SEAHAWKS VS. BRONCOS, 6:30 p.m.
Broncos by 2; O/U: 47 1/2
TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Super Bowls have a certain charm.
We hold up the NFL's annual crown jewel, inspect it carefully, check under the hood, kick the tires, talk about it ad nauseam for two weeks, and then -- poof! -- it's over in about four hours.
My Super Bowl memories go back 35 years, and I'm looking forward to the XLVIIIth edition in East Rutherford, N.J. more than any other: the top-ranked Denver offense vs. Seattle's No. 1 defense.
Some quick questions:
Can Seattle's Legion of Boom shut down all of Denver's offensive weapons? Will the guy nicknamed "Pot Roast," Terrance Knighton, and the Broncos' 'D' be able to stop Seattle's "Mr. Personality," RB Marshawn Lynch?
Will the Seahawks defense be able to pressure QB Peyton Manning with four- and five-man fronts?
While I struggled (to say the least) during the regular season with a 114-135-7 record against the spread (ATS), I finally turned things around in the postseason with a 7-2-1 mark ATS. Heck, back in early September I played it straight and predicted a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl with Denver as the winner.
Before wild-card weekend, Editor Joe asked me to make my picks through the Super Bowl. I scoffed, complained and whined . . . and then went 9-1 overall with the only hard knock being the Bengals' loss to the Chargers. However, I flip-flopped and took Seattle to beat Denver, 34-31.
So what do I do now: Flip a coin? Switch my pick, again? Have my 12-year-old son, C.J., make my pick? (At least, he, would have had a better regular season!)
Nope, nope, and nope. I decided to take a closer look. First, Seattle opened up right after winning the NFC Championship Game as a favorite -- in some spots as much as a 2- to 2 1/2-point favorite. The public money quickly came in strong on the Broncos, who became a favorite at the current number.
These have been two of the best teams to wager on the past few seasons. If the line holds, the Broncos will have been favored 30 straight games (Denver is 20-9 ATS in the previous 29). But Seattle has been a remarkable 34-16-1 ATS in its last 51 games overall.
I've watched the weather the last two weeks more than anytime in my life, but it seems like Mother Nature will take it easy on the NFL with game-time temps in the low-40s and light winds.
Final meaningless stat of the season: Underdogs have covered five of the last six, and nine of the last 12 Super Bowls.
As much as I respect Manning, I can't shake the feeling that Seattle's Legion of Boom will deliver the big punch here. Another disappointing ending this season for a Manning at MetLife Stadium.
The pick: Seahawks, 23-20