NFL Q&A with Allen and The Ace is a weekly column featured on TJRsports.com. Allen and The Ace are big time NFL junkies and are Falcon and Packer fans, respectively. Each week the guys will ask questions and discuss the previous week’s games along with picking the Top 5 Games of the Week!

You can follow Allen on Twitter @Allen_Strk and The Ace @TheAce18

Ace: We posted our NFL Preview Article 22 Weeks ago and 22 Weeks ago we both had one similarity with our picks: The Denver Broncos were our #1 Seed in the AFC. I correctly predicted the Broncos and Seahawks in this game back in August (let’s be honest, a LOT of people made this prediction but, give credit where credit is due). As the season has went on I was unsure of the Denver Broncos but what I saw out of that team in the AFC Championship game is that they have the right guys to win this game. Seattle is a young team with no previous Super Bowl experience, will that hurt them or will that benefit them?

Allen: I haven’t been this excited for a Super Bowl since Pittsburgh played Green Bay. That game was truly based off of great quarterback play and stellar defenses. While there is only one stellar defense on display, Denver’s defense is highly under appreciated. It has been a foregone conclusion that these two teams are truly the best in the league. We have a true showdown on our hands, which hasn’t been the case for the past few years.

Super Bowl XLVIII

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

Ace: I’m going to talk about why each team will win and why each team won’t. Here goes:

Why the Denver Broncos will win Super Bowl XLVIII: This team was built to go to the Super Bowl. When Peyton Manning signed on with the Broncos before last season this was the ultimate goal and being embarrassed at home by the Ravens in the playoffs last season added to the drive of getting to this game. They added several other pieces like Wes Welker and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the team that fell short last season. This is the highest scoring team in NFL History, averaging almost 38 points per game. A lot of people are saying that this team isn’t built for cold weather (The projected forecast for Sunday is Mostly Cloudy with a high of 36-40 degrees) but in the three games the Broncos played this season when the game time temperature was in that range the Broncos were 1-2 (losses to New England and San Diego) but averaged 34 points in those games. The Denver Broncos will win Super Bowl XLVIII because the Seahawks won’t be able to outscore the Broncos.

Why the Denver Broncos will not win Super Bowl XLVIII: This team was exposed at home against the San Diego Chargers earlier this season when Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Mathews. Let that sink in. The guy at running back for the Seahawks is 10 times the player that Mathews is and Marshawn Lynch will have the greatest running game ever in Super Bowl History (204 yards rushing by Timmy Smith in Super Bowl XXII). If the Broncos can’t stop Lynch, Beast Mode will collect the Super Bowl Trophy and win the game MVP.

Why the Seattle Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLVIII: Not only do the Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL, but they are by far the healthiest team between the two. They have 5 guys that won’t be playing in this game. 3 of them haven’t played a snap all season, another (RB Spencer Ware) played in 2 games and WR Sidney Rice played in 8. They also have too many variables. Russell Wilson can throw the ball and run with it pretty well too. Marshawn Lynch can explode and take the ball to the house and they’ll have a healthy Percy Harvin who has played in two games this season. He could pick the biggest stage of them all to hold his Seahawk coming out party. That’s just the offense. Richard Sherman will shut down Demaryius Thomas and the defense will shut down the Broncos high potent offense. The Seahawks are a team that could start a dynasty and it all starts with a win over the great Peyton Manning. The game will also be contested in conditions that the Seahawks are familiar with: Chilly and overcast.

Why the Seattle Seahawks will not win Super Bowl XLVIII: The biggest reason the Seahawks will not win this game is that they haven’t faced a team this season with as many weapons as the Denver Broncos have. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball are just the key guys on offense but there are so many solid supporting players as well. Oh yeah, they’re facing one of the most precise quarterbacks who might go down as the best in NFL history in Peyton Manning. The Seahawks are inexperienced and are very cocky. They’ve been talking all season long about how they’re the best team when, they have played lights out football all season and the Broncos have as well, but the Broncos haven’t haven’t had the same cockiness as the Seahawks have expelled, and I call what the Broncos have is confidence.

The Ace’s Super Bowl XLVIII Prediction: In the preview article I predicted that the Seahawks would beat the Broncos 27-23. I’m very torn with my prediction. My heart is with Peyton Manning because I love his game and I really would like to see him get another ring. With that being said, I do think the Seahawks will prevail by playing great defense and Marshawn Lynch having a big game. I don’t know if it will be a record setting day but I expect 150 yards and 2 TD’s from Lynch in route to an MVP win. The only thing that will prevent Marshawn Lynch from winning the MVP is if Richard Sherman has a late pick six or multiple interceptions.

Final Score: Seattle Seahawks 27, Denver Broncos 23 (MVP: Marshawn Lynch)

Allen: Thoughts are below.

Why the Denver Broncos will win Super Bowl XLVIII: Denver should win, as long as they can protect Peyton Manning and don’t allow Marshawn Lynch to have a field day. Those are two tall orders for a team that hasn’t been tested very often. That’s one major concern I have for Denver is the lack of top competition they faced this year. There were only a few times that they were truly tested by teams who can run the ball and rush the passer. That’s what makes this matchup even more intriguing.

