The last time the NFL’s top seeds from each conference reached the Super Bowl was after the 2009 season, when Peyton Manning‘s Colts lost 31-17 to the New Orleans Saints in Miami. It’s safe to say the weather conditions aren’t going to be quite the same for Manning’s return to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 outside of New York City as his Denver Broncos, No. 1 in the AFC, face the Seattle Seahawks, best in the NFC.
Denver opened as a 1.5-point favorite at Bovada, and there will be live betting available. The total points scored has opened at 48 for the league’s first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl. The forecast is a high of 37 and low of 25 (it will be at the low with the evening kickoff) and a possibility of rain and snow showers. That type of weather would seem to favor Seattle, the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense this season.
History bodes well for the Seahawks to win their first Super Bowl, as the No. 1 defense has topped the No. 1 offense in three of the previous four matchups. The last one was the epic 1991 Super Bowl in Tampa, where Buffalo’s Scott Norwood missed the potential winning field goal as the New York Giants upset the Bills 20-19.
Manning led the NFL in passing yardage and touchdowns this season, and that’s not a good thing in Super Bowl history, either. The last three quarterbacks to do so lost in the Super Bowl: Dan Marino, Kurt Warner and Tom Brady.
The early betting action for the Super Bowl is heavy on Denver. The Broncos opened as favorites in every game this season except when they played at New England, where they closed as one-point underdogs. Denver was -5 for the rematch with the Patriots on Sunday. It was the fifth straight Denver game in which the total stayed under. This past Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, Seattle closed as a four-point favorite and won 23-17 over San Francisco. That was the seventh straight Seahawks game that finished under the total.
The major injury to monitor for the game is to Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin, Seattle’s big offseason acquisition from the Vikings. He barely played during the season because of hip surgery and missed the NFC title game with a concussion. Harvin is expected to play in the Super Bowl. Seattle’s Russell Wilson could use his big-play guy, as Wilson hasn’t thrown for more than 215 yards or one touchdown in the past six games. Wilson is just the sixth quarterback who will start a Super Bowl in his first or second season.
For what it’s worth (which isn’t much), Denver lost 40-10 at Seattle in the preseason. They haven’t met in the regular season since 2010, when Manning was with the Colts.