It is time for the biggest game of the NFL season, the Super Bowl. The best of the NFC take on the best of the AFC in a game that is supposed to be close and competitive in every way. But, Sunday’s game is going to be different.
The Broncos own the best defense in the NFL in every stat except defensive scoring, that stat is owned by the Panthers. Four of the past five teams to go to the Super Bowl with the best scoring offense (Panthers) have lost the game. But, the difference the Panthers have is the third best defense in the league, (the teams that lost all have bottom 15 defenses).
So, Peyton Manning will start his fourth Super Bowl Sunday. Who cares? Manning hasn’t turned the football over in two games, woo.
Manning had 17 turnovers in nine games, that’s the stat I care about. Manning can’t put the velocity on the ball that is necessary to make short, accurate throws.
On the other hand, Cam Newton is a throw-first run-second QB. He has become a pocket passer, which has helped the team become an even bigger threat.
Newton’s legs in the run game are the X-factor of the game. If the Broncos can’t hold Newton in the pocket, it’s going to be a field day for the Panthers. Play action would then be more live? And then Ted Ginn can stretch the field and burn the Broncos secondary.
The Broncos can stop the read option, as Chris B. Brown shows in this article on Grantland.
Stopping the read-option is easy, in theory. But, Newton is a different beast compared to Russell Wilson, who is shown in the article. Newton is 6 ‘6, 261 pounds, Wilson is 5’11, 206 pounds. Wilson is elusive and agile. Newton is big and will bulldoze a person who gets in his way, or just flip over a tackler and land in the end zone.
Let’s not talk about QBs anymore. I’m excited that this game will remind a lot of the older football fans of the ‘70s style of play. This game can become a defensive battle, if the Broncos defense can stop the running game of the Panthers.
Okay, prediction time. The first half is a slugfest. Everybody is hitting hard, and both offenses are stagnant. After halftime, everything opens up and points start getting scored. The key number for the Broncos in 24. The Broncos’ defense can’t give up more than 24 points to the Panthers in order to stay in the game.
As much as the media would love to be able to talk about Manning riding off into the sunset with this win. But, Newton will get his first Super Bowl of many to come with a win against The Sheriff. And a little side note, if Newton were to say “There is a new sheriff around these parts,” after he wins, I will forever love SuperCam.
Final Score: Panthers 24, Broncos 17