If they can force third and longs, then their defense is in prime position to get off the field to let their superstar quarterback go to work. Third down defense could very well be the difference maker against such a dangerous offense in Seattle. While the stats may not say it, Seattle’s offense is very explosive and has playmakers that have quietly had solid seasons such as Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. 

Why the Denver Broncos won’t win Super Bowl XLVIII:  If Seattle’s pass rush is harassing Peyton Manning all game long, I can’t see Denver recovering. Manning tends to struggle against teams that know how to pressure without blitzing. If Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril can force him to make quicker decisions, that will play right into the hands of the “Legion Of Boom”. Denver’s offensive line struggled significantly against Indianapolis. Seattle’s front four is far superior to their front four.

Obviously Marshawn Lynch is what all defense game plan for. The last thing you want is for him to break loose for long gains early on. Then that will set up play action for Russell Wilson to pick apart a vulnerable Broncos secondary. It all starts with stopping the run, which is something Denver needs to make a necessity of. They can’t afford to go down by double-digits, otherwise they’ll continue to pound the ball with Lynch and eventually Denver will crack. Not even one of the defenses in the NFL in San Francisco could contain Lynch for four quarters.

Why the Seattle Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLVIII: I’ve mentioned it above how their pass rush could be the ultimate difference maker. They also need to be alert of pick plays and different designs. We all know how creative Denver can be, which a variety of screens and crossing pattern routes. Seattle’s elite secondary needs to be wary of what Denver will do to free the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. I’m expecting them to make Eric Decker the “sacrificial lamb” and leave him against Richard Sherman. It has to be one of their main objectives to not allow Thomas to get behind their secondary. His speed and athleticism have proven to be a scary combination for a receiver of his size.

Russell Wilson needs to protect the ball, which has been an issue in recent weeks. He can’t be careless while running away from the pressure. His tendency of running back five yards after seeing pressure is unacceptable. You can’t take a sack that deep or be forced into an unintentional grounding. Wilson needs to be as efficient as possible, so they can keep Denver’s offense off the field as much as possible. He can’t fumble at his own 30-yard line and give Manning great field position. If they can win the turnover battle, it should be their game to lose.

Why the Seattle Seahawks will not win Super Bowl XLVIII: If Wilson becomes sloppy once again and gives Denver good field position; they won’t be able to withstand Denver’s high-powered offense. As good as Seattle’s defense is, it’s hard to stop a team from scoring when they are only 30 yards away. Wilson can’t be careless while scrambling, especially against an opportunistic defense like Denver. They won’t win if none of their receivers step up as well. Doug Baldwin has been their unsung hero, but I’m sure he has their attention now. He won’t be able to sneak up on defenses anymore.

If they don’t give Byron Maxwell support covering Thomas, then they are playing with fire. Maxwell has played outstanding, since replacing Brandon Browner. He’s proven to be a ball hawk and always seems to be around the ball. That being said, Thomas is still a freak of nature and now commands double coverage. Seattle needs Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor to provide help over the top at all times. That’s how they can at least contain Thomas. Their best bet is to let Welker and Decker beat them. With Sherman holding down one side of the field, they need to provide all the support they can get for Maxwell. You know Denver is going to make sure to put Thomas in the best matchups on the field for him to exploit.

Allen’s Super Bowl XLVIII prediction: I’ve always been a believer in defenses win championships. That will be the case here again. I’m not confident in Denver’s offensive line protecting Peyton Manning long enough for him to have an efficient game. Seattle’s pass rush will force a few turnovers, along with Russell Wilson bouncing back from a shaky post season. It may come down to a few plays, but Seattle is the more complete team. The Percy Harvin x-factor will come into play as well and burn Denver at least one occasion.

Final Score: Seattle Seahawks 26, Denver Broncos 23 (MVP: Earl Thomas)

Ace: Allen will win our ‘Elite Football Mind Challenge’ by beating me by two games. That’s it. No more predictions from us again until August but this has been a fun season from on the field action, but I know both of us were pretty disappointed with our favorite teams on the field. We’ll be back next week to wrap up the NFL Season before we take some time off. The current plan is to make a monthly appearance to talk about the biggest stories of the NFL offseason. I’ll be doing three NFL Mock Drafts in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft in May. Be sure to check out last night’s Macho Men Radio as C-Mac gives his prediction. I’ll try to keep the same prediction on the show as I made above. To everyone out there that’s going to or hosting a Super Bowl party, make sure you have a sick day you can use on Monday. To everyone else, enjoy the game!

Allen: I hope you all enjoy in what should be one of the best Super Bowls of all time. I’m fully expecting this to live up to the hype based on how talented both teams are. It has been a roller coaster season that wasn’t very memorable from a Falcons’ fan perspective. This sport is too incredible for me to get to too upset, if my team disappoints. Eventually you move on and enjoy the true top teams compete against one another. That’s what I hope you all did, if you aren’t true Denver or Seattle fans. There is my counter argument to those who aren’t excited for the Super Bowl. You know there has to be a few out there right? Anyway enjoy Sunday folks, will be back next week.

You can follow Allen on Twitter @Allen_Strk and The Ace @TheAce18

You can hear The Ace on Macho Men Radio with C-Mac every Tuesday night on BlogTalkRadio at blogtalkradio.com/machomenradio