Here we are. Finally, the Super Bowl is upon us and we are fortunate enough to witness both #1 seeds from the AFC and NFC. We couldn’t be more excited to see the young and explosive Cam Newton of the Panthers to face one of the best quarterbacks of all time, veteran Peyton Manning of the Broncos. The 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl will be one to never forget. We are all just hoping that it’s nothing like the last time the Broncos were in the Super Bowl, when they lost to the Seahawks 43-8. Since I know you just want to see our picks, here they are! Our Super Bowl 50 picks!
Last week: Scott: 1-1 (5-5 overall)
Zito: 1-1 (5-5 overall)
Super Bowl 50
Scott’s Pick: Carolina. I couldn’t be any happier to see Cam Newton and company in the Super Bowl and it’s even better that Peyton Manning is in it as well. Cam Newton is unlike any quarterback we have seen before. The consistency he brings to the football field is unbelievable especially what he can do on the ground. Cam Newton has had a staggering, 10 touchdowns on the ground this year, including 2 in the playoffs. Cam Newton has proved to everyone that he is unstoppable and many people have said that the Broncos defense is the only thing that can stop him. Who can blame someone for saying that? The Broncos have forced 36 turnovers this season, 14 of those have been interceptions. The Broncos defense has also acquired 52 sacks during the regular season. You read that right. The combination of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware is a deadly combination. The two have a combined 18.5 sacks and they are by far, in the top tier of the NFL in pass rushing and pressuring the quarterback. Miller in particular has been scary this season. His elusiveness and strength at the linebacker position. This defense alone scares me to believe they might win this game.
The Broncos offense? That’s another story. To put it lightly, the Broncos offense has looked atrocious this year at times. The #1 problem this year was Peyton Manning. The veteran has thrown only 9 touchdowns this year, granted he did suffer and injury earlier in the year. What makes this all worse is that he threw 17 interceptions. This all adds up to a measly 67.9% passer rating. These numbers he posted this season are going up against, arguably, the second best defense in the NFL. As bad as Manning looks at this point, it gets worse. He is not a dual threat quarterback so now that idea of him taking off and running is out of the Panthers mind and one less problem to worry about. Oh yeah, and Luke Keuchly will probably have an interception or two.
Every bit of me is hoping that this game is close. Last years Super Bowl was amazing from beginning to end. Unfortunately, if Cam continues playing how he has all season and Peyton Manning plays how he has all year, this game will not be close at all. The Panthers are the best team in football. I know I said the Cardinals were but given the circumstances last week, the Panthers reign supreme in the NFL. I’ll just come and say it, the Denver defense has bailed them out A LOT this year and that offense has not impressed me enough this year to say that they will win the Super Bowl. The way they’ve been playing on offense, they’re lucky they won their division. It sounds harsh but it is the cold reality for Bronco fans and their true colors will show on Sunday.
Carolina will win their first Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday. The final score will be 31-21 Carolina. This will also make Cam Newton the first quarterback EVER to win the Heisman Trophy, College National Championship, MVP, and the Super Bowl. Forever solidifying his place as a future all-time great in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers, 2016 Super Bowl Champions.
Zito’s Pick: Carolina. A matchup nobody can be upset about. The top seeds from each division will face off to lay claim to the Lombardi trophy. The top offense in the Panthers will take on the top defense in the Broncos. People are already comparing this to the Super Bowl matchup in 2014 between the Broncos and Seahawks but fail to realize that the Panthers hoist the second best defense in the NFL behind Denver. Something Denver lacked that last time they visited the Super Bowl. After hearing enough talk about the game and how Denver’s defense will dominate Cam Newton. I however don’t see that to be the case. Yes, Denver has a tremendous defense we’ve known that all year, but the praise they seem to be getting should reflect a perfect 19-0 record up to this point which they clearly don’t have, and yet nobody is acknowledging, nor respecting the powerhouse offense for Carolina led by Cam Newton. Contrary to popular belief the Denver defense has flaws and it is possible to score on them. Cam Newton is not an easy man to stop and he has a niche for finding the end zone; very few teams have slowed him down all year, and even when he does struggle your offense must manage to put up points against league’s second best defense.
Now let’s look at this from the perspective of the Broncos offense vs the Carolina defense. Broncos are 19th in points/game (22.2), 16th in yards/game (355.5), 14th in passing (248.1), and 17th in rushing (107.4). None of these numbers stand out, and would most likely suffice if the Panthers didn’t hold such a dominant defense. Carolina’s secondary are ball hawks, and the linebackers are the best set in the league. Even if the Broncos slow down Cam they still have to be productive on offense which is something they have done very few times this year, and that’s not facing any notable defenses. Manning hasn’t been very efficient all year and will most likely see a lot of pressure which will cause him to force throws to a dangerous secondary which has the most interceptions in the league with 30 total coming into this game. (Reg. Season: 24, Post-season: 6) let’s not forget Manning also still leads the league in interceptions. I will acknowledge that Peyton has looked better the past few games, but his receivers are becoming notorious for dropping balls.
Newton is a dual threat QB that is throwing with the best of them, but will also kill you on the ground; he is also bigger than a majority of the people defending him. Cam will also be standing behind one of the better offensive lines in the league which has protected him remarkably well this post season. Broncos have ruthless defense and could very will hit Newton a lot, but he is capable of dealing out some blows himself in the run game. This isn’t a Tom Brady or an immobile Big Ben, he will exploit the defense if they allow it.
For the Broncos to win this game they must play the best offensive football they have all season and can’t solely rely on the defense to carry them to the win. That won’t work against this team. This will come down to which defense plays better against the opposing offense and quite frankly I don’t think the Broncos have nearly a good enough offense to do damage against the Panthers. Whereas Carolina has dominated all five games they’ve had against top ten defenses.
I have to go with Carolina to win their first Super Bowl with a comfortable score. 28-17.
**There you have it, that is our Super Bowl 50 predictions. Since Zito and I entered the game tied 5-5 and we both picked the Panthers to win, we will end in a tie for our playoff picks. Either 5-6 or 6-5 overall. Thank you for sticking with me since I started these NFL Picks articles over two months ago. Your support has helped me with a lot of my writing this season. Another update, the progress that has been made on the podcast has been great, we should have the show up and running soon but there is still a lot of work to be done.**
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