To better visualize the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII we look to Winston Churchill, who once said, “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” In the case of Super Bowls past, we can look back as far as 1967.Coupled with the power of our way-back machine – aka the PLAYBOOK database – let’s break down what appears to be a very evenly matched Super Bowl game between Denver and Seattle. Here is our list of checks and balances for SB XLVIII. Even Steven – Not only is SB XLVIII the first Super Bowl in 20 years to pair No. 1 seeds from each conference, both teams bring identical 15-3 records into the fray.
Looking deeper, each team squared off against five common opponents (both faced the AFC South) this season, both going 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS in those games with Denver going 5-0 ITS (In The Stats) for a net of
+748 yards. Seattle was 4-1 ITS for net of +428 yards. In games versus fellow playoff teams this season, the Broncos went 6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS, 7-2 ITS for a net of +621 yards. The Seahawks were 4-2 SUATS and 3-2-1 ITS, for a net of +244 yards.
Head-To-Head – The Broncos are 16-5 SU and 12-8-1 ATS in games versus the Seahawks since 1993. Denver has won the last 10 games in a row in this series in games in which they’ve owned a win percentage of .800 or greater. Seattle is 1-19 SU in its last twenty games versus AFC West opponents who sport a win percentage of .800 or greater.
Statistically Speaking – Seattle’s defense is ranked No.1 overall, surrendering 284 YPG while allowing a league low 15 PPG. Denver’s offense is ranked No. 1 overall, gaining 454 YPG, scoring a league best
36 PPG. This marks the fifth time in Super Bowl history that a team with the No.1 defense has faced the team with the No. 1 offense. Defense has won over offense in three of the four previous meetings. In addition, teams with the better defense have won 39 of the previous 47 Super Bowls. However, teams with the better defense are just 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS the last seven Super Bowls.
Logistically Speaking – Teams arriving to the Super Bowl off three consecutive home games (Seattle) are 2-6 SU and 1-7 ATS since 2000, including 0-5 SUATS off a win of 6 or less points Super Bowl teams off four consecutive home games (Seattle) are 0-3 SU and ATS since 2000, losing all three times SU as a favorite. The Seahawks’ last game away from Seattle was 34 days ago (December 15). Super bowl favorites of 5 or less points in ‘double rest’ affairs – a week of rest before their first playoff game and week of rest before the Super Bowl – are 1-7 SUATS (Broncos).
Behind Center – To no one’s surprise, both quarterbacks bring terrific QB Ratings in to the contest. Denver’s Peyton Manning finished the regular season as the league’s top-ranked signal caller at 115.1 on 55
TDs and 10 INTs. Seattle’s Russell Wilson owned a 101.2 QB Rating, with 26 TDs and 9 INTs. The postseason’s QB Ratings show Manning at 107.0, while Wilson’s numbers have further regressed during the playoffs down to 89.1. Manning is 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS in his career versus Seattle, including 2-0 ATS as a favorite. He is also 28-7 SU and 22-12-1 ATS with the Broncos, including 8-0 ATS as a favorite of 6 or less points. After winning SB XLI with the Colts in 2007, Manning has completed 248 of 366 passes for 18 TDs and 7 INTS in a total of nine postseason efforts since Wilson is 27-9 SU and 25-11 ATS as a starting QB with the Seahawks,
including 5-4 SU and 8-1 ATS as a dog. He has tossed for less than 200 yards in over half of his starts, 19 to be exact, including nine this season (including each of his last six games). FYI: the Manning-led Broncos are 12-2 SU and 10-4 ATS in games where they hold opponents to 200 or less passing yards.
On The Sidelines – Denver’s John Fox brings an 8-5 SUATS NFL postseason career mark into this game, dropping a 32-29 decision as a 7-point dog to New England in SB XXVII. Fox is just 11-22 SU and 12-
20-1 ATS in his NFL career in games versus .769 or greater opposition. Seattle’s Pete Carroll is 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS in his NFL playoff career. The good news is Carroll is 36-24-4 ATS as a dog in the NFL. The bad news is he is 1-5 SUATS as a dog of 2 or less points, and 0-11 SU as a dog in games in which his team owns a win percentage of .647 or higher.
Super Bowl History
• The NFC has controlled the last 32 Super Bowls, going 21-11 SU and 20-10-3 ATS, including 4-1 SUATS the last five years. The AFC, though, actually holds the upper hand of late, going 10-6 SU the last 16 years.
• The last NFC No. 1 seed (Seahawks), other than New Orleans in 2009, to win a Super Bowl was St. Louis in 2000.
• Teams who lost SU as a favorite in the playoffs the previous season (Broncos) are 4-9 SUATS the next year in the Super Bowl since 1982, including 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS as a favorite.
• Favorites of 3 or less points (Broncos) are 7-4 SU and ATS, and 5-6 UNDER.
• 17 of the last 20 quarterbacks have owned a QB Rating of 92.6 or better.
• Teams who lost SU as a playoff favorite last year (Broncos) are 4-10 SU and ATS, including 0-6 ATS as favorites.
• Favorites who allow 3.9 or more Yards Per Rush (Broncos) are 3-7 SU and 2-8 ATS.
• Teams who won their last two playoff games against foes that were off a playoff road win (Seahawks) are 4-8 SUATS, including 1-5 SUATS since 2000.
• Teams who score 20 or fewer points in the game are 6-30 SU and 9-33 ATS. Teams who score 21 or more points in the game are 40-12 SU and 36-14-2 ATS.
• The SU winner of a Super Bowl game is 39-6-2 ATS all-time.
The Bottom Line – Tallying up the scorecard we find Denver holding a… 2-0 edge. That’s it. The main advantage – and it’s a big one – is having league MVP QB Peyton Manning at the controls. The edge is
quantified when experience is added into the mix as he certainly passes the eyeball test over his sophomore counterpart, Russell Wilson. Granted, league MVP QB’s have struggled throughout the history of the Super Bowl (6-11 SU and 5-10-2 ATS in all games), but if Winston Churchill – after venturing into the past – could look into the future, he’d like what he sees in this sure-fire future Hall of Fame signal caller. And so do we.