Saturday, February 6, 2016
SUPER BOWL 50 PREVIEW
The Carolina Panthers (15-1 in regular season) face the Denver Broncos (12-4) at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
The teams took different routes to the game as the Panthers drilled the Arizona Cardinals, 49-15 in the NFC Championship Game while the Broncos held on to defeat the New England Patriots, 20-18 for the AFC crown.
It may very well be Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning's last game in his storied NFL career as he has come back big time from nagging foot injuries that held him out of six games this season. Meanwhile, it has been a story book year for likely NFL MVP Cam Newton, the Panthers' star quarterback.
Newton had his best regular season in 2015 (in his fifth year in NFL) and has not been shy about letting the world know it with his "flamboyance" on the field. But hey, it ain't bragging if you can back it up.
Manning is in the twilight of his career and is 1-2 in past Super Bowls, two with Indianapolis and one with the Broncos when they were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks following the 2013 season.
The focus for Manning and the Broncos offense will be to maintain time consuming drives to keep Cam and company off the field. In addition, the tremendous Broncos league leading defense has to keep the Panthers explosive offense in check.
A key factor could be special teams as both teams have accurate kickers along with decent return men.
All in all, it looks to be a close match up (Vegas spreads have the game at Carolina ranging from -4 to -5 1/2 points) for Super Bowl 50 and it could come down to which team has the ball last.
If Carolina jumps out to a big start as they did against Seattle and Arizona in the post-season so far, it could be LONG afternoon for the Broncos.
Look for a close game however, as the Panthers prevail with Newton leading the way in the second half.
PREDICTION - Carolina 27, Denver 20