The Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The Super Bowl is scheduled to kickoff at 6:30 PM. ET.
The Panthers are the favorite coming into the Super Bowl. They’ve compiled the best record this season and they have the likely MVP candidate in Cam Newton. Their offense is extremely difficult to defend, because of Newton’s athleticism. Against the Cardinals, Newton not only threw for 335 yards and a touchdown, but he also rushed for 47 yards and scored two touchdowns. Simply put, Newton is the presumed MVP for a reason. Newton has shown that he’s just as likely to score a touchdown on the ground as he is through the air.
The Broncos indeed are the best team to represent the AFC in the title game. Against the Patriots, the Broncos swallowed up the Patriots’ running backs. Denver took away the run and forced New England to exclusively pass on virtually every position. The Patriots have in the past taken this approach and succeeded, however, what separates the Broncos from the Patriots’ other opponents is their depth at all three levels of the defense. The Broncos ability to matchup with Gronkowski in the AFC Championship game stands out as significant. With a few exceptions, the Broncos blanketed Gronkowski down the field and forced New England into an unsuccessful, short passing attack.
The Broncos’ offense struggled in the second half of the AFC Championship to score points. They were outscored in the second half by a score of 9-3 and had to hang on to a slim two point victory. While the Broncos defense is truly elite, if they play this defensive style against Carolina, they risk falling behind early and being unable to catch up. Denver does not play a style that will allow them to play form behind. Denver will need a low scoring, defensively dominant game to pull off the upset.
The Panthers are the favorite in this game and for good reason. The Panthers nearly ran the table this year and crushed many of the top teams. In the NFC Championship, they forced the Cardinals offensive juggernaut into seven turnovers. Now, what makes the Denver/Carolina matchup so intriguing is that Denver thrives as the underdog. It’s hard to bet against a team that continuously rises to the occasion as the underdog and the Broncos are that kind of team. If Denver is going to win, however, they’ll need a lot of breaks.
First, the Broncos will need to stop the Panthers running attack. Against the Patriots, Denver allowed only 44 yards on the ground. The Patriots leading rusher in that game was Tom Brady. The Broncos will take Tom Brady as a leading rusher, but Cam Newton as a leading rusher is a much bigger problem. Against the Cardinals, the Panthers rushed for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Broncos cannot win if the Panthers are able to control the tempo of the game by running the ball. The Broncos have a strong defensive line and solid linebackers up the middle, but containing a mobile quarterback with the skills of Newton is something else entirely. Newton might be the leading rusher for the Panthers in the Super Bowl, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Carolina.
The Broncos will also need their edge rushers to get to Newton. Against the Patriots, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Derek Wolfe constantly got to Brady with pressure and hits. Against Newton, the Broncos won’t have the same success. Brady is a stationary pocket passer. Newton can stand in the pocket and throw down field, but he can also adlib a play and find a receiver down field while on the run. This Houdini like ability to create something out of nothing is what separates Newton from the Peyton Manning’s and Tom Brady’s of the world. His ability to escape and extend drives will help to neutralize Denver’s pass rush, leading to big play through the air down field .
Perhaps the biggest narrative going into Super Bowl Sunday is the future of Peyton Manning. It’s easy to imagine Manning, the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer, winning his elusive second Super Bowl and riding off into immortality as a champion. Few, very few ever get the opportunity to go out on top, and it’s hard to imagine, after the season Manning’s endured, that he’d want to return. Come Sunday, Manning will certainly leave everything he has left on the field. Despite Manning’s statistical shortcomings, he’s still one of, if not the smartest quarterback in the game. Manning will need to overcome his limited physical ability and use his vast football I.Q. to will his team to victory.
Broncos Vs Panthers Super Bowl Betting Lines
This is a different Broncos team than the 2013 version that got blown out by the Seahawks. This Broncos team is led by their defense and keeps games close. The Broncos all season have been so good in these situations. But, the Panthers have more than destiny on their sides.
Carolina’s defense, while not without it’s own issues, has two of the best linebackers in the game in Luke Kueckly and Thomas Davis. Manning struggled when he faced pressure in the AFC Championship and the Panther’s are certainly going to bring pressure. The Broncos defense might hamper the Panthers’ offense at times, but it won’t do enough to derail Cam Newton on his way to a Carolina victory. Expect the Panthers’ to control this game from start to finish.
Play: Panthers -5.5 @ BetOnline.ag