Super Bowl Preview

The Super Bowl will kick off on Sunday February 7th, on CBS @ 6:30 PM.

Who you got? Broncos or Panthers?

Photoshopped by Jacob Geiser '16

Who you got? Broncos or Panthers?

The NFL season will be coming to a close on February 7th, the AFC champion Denver Broncos square off against the NFC champion Carolina Panthers. The Broncos got the Super Bowl by defeating Tom Brady and company, it was a close one but a win is a win at this point. The Panthers sent the Cardinals packing early winning 49-15. The Panthers spent most of the second half dabbing and show boating on the sidelines.

The early favorite for the Super Bowl has to be the Panthers. They have owned teams all year, minus the Falcons. Cam Newton had an MVP year and it will likely be his award when it is all said and done. Newton did it with his arm and his legs. He also did it with almost nothing. Kelvin Benjamin went down in the off season and everybody wrote off the Panthers. Well, they proved them wrong going 15-1 in the regular season. Greg Olsen had one of his best years ever, and no one really talked about it. The Panthers got a bad rap for the way they got there with the excessive amounts of showboating and “lack of sportsmanship” according to some people.

The Panthers, however, don’t care…

The Panthers play on the field, in a way, gives them the right to. Not many teams got the best of them, in fact it was only Atlanta and that game was a fluke. Guys like Newton, Olsen, Ginn Jr., Kuechly, and Norman carried the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

Head Coach Ron Rivera also had a great year, obviously. Rivera has made himself by and far, the clear cut, coach of the year.

Now enough about the Panthers, how about them Broncos?

Well, it was a bumpy road. The “GOAT” (Greatest of All-Time) as some would say, Peyton Manning had one of his weaker years in the NFL. People questioned his ability to compete at his age, which was shocking considering the past two years he was one of the best in the league. His productivity definitely took a hit. However, he is still Peyton Manning…

Once the “analysts” got done roasting Manning for his play, he got hurt and all hope the Broncos had seemed lost. Enter Brock Osweiler, who got the job done for the Broncos, wasn’t flashy, but the Broncos just needed the W. When the last game of the year rolled around, he played his way out of the starting role, and now re-enter Manning and we all know how that went.

The Broncos are the underdogs coming into this game, but you can never doubt Peyton Manning.

I’ll take a deeper look into both teams…

When Denver throws

Peyton Manning struggled in the beginning of the year under Gary Kubiak’s offensive system. Manning is not a pistol formation quarterback, which is what they started off as. Now they are back to a normal pro-style offense. Manning has great targets to throw to. Demaryius Thomas is the top receiver followed very closely by Emmanuel Sanders. Manning in his past few starts has also been looking at Owen Daniels, who has had a little bit of a rebirth in the Mile High City. Denver is not the same team that made it to Super Bowl 48. The Broncos relied heavily on the passing game, and for obvious reasons. It was the best in the league that year. Not the case this year, Denver is not the high scoring offense it used to be. If the Broncos want to be successful, Manning is going to have to get going in the air.

When Carolina throws

We all knew what Cam Newton can do with his legs, but he is just as good through the air. If not better this year…which is scary. Cam Newton had an MVP year without his top receiver, Benjamin. He did it with Greg Olsen, who led the team in receiving yards and had the best year of his career. Olsen looked like he did at The U, dominant. Along with Olsen, the next target is Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn Jr. brought his career back to life when he came to Carolina, which didn’t seem possible. Philly Brown is a guy who if not given attention, can hurt you. Cam Newton is going to have to deal with the ferocious Denver D, but if he played like he did all year, it won’t phase him.

When Denver runs

Nothing much happens, CJ Anderson was a bust and Ronnie Hilman ended up leading the team in rushing yards. The absence of a good run game has hurt the Denver offense tremendously. If the Broncos can slow down an already slow Denver offense, this game could be done early. For Denver to have any success, they will need to be balanced on offense and it will start with Ronnie Hillman, who had to fill the void Anderson created.

When Carolina runs

Jonathon Stewart leads the way for the Panthers on the ground and they follow him up with bruiser Mike Tolbert. Carolina relies on Newton to provide action both in the air and on the ground. I expect Newton to do it all for Carolina in the Super Bowl. However, Jonathon Stewart can have a break out game and no time would be greater than the Super Bowl. Stewart almost was a 1,000 yard rusher on the year, I think he can have a big game due to the fact that the D will have its eyes on Newton.

Click here for more information on the offensive leaders for both teams.

Matchup to Watch

This game is going to come down to one matchup. Denver’s D vs. Panthers Offense. The Carolina offense is shockingly explosive, and Cam Newton has to be the reason why. Cam’s play has elevated the whole team, especially the offense. This team was supposed to be dead in the water before week one, but Cam had other plans. Newton’s play brought the revival of Ted Ginn Jr, and Olsen’s best year. That alone helped the Panthers get to where they are now. Without Cam, they aren’t in the Super Bowl. His energetic play has helped the defense as well. The excitement, and overall energy Newton brought week in and week out helped give that ball hawking defense life. Props to Luke Kuechly, the dude is a freak. However, the offense will be facing one of the best defenses in the league.

Demarcus Ware, Von Miller, and Aquib Talib lead the Broncos on defense. They have shut down Tom Brady and many other great offenses. Can they replicate that against Cam Newton? For the Broncos to win, they are going to need one last heroic effort on defense. This is going to be the key to the game. If Denver can stop the high powered Panthers offense, this can be a really good game. If not, the Panthers will dab all over the Broncos and waltz to a Super Bowl victory.

My Prediction

I think Manning’s play will either hurt or help the Broncos. He can’t be the Manning we saw in the regular season. He is going to need to score, the Denver D can’t slow down Newton the whole game. Denver is going to need to score. Field Goals won’t win them this game. Overall, I think Cam Newton is on a roll and it will be too much for Manning and his Broncos. Carolina 35 Denver 13. But the question everyone will still be wondering…

Will this be Manning’s last game for real? We will have to wait and see.

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