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The CUI sports staff on the upcoming championship between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.

Showdown at MetLife: CU Independent Super Bowl predictions

Veteran Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos scoring machine take on young Russell Wilson and his stifling defense in Super Bowl XLVIII at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014. The CUI sports section has several thoughts about the highly-anticipated game. Let us share our predictions with you:

Jared Funk-Breay, Sports Writer: Broncos 27, Seahawks 20

Peyton Manning has been shredding defenses all season. But based on the way Denver’s defense has been playing recently, he won’t even have to this time. Russell Wilson will need to throw more than the 159 yards he’s averaged this postseason to have a chance to outduel Manning. Richard Sherman and company might be able to slow down the Denver offense, but it won’t be enough to lead them to a Super Bowl victory. Denver has scored at least 20 points in each of their games all year, a remarkable feat of consistency that will put the Orange and Blue on top.

Sam Routhier, Sports Writer: Broncos 27, Seahawks 20

This game is going to come down to Peyton Manning and the Denver offense’s ability to put points on the board against Seattle’s defense. While the Broncos are no slouch defensively, the Seahawks should be able to scrape a couple of touchdowns together against a defense that has been scrambling for an identity since Von Miller tore his ACL in December. I don’t think anyone could have dreamed up a better stage than a snowy MetLife Super Bowl for Peyton to disprove myths once and for all about his playoff and cold weather abilities. If Manning can figure out Richard Sherman and Seattle’s “Teal Curtain,” I think the Broncos will come out on top.

Tom Wood, Sports Writer: Broncos 27, Seahawks 20

One cannot win on swag alone. The Seahawks’ intimidating defense is the best in the league, but its (well-deserved) reputation masks the team’s offensive deficiencies. Russell Wilson may be the second coming of Fran Tarkenton, but none of his receivers would be more than a second option on any other team.

Marshawn Lynch will break off a few beast mode plays, but the offensive line he runs behind is the team’s weakest link. Pete Carroll has played musical chairs with them in the playoffs; James Carpenter started last week after being inactive the week before. Denver Bronco Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton should have a field day.

The Broncos offense probably only needs to score in the high 20s to win. But that’s the problem. Denver struggled with physical corner play in their loss to Indianapolis, and Seattle’s defensive backfield is bigger, better and tougher than any they’ve played this year. Still, the Seahawks usually keep their corners on one side of the field for the entire game, so the Broncos should be able to control who Richard Sherman matches up with. If he is shadowing Demaryius Thomas, Denver will have to get by without their best receiver (lifehack: don’t test Richard Sherman).

Luckily, the Broncos have the deepest receiving corps in the league. Cut off one head, and two more will grow in its place. Someone will go off. Manning needs to be accurate, though, because he won’t have much throwing space and the Seahawks’ speed mitigates his deadly screen passes. Denver needs to establish a quick passing game to give Knowshon Moreno any room to run.

Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the best in the league and the Broncos need him on his heels so he can’t fill running lanes at will. Denver won’t come close to approaching its scoring average, but it won’t need to. They can score on anyone. Seattle’s offense isn’t explosive enough to keep up, even if its defense holds the Broncos to under 30 points.

Jillian Arja, Sports Editor: Broncos 35, Seahawks 24

The Super Bowl XLVIII looks to be a good match, with the top defensive and offensive teams going head-to-head for the championship. The Seahawks and Broncos both had great seasons, with each team only giving up three losses throughout the year. Peyton Manning broke several records for the books, including a record 5,477 passing yards and 55 passing touchdowns, and will be the biggest influence on the game. Although Manning has historically had trouble in colder conditions, his experience will shine and the Broncos will be bringing Super Bowl rings back to Denver.

Grayson O’Roark, Sports Writer: Broncos 31, Seahawks 21

“The Legion of Doom” vs. “The Sheriff”; No. 1 defense vs. No. 1 offense; legalized state vs. legalized state…We’ve all heard the headlines and the anticipation is mounting. So what’s going to happen? Peyton. Williams. Manning. That’s what. For as good as Seattle is, the Seabirds are running into the wrong place at the wrong time. The Super Bowl is Denver’s place and Peyton’s time.

Lizzi Vogel, Sports Writer: Broncos 24, Seahawks 17

Peyton and Russell. Champ and Sherman. Super Bowl XLVIII is the ultimate clash between the old and the new, the veteran versus the young. Before I leave you with my prediction, allow me to set the stage for football’s biggest night.

The Denver Broncos are the epitome of an all-star offense. They rank first in points, first in yards and first in pass yards in the regular season. Peyton threw for 55 touchdowns and broke records left and right to bring his team to the number one seed and the Super Bowl. Knowshon Moreno rushed for over 1,000 yards with an average of about 4.3 yards per carry. And you can’t forget about Peyton’s targets. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas combined for 4,284 total yards this season. On the defensive side of the ball, Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard have been outstanding.

The Seattle Seahawks are the epitome of an all-star defense. Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor — this secondary is a force to be reckoned with, featuring players who are as big and as tough as linebackers. There are defensive ends who have the speed and agility to be corners. Offensively, Russell Wilson’s abilities as a pocket and mobile QB are aided by “The Beast” Marshawn Lynch, who ran for 1257 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season and another 249 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason, making the Seahawks’ running game 9th in the NFL.

With all of this in mind, here are three reasons the Broncos will be champions at the end of the day on Feb. 2:

1. While I believe that the Seahawks defense is quick and will cause some trouble for the Broncos, it won’t be enough to stop all the playmakers on this offense. Sherman will most likely be matched up with No. 1 Denver receiver Demayrius Thomas, allowing the impressive Decker and Welker to step up and make some plays down the field. The Broncos play an excellent screen game, and Peyton is better than anyone at masterfully delivering short passes that will tire the Seattle defense out. Peyton has been in the game way too long to not know how to handle a three step drop and a three second release.

2. Time of possession plays a huge factor in any game, but will play an even bigger role in the Super Bowl. Consensus has it that whoever is the last to have the ball will win. In this game and with this match-up, that could be true. Peyton knows his offense like the back of his hand and has no trouble reading the opposing defensive lines. I expect to hear a lot of “Omaha,” along with a steady mix of run and pass calls from Coach Fox. Going three-and-out is something that Manning just hasn’t been doing this season, and their offense is physical and disciplined enough to chew up the clock with long drives. When Peyton is on the field, the Seahawks have no chance.

3. The Denver defense is led by players like Terrance Knighton in strength, Shaun Phillips in speed and Mike Adams in skill. But they also have Champ Bailey, and Champ leads this defense (and the entire Broncos organization) in heart. This legend is on the prowl for his first Super Bowl ring in 15 years of NFL play. I am reminded of last season’s Super Bowl with Ray Lewis. When you have a player on your team like Ray, it makes you work that much harder. That will happen for Champ. This defense will rise to the occasion for their captain.

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