Bobby Wagner, Managing Editor
Cam, Cam and more Cam. The Panthers have a formula that they have gone to for 31 straight games — and it’s to punch the opposing defense in the mouth with their six-foot-five beast of a quarterback and his array of running backs. On the defensive side of the ball, they have a hard-hitting defense that is athletic, hungry and disciplined. Luke Kuechly will have his boys in line, and the Panthers are going to eat The Sheriff alive, much like the Seahawks did two years ago. 31-17 Panthers.
Eli Edwards, Contributing Writer
The Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Broncos and Panthers has the potential to be special. All the attention right now is on the quarterback matchup: the ancient artifact that is Peyton Manning and the new face of the NFL, Cam “Dab on ‘Em” Newton. Although both are key players to their respective teams, I think the importance of this game lies in two factors: First, whether the Broncos, who are the league’s number one rated defense, can contain the running capabilities of the Panthers’ potent offensive running attack. They have run for over 100 yards in 31 straight games. If the Broncos can neutralize the Panthers’ running game, they will have a great shot at winning this game. Second, since both teams have top four records in the league (the Broncos at 9-2 and the Panthers at 14-0) when holding a lead after halftime, whoever has the lead after halftime will win the game. I think that it will be the Panthers. 31-24 Panthers.
Kevin Jiang, WNYU Radio Sports Director
Eli Manning, quarterback for the New York Football Giants, once said, “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little-stitious.”
Eli’s older brother Peyton Manning will need every bit of luck he can get as he leads the Denver Broncos against the heavily favored Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium, the site of Super Bowl 50. Although Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., has stated in an email to ESPN, “I can’t remember a more one-sided betting Super Bowl,” I personally can’t help but resort to superstition when it comes to selecting a winner for this year’s Super Bowl.
For example, 10 of the past 11 Super Bowl winners have worn white jerseys in the big game. The Packers, wearing green in Super Bowl XLV, are the only exception. While this trend is purely coincidental, it gives me reason to believe that Peyton Manning can ride that white bronco off into the sunset with the Lombardi Trophy in hand. 23-20 Broncos.
Stephen Tsamblakos, Contributing Writer
Super Bowl “L” will be just that for the Carolina Panthers — a disappointing loss. After running over the Arizona Cardinals and putting up 49 points, injuries to the secondary will finally come back to bite Carolina. Peyton Manning will be able to make just enough throws to keep Denver in the game until the Broncos pounce on Cam and force a fourth-quarter turnover.
On the other side, my preseason Super Bowl pick, the Denver Broncos, has its defense clicking on all cylinders. They have depth at each layer of their defense with Von Miller anchoring the pass rush, Danny Trevathan leading the linebackers and the hard-hitting safety TJ Ward patrolling the secondary. After holding the dynamic Steeler and Patriots offenses to a combined 34 points, I’m rolling with Denver 24-23.
Michael Thompson, Sports Editor
As one would expect, a lot is being made of the storyline between the Hall-of-Fame lock, Peyton Manning, and this season’s sure-fire MVP, Cam Newton. While it’s certainly a compelling feature of Super Bowl 50, it overshadows the game’s X-factor — defense. Both teams bring athletic and aggressive big-play defenses that have feasted on some of the league’s best this season. Denver’s performance against Tom Brady and the Patriots was nothing short of spectacular, hitting New England’s golden boy 17 times. Von Miller is playing out of his mind right now, and he should have Carolina’s dominant offensive line wary.
The Panthers also bring their dangerous defense to the big stage, with Luke Kuechly’s speed and hands creating chaos. Manning will have to rely on a skeleton of a running game, success in the slot against a strained secondary, and his brains to score. But it’ll be much easier for “Superman” Cam Newton to use his remarkable athleticism to dab on the Broncos. Expect a relatively close first half as Denver slows down Carolina’s fast start. But as the game wears on, the Panthers’ defense will for once rise to the occasion in the second half and Cam’s skill will be too much. 28-13 Panthers.
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