Hello. I am not Jay Yarow, our senior NFL picks writer. He is out this week, so I am filling in at this most crucial hour.
I’m 7-2-1 against the spread during the playoffs. I also picked the Texans to win the Super Bowl before the year.
Make of that what you will.
Off we go.
The line comes from the Las Vegas Hilton (via Vegas Insider), and it is current as of Friday morning.
The Denver Broncos are 2.5-point favourites against the Seattle Seahawks (6:30 p.m. Sunday, FOX)
The Seahawks were a better team than the Broncos this year.
They have the best defence in the NFL by a significant margin. They can rush the passer, and have a big, physical secondary that can do things no other secondary can do. The Broncos have the league’s best offence, but haven’t faced a defence with the unique strengths of Seattle’s.
Denver’s defence has been average all year, and it’s without two significant players in Von Miller and Chris Harris. For whatever perceived terrible Seattle’s offence has had this year, it still finished the year as a top-10 unit, and it should have a far easier time putting up points against Denver than it did against New Orleans or San Francisco.
Seattle also played against an incredibly difficult schedule. They played San Francisco (3x), New Orleans (2x), Arizona (2x), Carolina, and Indianapolis.
Seattle is better.
They’re only 2.5-point underdogs in this game because of Peyton Manning.
Manning has reached such a level of athletic mastery that he no longer plays bad games.
We went through the game logs. He has played two below-average games in 35 starts as Broncos quarterback: a Week 11 overtime loss to the Patriots this year, and Week 2 loss to the Falcons in 2012. Every other performance has been some shade of good.
It feels like he’s a constant. It’s feels like he’s incapable of playing badly. He isn’t, of course, but would you really bet on that?
Picking a winner in this Super Bowl is a choice between faith in Peyton Manning and acceptance of Seattle’s objectively stronger résumé.
At the end of the day I think Seattle’s just better. I think they put up points playing against the worst defence they’ve faced in a month. I think Peyton moves the ball but Seattle keeps him out of the endzone.
The pick: Seahawks 31, Broncos 23 (Seattle covers)
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