Super Bowl XLVIII predictions - Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos play Famous First Downs 0 Comments
This weekend's NFL Super Bowl XLVIII is looking to be a huge showdown between Peyton Manning's veteran Broncos and Russell Wilson's upstart Seahawks. The big talk is all about the cold weather, something we're all too familiar with up here with the Canadian Football League. Well I scraped the ice off my windshield this morning and drove over to my friend Paul's to predict the outcome with an epic game of Famous First Downs: The World's Smallest Football Game. We had a great time and decided we needed to play prediction games like these more often.
Given the importance of the prediction, we chose to play a double-length game, with each team getting a total of six possessions rather than the usual three. Paul chose to play as the Denver Broncos, while I claimed the Seattle Seahawks. He won the opening coin toss so the Broncos claimed the three offensive cards and received the kickoff to start the game.
Broncos vs Seahawks: First Quarter
Mimicking Peyton Manning's preference for a timing-based offense, Paul settled into a Full House formation, quickly gaining a couple of first downs and some valuable momentum with a handful of short passes. I was able to rally and block a couple of passes with a Quarter and Forty-Six, leaving us tied for momentum, but I failed to block his trick play on third down. He spent his two heard-earned momentum, giving him a total of 11 yards and a new first down. Wary of giving me too much more momentum, he switched over to an I-Form offence to play more of a running game. He got one more first down out of me, leaving him at first and goal, but my Seahawks were able to hold him there, forcing him to surrender the ball with just a field goal. So, as we swapped cards after the opening scoring drive, it was Broncos 3, Seahawks 0 but my Seahawks had established a small but important two-coin advantage in momentum.
I started off the Seahawks' first big scoring drive with the Pro Set formation, wanting to keep my options open. Paul read my short, 8-yard pass down the right side, however, and his Dime defense cut my gain to only 6. I ran the Pro Set again and, sure enough, he fell back into a Quarter play to shut down my passing options. My quick little running play up the middle netted me another 17 yards, an authoritative first down, and another precious momentum coin. But that was the last big play I'd see in a while. He read me perfectly, even blocking my attempt at a trick play so I couldn't spend momentum for the extra 5 yards. I spent 3 coins on repeated third down, to no avail, forcing me to attempt a field goal from just outside the magical 20-yard line. Not wanting to surrender my final coin of momentum, I opted for the coin flip instead and promptly lost that as well. So my offensive line left the field in disgrace, having squandered our first scoring drive and sapped our early momentum. Broncos 3, Seahawks 0 with the Broncos having a 2:1 momentum advantage.
Energized, Paul's Broncos came out guns blazing. Peyton Manning stepped back into the pocket, throwing long passes from the Shotgun formation. I'd block a couple, gain a couple momentum coins, and then one would slip through for a 17- or 18-yard gain. Because he stayed in the Shotgun formation, I couldn't land a sack on him. Midway through his drive, I spent three coins to get him to repeat a down, but it just wasn't enough to shake him. It wasn't long before he landed a long bomb down the left side, getting him into the end zone for a touchdown. It was the end of the first quarter and, thanks to Paul's shrewd play-calling, the Denver Broncos had absolutely dominated on both offense and defense: Broncos 10, Seahawks 0. Momentum had flowed like honey this last drive but I was still outmatched, 5:4.
Broncos vs Seahawks: Second Quarter
My Seahawks had the wind at our back for the second quarter, however, with two scoring drives to the Broncos' one. For the first drive, I played it safe, mostly sticking to the running game with the occasional short pass. Paul had enough momentum to buy a sack or a repeated down but he held onto it. I think he regretted it when I gained my second first down, however. As there was no more momentum left in the pool, he was forced to discard one, giving my first momentum advantage I had seen in a long time. I claimed that discarded momentum with another first down, and he suddenly realized he needed to use 'em or lose 'em. He blocked my next play and spent two coins to sack me, leaving me second and 15. I dug myself out of that hole and scored another first down but he did it again and I couldn't recover. I kicked the field goal from the 12-yard line and was happy just to finally get some points on the board. Broncos 10, Seahawks 3 but I had a sizeable 5-coin advantage in momentum.
The Broncos didn't have a chance on their next drive and Paul knew it. I let him run a couple of plays but, as soon as he was close to getting a first down, I spent all my hard-won momentum to buy an interception deep in his end. He groaned, I grinned, and we swapped cards. Broncos 10, Seahawks 3, and I was closer to the goal line than I had been all game. But I had spent all my momentum to get it, leaving Paul with a two-coin advantage.
