Super Bowl 50 is set! NFC Champion Carolina Panthers will take on AFC Champion Denver Broncos for an epic showdown at Levi’s Stadium.
Flashback to the beginning of the season. Would you have ever thought this would be the matchup? Not many people did. In fact, none of the major experts predicted this matchup, and the Panthers were no one’s preseason pick. Talk about wildly unpredictable.
What a time to be alive though, right? So, with the game on the horizon, we’re breaking down the teams and making predictions for who will win Super Bowl 50. Let’s get started.
13 years, 48 days. Are you ready for the largest age gap between two starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history?
You've got the fiery 26-year-old Cam Newton versus the crafty 39-year-old Peyton Manning. It's the classic matchup: old school versus new school. And we like everything about it.
Let’s look at the stats. Cam Newton led the Panthers with a NFL-high 45 touchdowns (35 passing, 10 rushing), 3,837 passing yards and 636 rushing yards in the regular season. Peyton Manning finished with 9 touchdowns and 2,249 passing yards.
You either love Cam or you hate him, but you can’t deny how good of a quarterback he is. He’s a dual-threat – he can throw the ball and run the ball. Ron Rivera has let him do his thing, which is one reason it’s so fun to watch the Panthers play. He’s had his fair share of critics, but he set out to prove them wrong. The Panthers’ offense as a whole has proved everyone wrong.
Now to “The Sheriff.” While we all love Peyton Manning, he’s been pretty hot and cold this year. He had a great game against the Packers then struggled the next game and was replaced with Brock Osweiler. After that, Manning was out for about a month with a foot injury. Then, he came back to help the Broncos win against the Chargers. He started in the playoffs. He finally broke his nine-quarter stretch without a touchdown in the AFC Championship where he threw multiple touchdowns in the game. It’s been up and down for him this year, but he has what it takes to show all of us that despite his old age, he’s still the one we all admire.
I know almost everyone would love to see Peyton Manning ride off into the sunset with another Super Bowl ring to finish out his career. There’s no doubt he’s one of the best of our time, but going up against the Panthers could prove to be quite the challenge.
When it comes to playoff time, the defense is what matters – even more so than the quarterback.
Both teams have really great defenses. And good thing, because defense wins championships, right? This game will not be an offensive war; it’s going to be a battle of the defense.
So, who has the better defense? We know the Broncos’ defense is something special, as they’ve practically carried the team all season. Their ferocious defense allowed the fewest yards this season, recorded the most sacks, and held the Steelers and the Patriots to a combined 34 points in the playoff games. In the AFC Championship, they held Tom Brady to a season-low completion percentage (48.2). They’re good. Really good. But it will be interesting to see how they matchup against Cam Newton and the second-ranked offensive line – will they be able to adjust?
Let’s talk Panthers’ defense. We know that the Panthers' defense is fast, strong and creates more turnovers. After all, they forced Carson Palmer to commit six turnovers in the NFC Championship game. They make plays look easy and make smart decisions on the field. One thing is for sure, Manning and his offense are going to have to watch out for Josh Norman and Luke Kuechly – two of the best pass defenders in the game.
How many games have you seen where a missed field goal or any other special teams mishap cost the team the game? Just look at the AFC Championship. The Patriots missed an extra point early on and then ended up needing a two point conversion to tie the game. What happened? They lost. What would have happened if they didn’t miss that extra point? Well, maybe they would’ve tied and then gone on to win.
It just goes to show how important of a role special teams actually play. That missed field goal or missed extra point can very well haunt you later on. You have to have a kicker that can make the play in those pressure moments. Both the Panthers’ and the Broncos’ special teams have a good record, and I think we can expect excellence from both.
The odds are in the Panthers’ favor, and we can’t help but agree with the prediction. Sure, it could go either way, and I certainly won’t sell the Broncos short. Would Peyton Manning lifting the Lombardi Trophy be amazing? Absolutely. He’s a legend, a hero and one quarterback we will always look up to.
But the Panthers have proven to be the NFL’s best team all season. They dominated in the playoffs, and they have the talent and drive to take them all the way to their franchise’s first Super Bowl victory.
Our Prediction: Panthers 27, Broncos 17
What’s your prediction?
Attend Super Bowl 50
If you’re a Panthers or Broncos fan, the decision should be easy. And even if you aren’t a fan of either team, the decision isn’t hard. This is your chance to be a part of history – to either see the Panthers’ first Super Bowl win or to potentially see Peyton Manning’s last game.
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl with us! With an Official NFL On Location Ticket Package through QuintEvents, you can secure your spot at Super Bowl 50 and experience the thrill of a lifetime.