In Super Bowl 50, it will come down to which team plays the better defense to see who will hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy.
We’re all familiar with the storylines for Super Bowl 50 as we have been hearing them for two weeks:
- It will probably be Manning’s “last rodeo” as he told Bill Belichick at the end of this year’s AFC Championship game.
- It is the first Super Bowl with opposing quarterbacks drafted first overall.
- It features the widest age gap between starting quarterbacks (Cam Newton was nine years old when Peyton Manning made his NFL debut in 1998).
- It is a clash of the old-school mentality in steady-handed, unwavering Sheriff Manning with the new-school mentality in dancing, dabbing Superman Newton.
For my in-depth exclusive video preview of Super Bowl 50, please see it in its entirety below:
The Carolina Panthers’ offense is the best in the league and absolutely unstoppable. Throughout the regular season, Carolina’s offense has averaged 31.2 points per game. Dominantly in the playoffs, it put up 80 points and eight offensive touchdowns. Newton, himself, is accountable for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in the playoffs.
Steve Young, a Super Bowl winning quarterback and MVP, on Super Bowl Opening Night for ESPN TV, remarked: “In addition to being a shocking physical presence, Newton became an intellectual challenge this year. You cannot stop that combination.” This is not a knock on Manning, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game of football, however, Newton and his offense are truly electric.
Of course, all eyes will be on Superman, however, one must remember his incredible cast of characters. One of Newton’s favorite targets in the end zone, ol’ reliable Greg Olsen (he has never missed a game with the Panthers) is the best tight end in the NFL not named Rob Gronkowski.
In the regular season, he had seven touchdowns, and ranked in the top five for all tight ends. In the playoffs, he has one. An adjustment to the Panthers’ game plan that I’m still waiting for should be to re-involve wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. Prior to the playoffs, he scored six touchdowns in the last four games of the regular season. So far, he has only been targeted three times (two receptions for fifty-two yards).
With the two of the stars of the Broncos’ defense, safety T.J. Ward and free safety Darian Stewart, limited in practice on Wednesday, Newton may have a gaping hole downfield to expose. The Denver defense, albeit number one in the league, will not be the kryptonite to the Carolina offense.
Denver will undoubtedly rely on running back C.J. Anderson. Unlucky for the Broncos, the Carolina Panthers have the league’s fourth-best run defense. True, the Broncos defense recorded seven sacks in the playoffs, however, they played against immobile pocket-passers in Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady. Newton is not a traditional quarterback, so forcing Denver to keep a spy on him will open up big gains for him downfield.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets should target TE Hunter Henry in free agency
- NY Jets: Why the team should target cornerback Shaquill Griffin
- NY Jets reportedly non-tendering linebacker Harvey Langi
- NY Jets: Why the team should not cut Jamison Crowder
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
Carolina’s Kawann Short has been a sack machine all season long and will undoubtedly get to Manning, a stereotypical pocket-passer. When Manning cannot plant and throw off his back foot, the Panthers, with their +20 turnover differential this season, will make him pay.
Kurt Colemen and Luke Kuechly combine for four of the Panthers’ six interceptions in the playoffs. Kuechly will be engaged in a complete chess match against Manning the entire game. We know Manning is king when it comes to calling audibles (and calling fake audibles) at the line of scrimmage, but expect Kuechly, who graduated with a 3.8 GPA from high school and a 3.0 GPA at Boston College as a marketing major, to engage him in checkmate.
More jets: Final staff writer predictions for Super Bowl 50
Something noteworthy to know, EA Sports’ Madden NFL football game, in its pre-Super Bowl simulations, has picked the winner 9 out of the last 12 times. Madden accurately predicted the score of last year’s Super Bowl: Patriots 28, Seahawks, 24. This year? They have the Panthers beating the Broncos 24-20.
Overall, I am choosing the Panthers to hoist the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night, with Newton doubling as the Most Valuable Player of both the Super Bowl and the NFL’s 2015 season.