Rag2gar previews Superbowl 50 from Santa Clara and he thinks Peyton Manning will lead the Denver Broncos to a surprise victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Super Bowl 50 Preview
Few would have predicted at the start of the season that the NFL championship game, the pinnacle of the football season, would be contested between a team which showed no improvement forthcoming in the Carolina Panthers, and a team with holes and question marks in the Denver Broncos, but here we are!
Even if you knew this was going to be the fixture, you would surely never in your wildest dreams believe that the Broncos would get here with a humongous question over their five time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning. But here we are!
I think even several weeks ago you would find it hard to believe that the Panthers would be such a short price favourite in the Super Bowl but here we are.
So who's going to win? Well it would certainly appear that the Carolina Panthers have all the credentials. They have a front man who has torn the league apart this year in quarterback Cam Newton. They lead the NFL in points scored and have looked nothing short of relentless in the manner in which they have moved through the playoffs. It would certainly appear that they are on course to lift the Super Bowl, but they still have one huge game left and let's not forget the emphasis on the "one" here.
This is not a league format, this is not a "best-of"; this is one game, one game on which an entire season hangs. Strange things happen in Super Bowls. How many times did the game look over last year only for it to spring alive again, no more so than in the final play itself? Strange things happen in Super Bowls. Remember last year's winning team, the New England Patriots, came into Super Bowl XLII for a victory parade, a formality, a chance to put the icing on the perfectly crafted cake. How did they fare out? They lost. They lost because strange things happen in Super Bowls.
So can the Broncos win it? I don't think they can. Their offence is too weak. Manning can't throw the ball more than 15 yards and they represent a far interior conference in the AFC. The only way they can win is if they make the Panthers slip up. They need to make it an imperative that Carolina do not enjoy the comfortable early leads which they have become accustomed to so far in the playoffs. They need to ramp up the pressure and make them earn it. I'm talking about water tight defence, making points a premium, and taking each and every opportunity they find themselves in to score points themselves. That's the only way they can win it. If it turns into gun slinging, the Broncos are toast. And they'll have to bench Manning to even have a hope. They need to ensure that does not happen.
The Broncos must instead utilise Manning for the talents with which he has left. Excellent footballing brain. Clever tactical awareness. Short passes to reliable receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Rushing the ball. C. J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are two capable running backs who they can rotate at will. This alone is a competent offence. This alone got them over the line against New England. But of course the real star of the show this season has been the Denver defence, which has given up the fewest yard of any team in the NFL. It goes without saying that this side of the ball has to play well again for the Broncos to have any chance. I think it will and I think the Broncos are going to win the Super Bowl as a result of it.
Of course turnovers will be key and it certainly looks like field position will play a big part in what is sure to be a cat (Panthers) and mouse (Broncos) battle. Maybe it will all be decided on a turnover? Who knows. Strange things happen in Super Bowls and at the odds available the Broncos look like the only bet you could possibly have.
Take a chance on Peyton Manning to go out with a bang.
5 pts win Denver Broncos to beat Carolina Panthers at 2/1 with Ladbrokes