The Carolina Panthers, top seed in the NFC, will face off vs the Denver Broncos, top seed in the AFC, in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday February 7th. The Broncos are hoping for a much different result this time around after getting crushed by the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 as -2 point favorites two years ago in the Super Bowl XLVIII. This could be Payton Manning's last game in the NFL and most likely his last chance at a ring but will he have enough left in the tank to defeat the surging Panthers?
Point spread: The Panthers opened as 3.5-point favorites; the total was 44 early in the week but has since moved to 45. Super Bowl Odds
It won't be any easier for Manning to get his second ring, and tie his brother Eli, considering the Panthers are very similar to the Seahawks that crushed the Broncos two years ago in Super Bowl XLVIII. However, this is a different Denver defense then two years ago and Payton may not need to put the team on his shoulders like seasons past. The Denver defense was able to get after Brady and put him on his back time after time which disrupted the Patriots offense. The public will be divided with this game as some will back Payton and think the Broncos pull this out for him and some just feel the Panthers are the dominant force this season losing only 1 game.
Carolina has played extremely well all season long and lost only one game to the Falcons on December 27th. This loss probably works in their favor as no team has gone undefeated since the '72 Dolphins. Cam Newton has played exceptionally well this season throwing for over 3,800 yards 35 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. The Panthers have a great TE in Greg Olsen and WR Tedd Ginn has had a resurgence in Carolina catching 10 touchdowns this season. Jonathan Stewart leads the rushing attack, running for close 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns. While the offense has looked unstoppable against some very good defenses in the post season vs Seattle and Arizona, it's the defense that makes this team look even scarier.
Carolina had one of the top defenses in the league and while Denver's defense may get more publicity, the Panther's defense has been solid for several years. Carolina has 8 sacks to Denver's 7 in the post season and the Panthers have covered in 13 of 18 games thanks in part to their defense.
The Broncos have thrived as underdogs under head coach Gary Kubiak, going 5-1 straight up and 5-0-1 against the spread over their last six games in that role. Manning arguably had his worst year in the NFL but has embraced being a game manager, limiting his mistakes and risks along the way. Having the league’s #1 defense also helps a lot, something that could be the difference.
Who will win Super Bowl 50? As of the release of this publication, I am still analyzing this matchup. Be sure to check out our Super Bowl 50 picks here when they are released next week.
The total has gone under in five of the Panthers' last seven games against the AFC West.
The Broncos are 5-1 SU and 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games as underdogs.
The Broncos are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games after winning as an underdog.
The total has gone over in the Broncos' last six Super Bowl appearances.