News Tribune sports writers share their Super Bowl picks

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will meet today for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, signifying
the winner of the Super Bowl.

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will meet today for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, signifying the winner of the Super Bowl. Photo by The Associated Press.

Each year, the reporters in the News Tribune's Sports Department try their hand at picking the winner of the Super Bowl. Here are their insights on today's big game:

Josh Hall's Prediction

I read an article a while back about the amount of preparation Peyton Manning puts in before a game each week.

Sure, most NFL players and coaches do the same — especially for the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl — but Manning has taken his preparation to another level throughout his career. It’s almost insane.

So while Seattle’s defense is crazy good, Manning has had plenty of time to examine what he’s up against, and that’s why I’m saying the Broncos go on to edge the Seahawks 28-21 in Super Bowl XLVIII.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a Peyton Manning fan until I came across this article. I thought he way annoying, somewhat arrogant, and kind of, well, a baby. But since I’ve realized what Manning’s all about, I’ve found it hard to root against the guy.

On the other hand, I’ve found it very easy to root against Seattle. And there’s one simple reason for that — Richard Sherman.

Maybe his rant wasn’t that big of a deal, and perhaps it’s not smart on my part to make a prediction based on my dislike for Sherman and the respect I have for Manning. But my gut is telling me Denver is going to pull this one out and I’m sticking to that.

OK, enough of my rant.

On the defensive end, the Broncos have to make Russell Wilson beat them. That’s no disrespect to Wilson — I actually like everything about him — but Denver can’t let Marshawn Lynch run the show.

Denver’s defense wasn’t great for most of the season, but the Broncos have really buckled down in recent weeks. They just need to do their part one more time.

Lynch is going to score some points, but Manning and the Broncos will score more.

Josh Hall foresees: BRONCOS 28, SEAHAWKS 21

Tony Hawley's Prediction

Forget the Super Bowl. I’m more concerned about the Sibling Bowl.

When the big game kicks off today, the regular storylines don’t hold much intrigue for me. I’m not a big fan of either the Broncos or the Seahawks, but I am a big fan of Peyton Manning.

And he’s at the center of the storyline that does interest me.

Peyton is going to go down as one of the top two quarterbacks of his generation, a sure Hall of Famer. The only blemish on his otherwise sterling record is his lack of success in the postseason. Those who like to tear down his amazing career accomplishments love to trot out that, including two wins this year, he’s now just 11-11 in the playoffs.

Never mind he’s not the only reason for those wins and lossess. Never mind the playoffs are a different animal than the regular season and some teams are built for one, but not the other. And never mind the fact he does own a Super Bowl title, which is more than you can say for Hall of Famers like Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton and Warren Moon, to name a few.

And it’s that one title that makes me want to see him win another one. The main reason? His brother, Eli.

Now Eli is a fine quarterback in his own right, and is deserving of the two Super Bowl championships he’s won with the New York Giants. He has a great knack for being really good when he needs to be, while at the same time being very pedestrian when the stakes aren’t so high.

And that just gives Peyton-haters another bit of ammunition. They love to say he can’t be one of the elite quarterbacks if he doesn’t even have as many Super Bowl titles as his brother, who’s definitely down a few rungs on the all-time quarterback ladder. Never mind the fact the Giants’ defenses were more the reason for those two wins, because haters don’t want to listen to reason.

So for me, the best outcome for today’s game would be to see a Denver win in the Super Bowl and a 2-all tie in the Sibling Bowl.

Tony Hawley forecasts: BRONCOS 24, SEAHAWKS 23

Tom Racker's Prediction

When the season started, I had the Cincinnati Bengals playing today as the AFC’s representative in the Super Bowl.

Nope.

Two weeks ago, I had the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers winning their respective conference title games to advance to today’s game.

Nope squared.

Good prognosticating for the postseason?

Another big fat nope.

So my confidence level in picking today’s game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks isn’t all that high. But here we go.

I figure the battle between the Denver offense and the Seattle defense will be a wash. Peyton Manning and company will put up some points, just not as many as usual as the Seahawks come up with a turnover or two. Manning should throw for a couple of touchdowns and the Broncos will get another on the ground from either Knowshon Moreno or Montee Ball.

The game will be decided in the matchup between the Seattle offense and Denver defense.

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch figures to be in full beast mode and that’s good for around 100 yards and a touchdown. It will be what Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson can do, not only with his arm, but with his legs. His ability to elude the pass rush of the Broncos long enough to find an open receiver could be the difference on a handful of plays that turn out to be pivotal. And some of those plays could come from Percy Harvin, who I think will have a big role in this game to justify his big off-season signing.

And after all that, I think the game is going to come down to a late field goal.

Hey, I’m due to get one right. If not, sorry Seahawks fans.

Tom Rackers prognosticates: SEATTLE 27, DENVER 24

Adam Stillman's Prediction

I’m usually horrible at prognosticating. Like just downright awful.

As a sportswriter, I’m often asked for predictions on different sporting events. Who’s going to win the Masters? Will Missouri make the NCAA Tournament? Will Jefferson City/Helias/Blair Oaks/other area school win tonight’s game?

I always find it enjoyable when I’m asked for a prediction. But then I always add the disclaimer that the person shouldn’t listen to me because I’m wrong more times than not.

And that’s what makes this scenario so unlikely.

Before the NFL season started, this was probably back in August, a few of us sportswriters and some other friends went around picking the teams we believed would win each division, selecting the wild-card teams and then choosing a Super Bowl winner.

I went with Seattle over Denver in the Super Bowl back then. Not that I went out on a limb with those picks — although my esteemed boss Tom Rackers didn’t even think Seattle was a playoff team — but I still find it remarkable those picks actually worked out for me.

So I’m sticking with it.

I still believe that’s how tonight’s game will shake out. Seattle’s defense is unreal, which presents a dream matchup with the incomparable Peyton Manning. Yet the Seahawks’ offense is pretty darn good, too. The Denver defense? Meh.

Advantage, Seahawks.

Plus Richard Sherman is a sportswriter’s dream. Sure, he’s a bit brash for my liking. But the dude can play. And he offers quotes exponentially more appealing than the typical trite remarks offered by professionals.

Adam Stillman envisions: SEATTLE 24, DENVER 21

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