They’re playing a game on Sunday whether the 49ers and their fans like it or not, and as someone whose job is to provide “hot takes” whenever possible it seems like I should put myself out there and make a prediction.

kap jagLet’s hang with the 49ers for a second, since that’s the team I cover and they came within inches of being in this game.

– For the front office, this has to be an extremely painful matchup. The team the 49ers despise more than any other, going up against the quarterback who spurned their advances for more money (and better receivers). Trent Baalke is a fairly emotional guy from what I hear, so hopefully he doesn’t break his television or his fist from punching a wall on Sunday evening.

– This next thought is getting perilously close to “get off my lawn” territory, but I’ve had enough of the 49ers’ stars using Super Bowl Week as a branding convention. Whether it’s Colin Kaepernick suddenly getting candid and ripping Richard Sherman or Vernon Davis saying strange things to radio hosts …

… oh, I don’t know. It’s great that Davis put Roger Goodell on the spot with a question at the commissioner’s press conference about health care coverage for retired players, but all the commercials, Jimmy Fallon appearances and promotional whatevers seem wrong after how the way their season ended. I understand that there are a lot of opportunities in New York. I understand that these guys have a small window in which to max out their off-the-field earnings. I understand that expecting them to go into hiding after losing a conference title game is unrealistic. However, it seems like this week should be about the Broncos and Seahawks, not the 49ers, Patriots or anyone else.

/Hikes pants up over belly button, makes 5:30 pm dinner reservation

Ahem. So about the Super Bowl, a game where the Broncos are anywhere from two-point to three-point favorites depending on where you look. That’s probably a statement on the two quarterbacks. People look at Peyton Manning vs. Russell Wilson, and put money on what they feel is the “safe” bet.

If I was a gambler (and I’m pretty much the biggest wuss when it comes to wagering of anyone I know), I’d plunk down all my available cash on Seattle. However, I’m not as sure of this now as I was back when people were saying there would be 20+ mph wind gusts … which would be yesterday.

At this point, the wind is supposed to be around 9 mph. That’s not enough to affect Manning, so he’s going to be able to move the ball. But Seattle’s defense is the best around (sorry, Niners) and Denver’s is not even close to that level (especially without Von Miller). The Broncos’ defense is paired up with an offense that scores a lot and often scored pretty quickly during the regular season, and that presents difficulties, but their defensive talent doesn’t compare with Seattle’s.

Mostly, I assumed whoever won the NFC Championship would end up winning the Super Bowl. I have no reason to change my opinion, other than bitterness over having to go to the “which players will the 49ers re-sign” well a couple weeks earlier than I planned.

The 12s are going to be awful for the rest of time once they finally get a championship, and I know most 49ers fans agree with Mr. Davis:

Anthony Davis Go Broncos

But I just don’t see it. R.I.P. Peyton Manning’s legacy (just kidding, but I figured I should add another “hot take” before ending this post).

Seahawks 24, Broncos 23

Amici’s Contest Winners Announced

As for the 10-person pizza parties courtesy of Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria we’re giving out on Sunday, the winners (at this point) are RayRayWes and wcfs65. But I haven’t heard back from either winner yet, so keep an eye on your email if you commented because I’m going to keep going down the list if they fail to respond. Thanks for all the great comments this week, and for supporting Amici’s and BASG.