The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will meet on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to determine the kings of the NFL world for the 2015 season. Super Bowl 50 will feature the top two teams in each conference and could be the last game for Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning.
As we know, the Super Bowl always generates plenty of fan interest. Often times, the contest gets overshadowed by all of the glitz leading into the event itself.
Some years, we do eventually get treated to a compelling and memorable football extravaganza. Will this be the case on February 7? Well, maybe for a while.
The Panthers are favored in this game after rolling to a 15-1 regular season record and taking out the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Playoffs. They feature the likely NFL MVP in Cam Newton, a potent offense and a defense that doesn’t get the recognition that it may deserve.
The Broncos were the top seed in the AFC and bring the league’s top-ranked defense into Santa Clara. They survived a QB change from Manning to Brock Osweiler back to Manning again. They finished 12-4 and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots in the AFC Playoffs.
Even though the Panthers ranked 11th in total offense, the led the league in points scored (500) and points per game (31.3). Defensively, Carolina ranked sixth in total defense, sixth in points allowed per game (19.3) and sixth in sacks (44).
Denver ranked 16th in total offense, 19th in points scored (355) and 19th in points per game (22.2). On defense, they were fourth in points allowed (296), fourth in points allowed per game (18.5) and first in sacks (52).
The stat that sticks out to me, is turnover differential. The Panthers led the NFL in that category (+20) while the Broncos were ranked 19th (-4). In fairness, Denver has taken care of the ball during the postseason.
I know a lot of you would like to see Manning ride off into retirement with a Super Bowl ring and all of the glory that goes with it. I don’t see that happening.
I think the game will be still in doubt heading into the fourth quarter. I don’t believe we’ll see a blowout.
In the end, turnovers and Cam Newton will be too much to overcome for the Broncos. Carolina’s championship mission will finally be completed.
The Panthers will win Super Bowl 50 by the score of 31-17.