With Super Bowl L just a few days away, there’s been plenty of coverage from all kinds of different angles about the matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. We’ve taken a look at both teams: how they got to the Super Bowl, some of the early betting numbers involved and a look at the game itself. We’ve seen countless interviews with players, coaches and talking heads about the game.
Today, we’ll take a look at solid reasons why each of the two teams could win the Super Bowl. Things that could favor one side over the other once the game kicks off and a winner eventually is decided will be looked at here. We’ll begin by looking at several reasons why Carolina could win their first Super Bowl title in franchise history come Sunday evening.
Five Reasons Why Carolina Could Win the Super Bowl
- Cam Newton’s Dual Threat Skills: Denver has had the fortune of dealing with quarterbacks that aren’t overly known for their mobility. Ben Roethlisberger has some mobility as far as extending plays and such, however, he’s no major threat to run. Tom Brady is pretty much a statue in the pocket, which is why he was hammered repeatedly in the AFC Championship Game. The Broncos’ defense will have a different task to deal with Sunday. Cam Newton is presumed to be the MVP when the award is handed out Saturday. He threw for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions in the regular season. Newton added 636 yards and 10 scores on the ground as well. That versatility, with the ability to run the read option and run to keep drives alive, will keep the Broncos defense a bit tamer than normal more than likely.
- Momentum: Carolina has seemingly had momentum all season long. You don’t go 15-1 without having some momentum and luck going your way. We saw it when the Panthers had to rally to beat the Giants and the Saints in December. Carolina has momentum going on their side and they really put that to use in the early stages of both their playoff games. Jumping up 31-0 over Seattle and 24-7 over Arizona at halftime of those games really set the tone.The Panthers will try to set that kind of tone in this contest as well. If Carolina scores early and forces Denver into a three and out situation, it may suck the wind out of a Denver team that has sputtered offensively this season. The Panthers will do everything they can to deliver an early knockout blow in this contest.
- Offensive Production: Quite simply, Carolina has had very few issues when it comes to putting points and yards up this season. The Panthers led the league in scoring in the regular season as they rolled up an even 500 points. Carolina has piled up another 80 points in their two postseason victories. When you’re putting up more than 31 points a game, it can really put pressure on your opponent. There aren’t many teams that can try and hang with Carolina offensively. This version of Denver’s offense can ill afford to try and get in a shootout.If Carolina puts together anything close to an average offensive performance, this one could get out of hand relatively quickly.
- Health: When you consider the fact that the season has gone on for nearly six months, factoring in training camp and pre-season contests, it’s impressive how healthy the Panthers are. Sure, Kelvin Benjamin is out but he didn’t play a snap this season after tearing his ACL in camp. Charles Tillman suffered a torn ACL in week 17 and fellow corner Bene Benwikere broke his leg in week 14. Other than that, there isn’t much hampering Carolina. Thomas Davis broke his arm in the NFC Championship Game but expects to play here. Jared Allen missed the NFC Championship Game with a broken foot but practiced fully today. He expects to be in there Sunday too. Having the majority of your key personnel ready to go with the title on the line is something no one can overlook.
- The Panthers’ Defensive Line: Carolina can wreak havoc on opposing teams with just their front four, which makes it easier for them to defend the pass by dropping six or seven in coverage. Denver’s offensive line is banged up as Pro Bowl tackle Ryan Clady was hurt in preseason and his backup Ty Sambrailo is done for the year as well. Starting a third-string tackle is a bad situation normally. Factor in a banged up and aging quarterback in Peyton Manning along with an aggressive defensive front and it makes life even more difficult. Kawann Short is a force to be reckoned with in the middle. He recorded 55 tackles, 11 sacks, seven tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries and quickly has developed into one of the league’s elite defensive tackles. Factor in guys like Allen, Mario Addison, Dwan Edwards, Kony Ealy and Star Lotulelei to the mix and you have a devastating group of big men that can stuff the run and harass opposing quarterbacks. Even if those guys merely battle to a stalemate against the Broncos’ offensive line, it will free up lanes for the linebackers and secondary to step up and make tackles at or near the line of scrimmage.
That’s a look at big reasons that could propel Carolina to their first Super Bowl championship. Stay tuned for a look at what could propel the Broncos to a Lombardi Trophy Sunday night.
Our Super Bowl predictions have Carolina winning 31-17 so make sure you take a look at them!