The national media are weighing in on who will win the Super Bowl on Sunday. Almost everyone is predicting a close game.
Still, most so-called experts are calling it for the Denver Broncos, many citing quarterback Peyton Manning as the difference. The Seahawks’ defense is making them pause, however.
Denver is being picked by about 60 percent of the predictions I found nationally.
Here’s a quick look through predictions Friday afternoon. The Seattle Times’ picks will be available Saturday.
Twenty-six of 40 picked the Broncos.
Adam Caplan, NFL Insider
Broncos 24, Seahawks 20 — The Broncos will win this game for one primary reason: They are the one team capable of spreading out the excellent Seahawks secondary and finding favorable matchups.
The absurd legacy talk will end Sunday night with Manning hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and being named the game’s MVP. A day after winning his fifth league MVP award, Manning will become the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.
Pete Carroll said it best Thursday: “We may play exceeding well and still not beat them.”
Denver 27, Seattle 20.
Five of seven picked the Broncos.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be staged Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J., between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos — just as USA TODAY Sports’ NFL experts Nate Davis, Lindsay H. Jones and Tom Pelissero predicted back in August. As far as Super Sunday, Lindsay has the Broncos while Nate and Tom are sticking with the Seahawks.
Three of six picked the Seahawks.
Chris Burke: I’ve gone back and forth on these teams all year — picked Seattle to win it all before the year, then Denver at the start of the playoffs. I’m going to roll with the Broncos because I think that offense will find a way to score, and I’m not positive the Seahawks have enough firepower to respond should it come to that. Peyton’s pals are rolling on both sides of the football right now. Broncos 27, Seahawks 24
A quarterback will turn in a winning MVP performance in Super Bowl XLVIII; it just won’t be Manning. While he’s looking for the storybook ending to a great comeback and record-breaking season, Wilson, after some support from Seattle’s defense, will raise the Lombardi Trophy. Just like we said in August. Seahawks 27, Broncos 24.
Three of five pick the Seahawks,
Scott Pianowski – X-Factor: Russell Wilson’s improvisational ability is a major problem for Denver’s injury-riddled defense. Wilson made two incredible ad-lib plays in the win over the Niners, plays that were largely forgotten by the end-of-game narrative that emerged.
Maybe no one can stop the Broncos offense, but Seattle’s defense has the right pieces: deep and physical secondary, disruptive defensive line. You don’t trick Peyton Manning, but sometimes you can beat him with execution – if you’re lucky enough to have the right personnel. Seattle does. And Denver’s scoring machine seems to be missing something in recent weeks; look at the modest point totals in the AFC playoffs, not to mention the shocking upset loss to San Diego.
Four of six picked the Broncos.
Michael J. Fensom, The Star-Ledger: You don’t need to be Nate Silver to figure out this game is likely to go down to the wire. This has been the year of offense in the NFL, and fittingly the league’s best unit (Broncos) and individual player (Peyton Manning) will be on the field at MetLife Stadium. But on the other side of the ball, the league’s best defense will be there balancing the scale. The Seahawks have given the impression of a relaxed crew, even though just one of their players (Ricardo Lockette) has been to the big game before. Both teams already have one victory in the Meadowlands this season. Seattle will make it two. Seahawks 27, Broncos 24
The ‘Hawks may be boring and their most interesting personality, if not their corner, might be their jacked-and-pumped coach, but they ooze balance, even without their 12th man in the Meadowlands. … Seahawks 27, Broncos 24
As much as I respect Manning, I can’t shake the feeling that Seattle’s Legion of Boom will deliver the big punch here. Another disappointing ending this season for a Manning at MetLife Stadium. Seahawks, 23-20
Six of 11 picked the Broncos.