SUPER BOWL XLVIII on SUNDAY
BRONCOS (15-3) vs. SEAHAWKS (15-3)
Line: DEN by 2
Cote’s pick: DEN 24-20
TV: 6:25 p.m. EST Sunday, Fox
This is only the fifth Super Bowl of 48 that pits the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense in bottom-line terms of points scored and allowed – and only the second ever that is 1 vs. 1 based on yards gained and allowed. A very small sample size? Undeniably. But it is nonetheless worth noting that in those previous instances the teams that were No. 1 on the defensive side have been 4-1 on Super Sunday. That’s in case you don’t give Seattle much of a shot here (you should). Or in case you like Denver easily (you shouldn’t). So history props up the chances of Richard Sherman’s Seahawks defense prevailing. Here’s how great Seattle’s D is. Sherman might not even be the best player in his own backfield; Earl Thomas might be. Then again, there has never – ever – been an offense that scores more than Peyton Manning’s record-setting Broncos. Seattle has never had more to defend, all at once. The game could swing on which team handles the elements better. Peyton famously is only 4-7 when the kickoff temp is below 40, which it surely is likely to be Sunday evening in the Jersey swamp. All of this makes Seattle a trendy (and tempting) upset pick. But the real question is simply this: How much do you trust Peyton Manning? How much do you believe in him? Him against maybe the best defense he has ever faced. Him against the bitter cold. Him against the pressure of the stage and all the “legacy” talk. And the answer is, I trust him. Forgot to last week but I’m a fast learner. It is Peyton’s time. His year. His season. His Sunday.