I was inside the 10-yard line and it should have been easy but Paul read me like a book again, gaining another couple coins of momentum with some blocked passes. I finally connected with a receiver in the end zone on the third down but Paul spent his momentum and made me repeat it. So I tried a running play that should have got me across the line but he was able to push me back, leaving me with fourth and inches. I brought out the Short Yards team and finally punched it across the line for good. We ended the half in a dead heat: Broncos 10, Seahawks 10 and each of us with a single coin of momentum to call our own.
Super Bowl XLVIII Half-Time Show
Broncos vs Seahawks: Third Quarter
Paul attempted to break open the second half with another series of bombastic passing plays, pulling Peyton back into the Shotgun formation like he did at the end of the first quarter. This time my Seahawks defensive line was ready for him, however. He got one big first down but I was able to hold him there and I gained some momentum in the process. To be honest, I was hoping he'd keep it alive a little longer so I build up my momentum with a few more well-placed blocks. In the end, he went for a field goal from just outside the 30-yard line, paying his only two coins to put it through the uprights. Broncos 13, Seahawks 10 and my offence was able to take the field with 4 momentum coins to his 0.
Given my momentum advantage, I figured I could afford more of a passing game so I settled Wilson into an Ace formation, occasionally swapping over to the Pro Set when I felt a running play might be a viable option. He shut me down on a couple of plays and I spent a couple coins on a first down trick play to keep him on his toes, but it wasn't long before I was across the 20-yard line and confident I could match his field goal. That's when I pulled out the Shotgun card and started firing passes into the end zone. He blocked one but I scored on the second down, giving me my first lead of the game and the spark of hope that maybe I could actually win it all. Broncos 13, Seahawks 17 and I was apparently too excited to take note of how much momentum we each had.
The Broncos' veteran offensive line responded to my sudden lead with measured patience, going back and forth between the I Form and the Pro Set plays while I focused on containing them and preventing any big gains. I must have had a lot of momentum built up from the last drive because I was able to sack him once and bring back one particularly long gain with a repeated down. But he countered with a repeated down of his own as well as a trick play and, in the end, I just couldn't hold him. Paul got inside the 10-yard line and then put it into the end zone with a litre Full House button hook over the middle to reclaim the lead. Broncos 20, Seahawks 17, and he had 2 momentum to my 1.
Broncos vs Seahawks: Fourth Quarter
I took possession and attempted to wear him down with some running plays. I gained a bit on the first and second plays but, on the third, he managed to shut me down with a rare blocked run on the Forty-Six defensive card. Sensing blood, he spent his two coins on a sack, pushing me back 5 yards. Not prepared to gamble on a long fourth down when I had such poor field position, I was forced to punt it away. Broncos 20, Seahawks 17 and I held the game's only momentum coin.
The game was drawing to a close and Paul knew this was his last possession. The Broncos held the lead and could lock it down with a touchdown so it was up to me and the Seahawks defense to keep us in the game. He played a hurry-up offense, throwing down a different card with every play and forcing me to adapt. With the stakes so high and both of us so low on momentum, we spent it as soon as we got it, attempting to gain every little advantage we could. I forced him into a fourth down gamble at one point but he was able to get the two yards he needed to keep going. He finally ground to a halt with a fourth and long at the 27 yard line. I thought he'd gamble again but, given how my offensive line had floundered so far, I guess he decided he could hold me to a field goal and opted to avoid the tie rather than gamble on securing the win. He paid his final momentum coin to guarantee the field goal, content with the extra three points. Broncos: 23, Seahawks: 17, with all of our momentum fully spent.
So the Seattle Seahawks had the final possession of the game. I started off with some short passing plays using the Full House formation. Once Paul had blocked me a couple of times and earned a couple of momentum coins, I let my quarterback step into the Shotgun formation not so much for the big plays but to avoid the sack. It paid off, though, and I made couple of quick first downs with some well-placed passes. At the 12-yard line, I switched over to the Pro Set formation to give myself some options. He countered my short pass down the right side with a Dime defense, cutting my 8-yard gain to 6 but I spent two momentum to buy a trick play and get me to a first and goal on the 1-yard line. He responded by paying three of his own momentum to force a repeated down, however, and I reclaimed my two coins with a groan. I played the Pro Set again and, remembering my first few plays in the first quarter, I chose the innocent-looking 3-yard run up the middle. Sure enough, Paul had played his Quarter defense again in an attempt to shut down my passing options. My running back cut through the front line and leapt into the into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown!
Our Super Bowl 2014 prediction...Famous Games predicts that the underdog quarterback, Russell Wilson, will brave the cold and win a close, hard-fought Super Bowl XLVIII against his veteran counterpart, Peyton Manning. The dramatic final score: Denver Broncos: 23, Seattle Seahawks: 24.
Good luck to both teams and may everyone have a very Famous Super Bowl XLVIII!
Rob Bartel, founder
Famous Games Co.