Panthers 24, Broncos 20
Plenty of storylines surround Super Bowl 50 that could make for one of the most exciting championships in recent memory. Will Carolina have enough offensive depth against Denver’s top-ranked defense? Will Peyton Manning retire as a two-time Super Bowl Champion?
These questions will answer themselves as the game unfolds, but the team that can establish momentum early will likely come out victorious. As of right now, this edge sides with the Carolina Panthers, who combined for 55 first-half points in their previous two playoff wins against the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.
Cam Newton’s athleticism allows the Panthers to mix their offensive strategy, rather it be the rushing game with Jonathan Stewart or passing to one of three recipients with at least five receiving touchdowns. Carolina’s offensive linemen, defense and special teams have maintained a simple, yet confident approach to complement the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.
However, Carolina’s ability to make in-game adjustments will be crucial against a Denver defense with strong pass rushers such as Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Since the Panthers have overcame early-season doubts en rout to Super Bowl 50, they are a favorable pick to win their first championship if they continue to execute under pressure.
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The Super Bowl is always like a second Christmas and this year we have one QB trying to launch his career with the other trying to close out a legendary one. We’ve seen the Panthers rough up some really good defenses; but we’ve never seen the Panthers play a defense the caliber of the Broncos.
I think the X Factor is without a doubt Cam Newton. I see him being able to pick apart Denver’s defense no matter if they play too conservative or use their blitz happy approach. They also can’t forget that Jonathan Stewart is a dark horse in the back field. At the end of the night, just as Kolten Wong can hit the whip, Cam Newton will hit the dab.
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Next: Michael Miles' Pick