, the Seahawks have no reason to hold back.
Just in case you were wondering if Del Rio has prepared for everything.
4. Too many weapons, even for Seattle’s D: Richard Sherman has the talent to shut down one of Denver’s weapons outside and a stout linebacking corps that features Wagner might be able to handle the Moreno-Ball combo. Plus, Earl Thomas might be the game’s premier safety, at least in terms of how much of the field he can cover deep.
But … then what? Let’s say Sherman finds himself on Demaryius Thomas and the line generates a little pressure on Manning and those linebackers box in the Denver run game. There’s still Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and lesser-used threats like Jacob Tamme at Manning’s disposal. The Broncos did not score 30-plus points in 13 of 16 regular-season games by accident.
Break a leg, Seattle. No, really--break your legs trying to cover all of these weapons.
The Super Bag
The Pick: Denver 22, Seattle 19
Bill Simmons taking Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a SB? That's actually a pretty bad sign, given his 111-145-10 record this season. He's probably just trying to jinx Denver, because we all know who he's rooting for.
Jason Lisk and Ashley Fox are also picking Denver, most of the NFL.com writers are taking Seattle, and the CBS Sports.com and KSK crews slightly favor the Broncos; here are the other predictions we mentioned earlier.
Ape Predicts Seahawks Will Win Super Bowl
Eli the ape ran into an enclosure Thursday morning and swiftly knocked down a papier-mache helmet bearing the Seahawks logo, signaling his pick, said Erica Hansen of Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.
“He made his pick without any hesitation,” Hansen said. That could mean bad news for Broncos fans. The 13-year-old primate hasn’t been wrong since 2006.
Raiders fans--always predictable, always making for the trees.
“We went back and improved a lot of our health benefits, both for former players and for current players, to the point where I think the health benefits that are provided to current NFL players are the best in the world. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do with the union in improving those benefits.”
“The cost of trying to provide health care for every player that has ever played in the league was discussed with the union,” Goodell said as he continued to answer Davis. “It was determined these changes were the best changes, and that’s what we negotiated.”
See, kids? It's all how you frame an argument that counts.
The Matrix of Manning
The whirlwind also includes a host of decoys. Code words that represent a running play may be called when a pass play is the ultimate result so as not to tip off a defense. And some of what Manning says carries no meaning at all; it is designed to toy with defenders as they wait and wonder what play is coming.
We just want to know who came up with Fat Man.
'A Unique Day And Night'
I’ve got a feeling if Denver wins, fourth receiver Andre Caldwell or second tight end Jacob Tamme is going to be a headline player coming out of the game. Manning has to be thinking: In five-receiver sets, somebody has to be open.
Bubba or Tamme the key? That might be a bit of overthinking, there, PK. FWIW, King and most of the ESPN guys are picking the Broncos, while their beat guys are sticking with their teams; SI's gambling experts are taking the Seahawks and the points.
Most importantly, the Simpsons predicted a Denver victory nine years ago.