Superbowl 50: Panthers or Broncos?

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Matt Maggiore Before we talk about the Superbowl, let’s talk about how the Panthers and the Broncos got here.         The Broncos have had an up-and-down year. They opened the season 7-0 but switched quarterbacks a couple of times throughout the remainder of the season, and ended up with a record of 12-4. The Broncos wouldn’t be here without their defense, which I think is the best in the league (even better than the panthers). Their secondary can shut down the best receivers in the game with the likes of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, TJ Ward, and Bradley Roby; these four make up the most complete secondary in the league by far. The Broncos also have two of the best pass-rushers in the league in Von Miller and Demarcus Ware; they are both play-wreckers, with 11.0 and 7.5 sacks respectively on the season. The problem with the Broncos is their offense. Like I said, they have switched quarterbacks a couple of times and their running game has been pretty inconsistent. The receivers are good but it is hard to utilize them with a quarterback that struggles throwing the ball down the field and when Manning does throw it downfield, the ball is often wobbly and inaccurate.         Carolina looked dominant in their games against the Seahawks and the Cardinals, especially in the first half. I didn’t even bother watching the second half of the Arizona game. The Panthers defense is able to lock down receivers while pressuring the quarterback, which in turn minimizes the time the quarterback has to throw the ball; thus, making the secondary’s job easier. Many defenses have the ability to cover the receivers and pressure the quarterback but what makes Carolina’s defense special is their impact players: Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Josh Norman, and Kurt Coleman. On the offensive side, they have Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn Jr. as their main receiving threats. Last but not least: Cam, Superman, the Dannon Oikos guy. He has been nearly perfect this year with a quarterback rating of 99.4.         I think the Panthers will win the Superbowl. As the old saying goes, “defense wins championships” but not when the opponents have the two best defenses in the league. The contest is going to come down to the quarterback. Who is going to win? The young gunner and probable MVP or the not-too-distant-future hall of fame quarterback? Cam has 45 total touchdowns with only 10 interceptions and he has become the real leader of the team. I think Cam and Greg Olson will make the difference in the game. It has proven extremely difficult to defend good tight ends, even if the defense is as good as the Bronco’s. Last week, Rob Gronkowski, despite struggling with a leg injury, had 8 receptions with 144 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. Not to mention, Peyton Manning will likely not be able to keep up with the Panthers. Even though he had the best game of the year last week, he and the Broncos know the Patriots so well and were able to make a good game plan against them. But Manning and the Broncos don’t know the Panthers that well, which is why I don’t think they can make a solid game plan against that Panthers defense. The only way the Broncos will win is if Manning has a miraculous game and the Broncos running game steps up to take some heat off Manning.   I asked around the Junior hallways to see if Latin students agreed with me.   Junior Jake Milner had some trouble deciding which team he thought would win. “I’m really torn on this, but I’m going Broncos. It’s mostly because I’m rooting for them.” said Jake. “If I had to pick a real reason, I’d say pass coverage and experience. I think their secondary and linebackers will limit big plays. And as much as everyone says this is just another game, it’s the Super Bowl, and a lot of the Broncos have been there before. I think that’s a huge advantage.”   On the other hand, Junior Kieran Bondy is betting on the Panthers to “destroy. They’re going to win for two reasons. First, Denver has an iffy QB who is questionable at best in long passes down the field. Second, although Denver has a good defense a defense can’t win the game especially when Carolina’s defense isn’t far behind in skill.” So what do you guys think? Leave your comments below.]]>