Brian likes Broncos; Grant takes Seahawks

BRIAN: Broncos 35, Seahawks 23

Best case scenario for Seattle’s top-ranked defense: it keeps Peyton Manning and Denver to less than 30 points. It’s inconceivable that the highest-scoring team in NFL history records fewer than one touchdown per quarter. As stingy as Richard Sherman and the Seahawks’ D has been, it’s nothing Manning hasn’t seen before.

So, if the Broncos top out at, say, 28 points, can Seattle score into the 30s? Negative. Where is the offense going to come from?

Russell Wilson is a capable game manager who can run a little; although he was sacked 44 times in the regular season, third most in the league, and he’s been taken down for a playoff-high seven sacks.

Marshawn Lynch is a beast, and he’ll be the best running back on the field Sunday. But it will take more than Lynch to upstage the Broncos.

The Seahawks’ wide receivers are a model of mediocrity. Someone named Doug Baldwin is their second-best healthy wideout, with 50 receptions. I’ll believe Percy Harvin is a threat if, and when, he steps onto the New Jersey tundra.

The last six games, Seattle hasn’t topped 23 points. The Seahawks most prolific offensive displays this season were against Jacksonville in Week 3 (45-17) and Minnesota (41-20) in Week 11. Me, Tom Russo and nine GYFLers could score at least once against either of those teams — and Russo is pushing 70.

Manning earns his second Super Bowl ring going away. Too bad the Colts didn’t keep him around.

Speaking of Manning, there were plenty of No. 18 jerseys visible on TV the other night for the Indiana Pacers’ road game at the Denver Nuggets. New Palestine’s Matt Hayden got lots of love from the Pacers’ FoxSports Indiana broadcast crew of Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner. Hayden has been on TV frequently as an official member of the Pacers’ bench staff at home games, supplying drinks and towels to the players, among other duties. But this time, the camera zoomed in on Hayden sitting in the stands (taking in the game while visiting family in the Denver area) and Denari and Buckner mentioned what a great guy Hayden is, and all of the good work he does for the team.

Neat stuff. Reminded me of the previous incident of New Palestine making “national” news. Two years ago — Jan. 20, 2012 — Pacers mascot Boomer felined its way into Hancock County for a halftime dunking performance as the Dragons hosted Triton Central. Using one of those mini, one-person trampoline deals, Boomer soared into the air and followed through on a two-handed jam — and shattered the backboard. It made ESPN’s Sportscenter that night. The game was continued in the auxiliary gym, and Boomer and Pacers staff returned to New Palestine the following Monday to replace the backboard, at the Pacers’ expense.

Brian Harmon is the Daily Reporter sports editor. Contact him at (317) 477-3227 or at

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