History favors Richard Sherman and the Seattle defense, and I try never to argue with either history or Sherman.
It's right there in the NFL big-game chronology:
When great defenses face historically great offenses in the Super Bowl, the great defense usually prevails.
Then add in a possible nasty blast of North New Jersey wind and maybe some precipitation to make things slick and uncertain for Peyton Manning on Sunday at MetLife Stadium ...
And that's why I'm picking Seattle, a truly great defense, to upend the record-setting Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
I have contemporary reasons, too, but here are my historic case samples:
That Patriots team set the record for most points in a regular season, scoring 589 -- which was topped this season by Denver's now-record 606.
That's the history, all pointing to Seattle's defense controlling this game, presuming the Seahawks offense doesn't run aground itself.
This is not to disrespect Manning, who, of course, already has won one Super Bowl with the Colts and has been nearly perfect in his second season with Denver.
Maybe Manning will blow through the Seattle defense just as he did most of Denver's previous opponents this season.
But that's not at all how I see this game developing, not after I've watched Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Brandon Mebane and the rest of the Seattle defense hound the 49ers three times this season and hold all regular-season opponents to an NFL-low 231 points.
We've already seen Denver's scoring output narrow down in the playoffs, from the absurd 37.9-point regular-season average to an average of 25 in the two playoff victories.
I expect that number to dip again on Sunday, maybe down to the low 20s, thanks to a bunch of Seahawks sacks, pressures and maybe two or three turnovers.
Generally, I think it's easier to keep a powerful defense rolling into February than it is to guarantee that a supercharged offense stays on track that long.
Hmm, that might be the best explanation of all for Manning's strangely mediocre (11-11) record in the postseason.
But anyway, I think it'll only take 23 or 24 points from Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle offense to steal this game; if the Seattle defense keeps giving them great field position, that shouldn't be impossible.
Really, there was one stat that convinced me: Seattle gave up only 172 passing yards per game in the regular season, by far No. 1 in the league; the next-closest was New Orleans at 194.1.
And against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, we saw that Seattle can stuff the run game, too.
So if Seattle can run the ball on offense and knock Manning around on defense, I just don't see the Broncos getting good field position and moving the ball consistently; and if they can't do that, they won't win.
The Broncos haven't faced a defense anything like the Seahawks all season -- the closest was when Denver crushed the Giants in Week 2 at MetLife.
Hint: While the Giants put up decent defensive stats this season, that defense bears no resemblance to Seattle's "Legion of Boom".
Seattle's defense didn't exactly face a cavalcade of offensive wizardry, but it handled New Orleans -- a top 10 squad -- easily in two meetings.
Both games were in Seattle, a huge advantage, but the Saints and Drew Brees had zero answers for the Seahawks.
If Denver were facing a lesser defense, I'd give Manning every chance to win his second Super Bowl; but Seattle is a great defense, one of the best we've seen in years.
Yes, this matchup fits right into the historic model, and it fits the way I see this game, to a tee.
Prediction: Seattle 24, Denver 21.