The big game we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! The big game is Super Bowl 50. Sunday, February 7, the AFC Champion Denver Broncos square off against the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Santa Clara, California. This Super Bowl has some great storylines leading up to this game. Payton Manning is seeking his 2nd Super Bowl title, and is trying to go out on top. Cam Newton is seeking his 1st Super Bowl title, and is trying to add to his superstardom. Former players-turned-coaches Ron Rivera and Gary Kubiak are seeking their 1st championship as head coaches. And, Hall of Famer John Elway is seeking his 1st title as an executive as he is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers. Sunday, February 7. Kickoff: 6:30 P.M. TV: CBS
The Broncos finished with the best record in the AFC at 12-4. They had the #1 defense in the NFL during the regular season. All credit goes to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. And, they have the talent to limit Cam. They can pressure the quarterback get to the quarterback. In the AFC Championship Game, the Denver “D” had four sacks on Tom Brady alone. They have tremendous talent in Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib. Not only they have the possibility of creating a lot of turnovers, they can turn those turnovers into points. In the playoffs, the defense has caused a turnover or more in their wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. They will try to force Cam to beat them with his arm.
Payton Manning is not the quarterback he used to be, but he can still get the job done. In the AFC Championship Game, he threw two touchdown passes. They have talented wide receivers in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, who can go up and catch a TD pass. But, Andre Caldwell, Jordan Norwood and tight end Owen Daniels can also get open and catch TD pass. The Broncos also have a pretty good running back in C.J. Anderson, who can at any time break away from the secondary and run for huge yards.
The Panthers are having their best season in franchise history. They finished the regular season with the best record in the NFL at 15-1, and they have shown the league that they’re for real. The Panthers defense has been in the Top 5 all season long. This defense is tough, fast and very physical on opposing offense. The opposing team knows they’ve been in a football game when it’s over. This is Ron Rivera’s heavy influence from his days playing with the 1985 Chicago Bears that won Super Bowl XX, which they were historically one of the best defenses in the NFL. He was also the Bears defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith. The defense is led by Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Josh Norman; they can pressure and get to the quarterback as well as stop the run. Plus, they can turn turnovers into points. In the playoffs, Kuechly has returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Due to Manning’s inability to escape the pocket, the Panthers will dare the Broncos running game to beat them.
Cam Newton is the unanimous favorite for this year’s MVP. He put up some tremendous numbers despite not have superstar wide receivers. Although Ted Ginn, Jr. and Corey Brown had solid years, but the receiver who leads the team in receptions is tight end Greg Olsen. But, the Panthers have a great running game in Pro Bowl running back Jonathan Stewart. This Super Bowl could be a defensive battle between these two great teams.
Prediction: Panthers 28 Broncos 24
The Broncos have the defense to contain any offense. But, the Panthers have the offense that can make big plays and scores. That will be enough for the Panthers to win their 1st Super Bowl title in franchise history.