Super Bowl 50: Thoughts and Predictions
DENVER BRONCOS vs.
On Sunday, February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Sradium in Santa Clara, California, the Denver Broncos will represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50 against the NFC’s Carolina Panthers. It will be a battle between two teams will many similarities and, one big difference. Both the Panthers and Broncos have outstanding defenses that can change the course of a game. Both have tremendous role players capable of making one play to swing the tide in their team’s favor. Both have receivers that can gain huge chunks of yardage to keep their offenses moving. Both also have coaches that immediately replaced John Fox. And both have a great quarterback that is able to win a game for their team. But the difference between the teams is also their quarterback position. While both have a good quarterback, the Broncos signal caller is nearing the end of his career and is not the QB he once was. The Panthers QB however is young, hungry, and changing the way the position is played.
The Denver Broncos finished the season as the top seed in the AFC, largely in part because of their defense. Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe and the rest of the defensive front has controlled the line of scrimmage and dominated against the run all season long. In the defensive backfield, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr., and the rest of the Broncos defensive backs have made it hard on opposing quarterbacks to throw on their defense.
On offense, the Broncos started the 2015 season with Peyton Manning starting a quarterback. But after a very bad start and a few injuries, Manning was benched in favor a Brock Osweiler. Osweiler did enough to keep the Broncos in the running to get the AFC’s top spot and Manning returned just before the postseason. The Broncos offense is rounded off by the running back duo of Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson and the tandem of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders leading the receiving corps. TE Owen Daniels is also a threat in the receiving game as evidenced by his two touchdowns against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
But the focus of the Denver Broncos is of course Manning. In what many believe may be his last game, the pressure will be on Manning to do just what he needs to do to not lose the game. Peyton used to be looked upon to lead his team to victory. Now, with a great defense, reliable running game, and receivers that can make plays, Manning just needs to not make the big mistakes. Because if he does, the Panthers defense is sure to make him pay.
The Carolina Panthers defense helped lead the team to a third straight NFC South title and the top seed in the NFC. Led by Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, and Josh Norman, the Panthers defense did their part in securing the team’s spot in Super Bowl 50 by dominating the Seahawks and Cardinals enough to win in the postseason.
When the defense was on the sidelines, QB Cam Newton led the Panthers offense down the field and took care of their opponents. Newton’s passing and running led the team to a 15-1 record and surprised just about everyone. With top receiver Kelvin Benjamin lost for the year in the preseason, many didn’t believe the Panthers would be in this spot. But TE Greg Olsen became a workhorse on offense and was one of the best tight ends in the NFL this season. Receiver Ted Ginn, Jr., who had really became a journeyman, looked like a serious threat this year with Newton giving him the opportunity. And along with Newton’s running game, RB Jonathan Stewart and FB Mike Tolbert helped to make Carolina’s offense complete.
And now the Panthers and Broncos square off in a week for the right to be named Super Bowl 50 champions. Many are afraid of this game turning into the same game that happened two years ago when the Broncos were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks. And while it is very possible because of the Carolina defense, I do not think that will happen again. I just do not see Manning letting this happen again.
I do believe this will be Manning’s last ride. It should be. He is not the same quarterback that he once was. The sure-fire Hall of Famer wants to go out on top without a doubt. He wants to erase the doubts that he can’t win the big one. Sure, he already won one. But he lost two. And won of the very badly. But I do believe that he wants this game and will do what he has to win. And if that means managing the game and letting the defense make the plays, I believe he will do just that. The Panthers could easily win the game, and I do think it will be very, very close. It could come down to just a field goal or a crucial turnover. But I am picking the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl 50 and Peyton Manning will ride off a champion one last time.
Daryl Karpinski, Jr.