Super Bowl 50 is just a few days away and everyone’s talking about Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning.
Per the usual, the Super Bowl is being talked about in terms of the two quarterbacks vs. one another, even though neither of them will see the other on the field of play. People kind of can’t help it, I guess.
And if it were a mano a mano type showdown, it’d be a pretty cool one with next-gen QB Cam Newton leading his dancing touchdown troupe into battle with patched up Peyton Manning, looking for one final moment in the spotlight before riding off into the sunset. All that’s missing is some little kid yelling “Come Back Shane!”
But this is your standard football game and let me assure you, the defenses will decide it. At least right up until the final possession or two when Cam Newton will get his chance to show that he’s earned the right to all those dance steps this season.
On to the game!
Carolina (-6) vs. Denver over/under 46 (my top sports bOOKS)
If this were any other game, I’d laugh, even scoff at the notion that the Panthers are getting 10/21 odds over the Broncos. Even if the game were in Carolina, but this is the Super Bowl, and it is wont to be a blowout, right? I’m not so sure.
Everyone seems to agree that the defenses will dominate this game but both teams rely heavily on the run to set up the pass.
Take a look at Carolina’s schedule. Up until the playoffs, they hadn’t really played too many good defensive teams. I’ll grant you the rule of ‘run-it-up’ has applied in Carolina games in the playoffs and no game is more prone to get out of the hand than the big one at the end. But Denver has withstood plenty of offensive attacks and if Tom Brady couldn’t light them up, I don’t see how Cam Newton is going to.
Denver’s secondary is simply too good to get burned by Carolina’s sub-par receivers, which puts the Panthers in roughly the same boat as the Broncos. Both teams need to run to get their offense going. Both teams excel at stopping opponents from doing just that on the defensive side of the ball. The Panthers just happen to have a stellar playmaker at quarterback who can win a game by himself if he gets the ball at the end needing a score. And he just might.
Expect this game to look a lot more like the AFC Championship game than the NFC whatever-the-hell that was, with both teams scoring sparingly and probably by 3s. My sentimental pick is for Peyton Manning to pull out a win in his final hoedown but logic tells me Cam Newton has been doing this all season. Even though he has, I don’t see the Panthers winning by 6.
Even better is the under 46 here, which should certainly hold up. Unless of course this game becomes just one more lousy Super Bowl where one team never even showed up. Let’s hope not. This one has the potential to be kind of special.
Carolina Panthers 24 Denver Broncos 20
Featured image via Darren Rovell