Denver is a slight favorite to win Sunday’s Super Bowl because of what happened two weeks ago in the conference championship games.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning methodically sliced and diced the New England defense to get Denver to the Super Bowl, while Seattle QB Russell Wilson was constantly harassed from the first play (a fumble) until he made the one big play that beat the 49ers.
If you believe in the theory that quarterbacks win Super Bowls, then Denver is your team. But as Lee Corso would say if he was so inclined: “Not so fast my friend.”
The public is fixated on Manning, one-third of the closest thing the NFL has to a royal family, and who is considered the smartest quarterback playing the game. “Don’t try to get inside his head,” said Seattle loudmouth Richard Sherman, “because you’ll get lost.”
But while he hotly denies it, Manning does not play well in cold weather, with a record of 10-11 when the temperature at kick-off is under 40 degrees. Sunday’s game-time temperature is predicted to be in the 30s, and he’ll be facing the best defense in the NFL, not the Patriots’ patchwork ensemble.
On the other side of the ball, Wilson will be facing a defense that is vastly inferior to the one the 49ers threw at him. And if the weather turns bad, the Seahawks have the superior running game.
When you add in the two best predictors of who will win an NFL game (average yards per pass and turnover ratio), Seattle figures to win the championship.
TWO MORE REASONS: Denver lost three previous Super Bowls by a combined score of 30-124 while wearing orange jerseys. They will wear orange Sunday. Plus, Sports Illustrated NFL guru Peter King picks the Broncos to win. He is rarely right.