MARK PURDY, columnist
Seahawks 24, Broncos 21.
Thinking back to when the good-defense Patriots were underdogs to the great-offense Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI -- and New England stymied Kurt Warner. Not quite the same thing this time, but close enough. (And of course, the Spygate thing was a factor in Patriots-Rams, but I never thought it mattered that much.) So I'm going with the Seahawks, with the idea that Marshawn Lynch will control the clock and that the Seattle defense will contain Peyton Manning. If the weather is cold enough and windy enough, the final result might not even be that close.
MARCUS THOMPSON II, columnist
Broncos 27, Seahawks 23.
My heart wants Marshawn Lynch to get a ring -- it's the Oakland (Tech) in me -- but I don't like the matchup for the Seahawks. Despite three fourth-quarter turnovers by the 49ers, Seattle still almost lost that game. At home. Denver's offense is notably superior to the 49ers'. More important, the way Peyton Manning attacks -- getting the ball out quickly, feasting on underneath routes, throwing receivers open -- is the way to attack Seattle. I've got Manning doing what Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick couldn't.
JERRY McDONALD, NFL writer
Broncos 27, Seahawks 17.
When playing at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks are the best team in football. At home, Seattle can weather an early deficit as it did against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game and have the confidence to come back and win. At MetLife Stadium, against Peyton Manning, it's a different story. With the weather cooperating, even Seattle's defensive backs will find negotiating an endless series of picks and screens to be difficult as the Broncos control the clock and the game. Seattle's limited offense will find the going tough against an underrated Denver defense.
STEVE CORKRAN, NFL writer
Broncos 31, Seahawks 20.
Conventional wisdom says take the team with the top-ranked defense (Seattle) over the team with the top-ranked offense (Denver). In this case, the difference comes down to experience. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been in this position before, as has Broncos coach John Fox. Meanwhile, none of the Seahawks players has played in a Super Bowl. The Broncos just might have the game in hand by the time the Seahawks settle in and realize that the Super Bowl is just another game. By then, it will be too late, and Manning will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at game's end once again.
CAM INMAN, NFL writer
Broncos 34, Seahawks 17.
Peyton Manning will deliver the signature game of his career. He'll chip away at Seattle's brash-and-smash defense, finding receivers underneath coverage and in the space where Colin Kaepernick ran the ball. Four TD passes and 300-plus yards get Manning his second ring. Seahawks hunches: Golden Tate will have a big return, Marshawn Lynch won't rush for 80 yards, Russell Wilson will elude a couple sacks but end up throwing a couple interceptions in catch-up mode. NFC West champs are making a habit of becoming Super Bowl runners-up (sorry 49ers fans, too soon?). The NFL gets what it wants: a New York-area Super Bowl won by a pass-happy QB.