Dan Caesar's Super Bowl XLVIII capsule, prediction
SEAHAWKS vs. BRONCOS
When/Where: 6:30 p.m. EST, East Rutherford, N.J.
Spread: Broncos by 21/2. Monday line: Broncos -$130, Seahawks +110. Over/under : 47.
Weather forecast: Cloudy, temperature around 40, light wind.
Synopsis: Classic matchup pitting Denver's record-shattering and top-ranked offense against Seattle No. 1-rated defense. Denver scored an NFL-record 606 points in the regular season, an average of 37.9 a game, and eclipsed 40 seven times. Seattle, meanwhile, allowed just 14.4 points per outing, fewest in the NFL, and held opponents to one touchdown or fewer nine times, Denver loves to throw, with QB Peyton Manning breaking the NFL record for TD passes and passing yards this season. But Seattle is No. 1 against the pass, and its excellent secondary should be able to match up with the Broncos' receiving corps. Meanwhile, Seattle's calling card on offense is running the ball with Marshawn Lynch, the lead carrier. Although Denver's run "D" ranks eighth, that is a bit shaded because opponents were falling way behind, especially early in the season, and having to eschew a running strategy. If Seattle can establish the run early, and also get key contributions from the versatile Percy Harvin -- who is expected to be in the mix at receiver and running back after playing just twice this season because of injuries -- the Seahawks will be formidable.
Bottom line, pick: Four times teams that led the league in scoring during the regular season have collided in the Super Bowl with the team that allowed the fewest points, and the "D" team has prevailed in three of them. Given that Denver already has been well below its regular-season offensive pace as it has tightened in the playoffs, scoring 24 and 26 points in its victories over teams with much worse defenses than Seattle in yards allowed -- San Diego was 23rd, New England No. 26 -- and possible weather issues, there's no reason to expect an explosion here from the Broncos. After all, Seattle already has shackled New Orleans' potent attack twice, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. Seattle could be poised to win if it can score 24 points, which is just one more than it managed in playoff wins over teams with much better defenses than Denver's 19th-rated unit. New Orleans was fourth and San Francisco fifth.
SEAHAWKS 27, BRONCOS 23.
CAESAR'S RECENT SUPER BOWL RECORD
Pick missed last year, but before that had four consecutive winners straight up and vs. point spread, including one exact score.
2009 PICK: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23 (Steelers favored by 7).
FINAL SCORE: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23.
2010 PICK: Saints 34, Colts 30 (Colts favored by 5).
FINAL SCORE: Saints 31, Colts 17.
2011 PICK: Packers 24, Steelers 17 (Packers favored by 21/2).
FINAL SCORE: Packers 31, Steelers 25.
2012 PICK: Giants 27, Patriots 23 (Patriots favored by 3)
FINAL SCORE: Giants 21, Patriots 17
2012 PICK: 49ers 31, Ravens 24 (49ers favored by 4)
FINAL SCORE: Ravens 34, 49ers 31.
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