Whether it be his last game or not, future hall-of-fame quarterback Peyton Manning will view Sunday’s prime-time matchup against the Seahawks as perhaps his last chance at another Super Bowl. Interestingly enough, this drive to cap an illustrious football career mirrors that of another NFL legend in last year’s big game: Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. While Lewis had already affirmed that he would retire at season’s end, the way in which he valiantly pushed his team through the playoffs and to the Super Bowl creates a parallel to what the NFL world might be unknowingly witnessing in the present with Manning and the Broncos.
So although Seattle appears as the better and more complete team–just how the San Francisco 49ers seemed a year ago–Denver might have an even greater force going for it, as Baltimore did in last year’s game: the sheer determination of a living legend who could possibly be seeking to “go out on top”.
Furthermore, Manning will possess the clear advantage in what has become the key aspect of nearly every NFL contest: the quarterback battle. Manning’s performance up to this point in the season has been greater than that of any quarterback in NFL history, which of course includes opposing gunslinger Russell Wilson. And since Manning plays a position at which experience is most crucial and valuable (which he undoubtedly has plenty of), one can presume that he will continue his unmatched level of quarterbacking efficiency right into the Super Bowl.
Though the Seahawks might begin the game looking as the stronger squad, the acclimation process for Manning and his offense is bound to gradually develop. Once he settles into a stage where he’s been two other times, Manning’s air attack will dictate the course of the game. But while the Broncos offense will accumulate loads of yardage, it will not necessarily all lead to touchdowns. Thus, look for Denver kicker Matt Prater–owner of the longest field-goal make and one of the best at his position–to have plenty of kicking opportunities and ultimately provide the definitive edge in this Super Bowl clash.
Prediction: Denver 26 Seattle 24