2014 Super Bowl predictions: Writers divided on Seahawks-Broncos winner

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Bright lights. Big city. It's almost time for Super Bowl XLVIII to make its mark on the New York/New Jersey area. (Yes, Jersey residents. We realize the game is in East Rutherford, which is in your state. Settle down.)

The time for celebrity interviews, pregame chatter and exhaustive analysis is just about over. Soon, the Super Bowl festivities will boil down to what really matters: Two teams on a field, vying for the richest prize in pro football.

CBSSports.com's team of NFL writers have submitted their final picks for the big game, predicting the final score along with the Super Bowl MVP. Check out their thoughts below, and feel free to add yours in the comments section.

2014 Super Bowl final predictions: Seahawks at Broncos
Writer Winner Score Super Bowl MVP
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Broncos 30, Seahawks 20 MVP: Peyton Manning

PRISCO'S TAKE: Manning has had two weeks to come up with ways to dissect the Seattle defense, a unit that can be confusing up front and simplistic in the back end. They don't play a lot of complicated looks, but rather play a lot of single-high safety. To me, that's asking for it against Manning.

As one defensive back told me last week, "If they stay in single-high, it's a wrap." That's how I see it too. Manning is too good not to change things up on a regular basis. And Seattle rarely does on the back end. They play Cover-1 and Cover-3. Not much else. I think Manning will have his chance to be patient and carve them up.

On the other side, Seattle will counter with the running of Marshawn Lynch, but I expect Denver to play eight-man fronts and make Russell Wilson beat them. In the end, I will take Peyton Manning over Russell Wilson.

JASON LA CANFORA
CBS Sports NFL Insider
Seahawks 27, Broncos 24 MVP: Percy Harvin

LA CANFORA'S TAKE: I'm rolling with the Seattle Seahawks here. I picked them to win it all in the summer and I see no reason to change that now. I like the defense to make Peyton Manning just uncomfortable enough, I like Golden Tate to make a few big plays against a suspect Denver defense, I like Percy Harvin to make something happen on special teams and on offense, and I like Marshawn Lynch to be a factor throughout.

I figure it takes 27 points to win this game, and I believe the Seahawks can get there, win the turnover battle and take home the first Lombardi in franchise history.

PAT KIRWAN
NFL Insider
Seahawks 24, Broncos 21 MVP: Marshawn Lynch

KIRWAN'S TAKE: Ten days ago, I was asked on CBSSports.com for the winner of the Super Bowl. I said the score would be 24-21 with Denver winning the game, much to the shock of my good friend Pete Prisco. Since then, I have watched all the tapes, spent time with both teams and talked to many people that played these clubs. I'm sticking with my score, 24-21, but I'm switching teams.

I believe Seattle will frustrate the Denver offense just enough to keep the game close for four quarters, and whether it's a critical turnover or a special play by Percy Harvin, Seattle wins. Weather should not be the factor, but it comes down to defense and the Marshawn Lynch run game. Peyton Manning will be brilliant in defeat but the Denver defense misses by a hair.

WILL BRINSON
NFL Writer
Broncos 31, Seahawks 21 MVP: Peyton Manning

BRINSON'S TAKE: Seattle's defense is impressive and I hate going against Russell Wilson, especially since he has a knack for proving people wrong with his performances in big games.

But Peyton Manning's had two weeks to prepare for this matchup and with Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker able to win one-on-one matchups and Manning able to deliver enough ducks their way, the Broncos pull this one out and secure Manning's legacy as an all-time great.

JOSH KATZOWITZ
NFL Writer
Broncos 24, Seahawks 14 MVP: Peyton Manning

KATZOWITZ'S TAKE: Yes, it's the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense in a matchup that most fans can only dream about, but I think the biggest factor in this game is that the Broncos defense will be the one to shut down the Seahawks offense. For most of the season, it's been a mediocre unit, but in the past five weeks, Denver's defense has become one of the team's strengths.

Say what you will about Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (and I think he's going to be very Peyton Manning-like), but Denver's front-seven with Terrance Knighton and Danny Trevathan will keep Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch at bay, and the secondary with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Champ Bailey will have the strength to continue Russell Wilson's slump. The Broncos might have the best offense in NFL history, but in this case, their defense will win them the championship.

RYAN WILSON
NFL Writer
Broncos 19, Seahawks 14 MVP: Matt Prater

WILSON'S TAKE: It all came down to the weather. Not so much the temperature -- despite "the narrative," Peyton Manning isn't much bothered by the cold -- but the wind. Because everybody has to adjust their game when dealing with 25 mph swirling winds. But highs will be in the mid-40s Sunday afternoon, dipping to 29 at night with winds expected to reach just 6 mph.

And given that Manning is currently playing some of the best football of his Hall of Fame career, coupled with relatively good weather conditions, it's hard to pick against the Broncos, even when they're facing the NFL's top-ranked defense. Because when Manning's on it doesn't matter who lines up on the other side of the ball. He will find the favorable matchups, exploit them and dare you to make an adjustment.

JOHN BREECH
NFL Writer
Seahawks 23, Broncos 16 MVP: Marshawn Lynch

BREECH'S TAKE: I generally hate cliches. I don't actually think an "apple a day keeps the doctor away," I've seen the late bird get the worm and I'm still not sure what a "penny-wise and a pound foolish" means. However, there is one cliche I love and it's "defense wins championships." If I'm forced to pick a winner between two impossibly good teams, I'm going to take the team that has arguably one of the top-10 defenses in NFL history.

Besides the Seahawks defense, I think this game hinges on Marshawn Lynch. If Lynch keeps the Seahawks offense on the field -- and therefore the Broncos offense off of it -- I see Seattle winning. My prediction: Lynch carries the ball 21 times for 115 yards and a touchdown and Beast Mode goes to the Skittles factory instead of Disney World after winning game MVP.

GREGG DOYEL
CBSSports.com National Columnist
Broncos 35, Seahawks 31 MVP: Peyton Manning

DOYEL'S TAKE: With highs near 50, little wind and no precipitation, the Super Bowl Sunday weather will cooperate -- which is great news for both teams. Oh, wait. Sorry. Great news for one team: Denver. The Broncos are built to win just one way, but that way is pretty damned effective: Score a ton of points, dare the other team to keep up.

The Seahawks' offense is good, and the Denver defense isn't great, but Seattle can't keep up with Denver's production. Blasphemy, you say, given the saltiness of the Seahawks' defense? I hear you. The Seahawks' defense is awfully good... but the Denver offense is historically good. And with the weather cooperating, I see Peyton Manning throwing for a ton of yards for a close, high-scoring victory -- say, 35-31 -- and his second Super Bowl MVP.

CBS Sports Staff

Denny Burkholder has been a writer, editor and producer for CBS Sports dating back to 1999. He has covered everything from the NFL to the UFC during his tenure, with a specialty in all things WWE and pro... Full Bio

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