The biggest football games of the NFL season is this Sunday. Here are
8 bold (and probably totally crazy) predictions for the Super Bowl.
1. Julius Thomas will have less than 30 yards receiving
Broncos TE Julius Thomas has been a great breakout player this year,
giving QB Peyton Manning a big body to target around the end zone and
over the middle. He's a phenomenal athlete and knows how to get open.
Julius Thomas (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
That being said, the Seahawks have prided themselves all year on
making life miserable for opposing tight ends. They smothered the 49ers'
Vernon Davis in the NFC Championship, allowing two catches for 16 yards
all game. Expect them to jam up Thomas constantly and limit his impact.
2. The Broncos defense is going to play better than anyone expects
Everyone is billing this as a showdown between the Seahawks's defense
and the Broncos' offense, but don't forget to give the Broncos' defense
its due. Football Outsiders' weighted team-defense rankings,
which adjusts defensive stats to place more importance on recent games,
has the Broncos' defense as the 10th best in the league.
WATCH: Key matchups that could decide the Super Bowl
Most importantly, the Broncos defense has proven excellent at
stopping the run. If they can keep Marshawn Lynch from breaking into the
second level, they could easily hold the Seahawks to under 20 points.
3. Russell Wilson will throw for over 300 yards
Russell Wilson (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
...Which leads us to our next bold prediction. With the Broncos keying
in on stopping the run, Seattle will need to take to the air to keep up
with them. Wilson will throw more than he (or his coach) is comfortable
with him throwing, and it won't fit into their desired game plan, but
the yards will add up and he'll get over 300 yards.
4. Trindon Holliday is going to have a huge return for the Broncos
Trindon Holliday has spent all season waiting to return kicks for the
Broncos, but for home games at least, he's had to settle watching
kickoff after kickoff sail for touchbacks in the thin Denver air.
Trindon Holliday (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
That won't happen in East Rutherford, N.J. Holliday, probably the
fastest guy on either team, will get a chance to run some kickoffs back,
and he could absolutely break one out.
5. Richard Sherman will intercept a pass
After all the Sherman hype, it'd be easy to predict the Seahawks CB
would be a non-factor in the Super Bowl. Nope. Swinging the other way.
Sherman seems to really enjoy the spotlight, and with the nation's eyes
on him, he'll make a huge play that swings the game.
6. "Pot Roast" is going to have two sacks and become a household name
"Pot Roast" is the nickname of Broncos nose tackle Terrance Knighton,
a massive man who's gotten better every game this season. While
Knighton's main job is to hold up blockers and allow linebackers to make
tackles on run plays, he's showing a knack for getting in the backfield
and bringing down opposing QBs.
Terrance Knighton (center) celebrates with teammates. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
If Wilson takes too long in the pocket, expect Knighton to get back
there, yank him down for a few sacks, and have the nation talking Pot
7. If Seahawks win, Marshawn Lynch will win the MVP award
Marshawn Lynch (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)
If the Seahawks win this football game, it will be because their
defense turns Peyton Manning over a couple times, and they're able to
execute the offensive plan they want - the one on the ground. If the
Seahawks win, it will be Lynch who carries their offense, and Lynch who
brings home the MVP.
8. If Broncos win, Demaryius Thomas will win the MVP award
Nah, he won't. Peyton Manning will. But this is a bold predictions column, right?