Movie quote of the day:
“We got together like cocaine and waffles.”
Cal Naughton Jr., “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (2006)
Week 17 record: 11-5 (68.7 percent)
All-time record: 152-104 (59.4 percent)
Super Bowl 50
Carolina (15-1) vs. Denver (12-4)
Santa Clara, Calif.
Line: CAR -5.5
This Super Bowl has some great storylines that fit perfect for the fiftieth installment. Carolina is trying to claim its first Lombardi Trophy, and Cam Newton is trying to cap off a stellar season and could join elite company. Newton has a chance to be the first player ever to win a national championship, Super Bowl, Heisman trophy, NFL MVP, and Super Bowl MVP. On the other side, Peyton Manning is trying to win his second Super Bowl in what is most likely his last NFL game. Regardless of the outcome of the game, the sports media will have a great story to write about.
I think everyone knows it by now that Newton has put this Carolina team on his back thanks to his performance this season. It also doesn’t hurt that the Panthers’ defense is one of the best in the league. This Carolina team is physical and likes to run the ball effectively. The Panthers are going to have to establish the run early against Denver’s defense. If they can’t do that, it’ll be difficult for Newton to carry the team by throwing the ball because Denver has one of the best secondaries in the league. Denver’s pass rush will also be a problem if Carolina has to start throwing the ball because the Broncos have two elite edge rushers, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Carolina’s offensive line isn’t spectacular and has over performed all season. It will face its toughest test against Miller and Ware.
They key to this game is for Denver’s defense to contain Newton and Carolina’s offense. The Panthers are notorious for fast starts, and they come out sluggish in the second half. If the Broncos can hold Carolina to field goals in the first half, they’ll be in great shape to take control of the game in the second. Manning proved against New England that he still has the ability to make enough plays to win a championship. Denver’s offensive line is one of the worst in the league and Carolina’s defense ranks No. 6 in sacks. The Broncos’ offensive line will have to be at its best for them to win. Manning will have to attack Carolina’s secondary to get points on the scoreboard, which is nothing special outside of Josh Norman.
At the end of the day, I can’t see Denver’s offensive line protecting Manning long enough for him to make plays. Denver has relied too much on its defense and I don’t think it’ll work for the Super Bowl. Cam Newton has been on a roll all season and I don’t see how he could drop the ball for the most important game of the season. I expect the Broncos to make plays defensively and keep the team in the game, but I think Newton will be able to make more plays than Manning. Both of these teams are well coached and I’ll be shocked if it turns into a blowout. I like Carolina to get its first Lombardi Trophy in a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Panthers 21, Broncos 17
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