Super Bowl XLVII is scheduled to kick off on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans.
If Peter King of Sports Illustrated is correct, the Broncos will be there playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
In this week’s magazine, King predicts Denver to win the AFC Title and face Green Bay in the Super Bowl, with the Packers edging the Broncos by a field goal in the championship game, 33-30.
“Fifteen years ago John Elway won a 31-24 shootout with Brett Favre in the Super Bowl,” King wrote. “This time Elway will be watching from a Superdome box, not helicoptering over tacklers in San Diego.”
On their way to New Orleans, the Broncos are predicted to defeat Baltimore 27-25 in the Wild Card Round, then the Texans 23-20 in the Divisional Round before topping the Patriots 19-17 in the AFC Championship Game. All three hypothetical playoff matchups would be rematches from Denver’s regular-season schedule.
The magazine has the Broncos finishing tied atop the AFC West at 10-6 with Kansas City, but King gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker.
“I think John Elway’s best non-Manning acquisitions will turn out to be tight ends Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme,” King wrote. “They’re not Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but they’ll suffice, offering the kind of security that Dallas Clark gave Manning for so many years in Indy.”
In the Broncos’ team scouting report, wide receiver Eric Decker is highlighted as a player to watch in 2012.
“He is deceptively fast, and he runs the precise routes that Manning favors,” the magazine says of Decker. “The two already have built a good rapport, and it’s easy to envision Decker doubling his numbers from a year ago.”
Sports Illustrated also predicts a pair of individual end-of-year awards for quarterback Peyton Manning – NFL MVP and Comeback Player of the Year.
“If Denver wins the AFC West, there won’t be another candidate,” King writes about his Comeback Player of the Year choice. “Even if not, he’ll be hard to beat.”
Manning, who already owns a NFL-best four MVP awards, would increase that record while picking up his first Comeback Player of the Year honor. He would become the third Bronco to earn league Most Valuable Player accolades, joining Ring-of-Fame running back Terrell Davis, who won the award in 1998 and the man who helped recruit him to Denver this offseason as a free agent – John Elway, who earned the honor in 1987.
“Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated,” King says of his MVP prediction. “You’ll see when he leads the Broncos deep into January.”