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’ve already looked into what potential advantages could tip the scales in Carolina’s favor. Let’s take a moment to take a look at what could conceivably shift the momentum in the other direction.
Five Reasons the Denver Broncos Could Win the Super Bowl
- Experience: One of the advantages of having a veteran team is the “been there, done that” mentality that comes to playing in big games. The Broncos were in the Super Bowl two years ago and while they were hammered by Seattle, the majority of their roster experienced what it’s like under the blazing, white-hot spotlights that playing for the Lombardi Trophy entails. Even though that contest was a one-sided shellacking that started bad and went downhill from there, you can’t discount the fact that the team learned from that experience. Conversely, the majority of these Carolina players haven’t had the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl before. It may take a little time to get the jitters out. We’re not saying that Carolina will be intimidated but the potential does loom for that particular situation to make its presence known.
- Peyton Manning: Yes, he’s 39 years old. Yes, he missed nearly half the season with a torn plantar fascia. Yes, it’s even true that he had to come on in relief in week 17 of Brock Osweiler to beat the Chargers in order to procure the AFC West title and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Manning threw nearly twice as many interceptions (17) as touchdown passes (9) in the regular season but it’s important to note that when it came down to crunch time, Manning has reverted to the cool gunslinger that NFL fans are used to seeing. His numbers haven’t been gaudy in the postseason and he has just two touchdown passes in the two playoff games but one thing is important. Manning hasn’t thrown an interception since coming back in that Week 17 game against San Diego and the Broncos are undefeated. He’s not the same quarterback he was at 29 but there are 30 other teams that would love to be in the situation that he’s gotten Denver into here.
- Defensive Backs vs. Carolina’s WRs: Denver has one of, if not the, best secondary units in the league. The Broncos will send Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., who are both Pro Bowl corners, along with T.J. Ward and Darrian Stewart in their secondary. That foursome is one that is tough to argue with: the quartet combined for 35 pass defenses, eight picks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three touchdowns. Former first round pick Bradley Roby chipped in 10 pass defenses, one pick, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a touchdown as well. When you look at Carolina’s receiving corps, it isn’t one that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn Jr., rookie Devin Funchess and Philly Brown have been serviceable but they’re not really game breaking receivers. Dealing with physical corners like Talib and Harris Jr., who aren’t afraid of getting flagged in order to force the way the game unfolds, will be a challenge for Carolina’s receivers. Tight end Greg Olsen can’t do it all for Carolina in the passing attack. Someone will have to step up in the passing game for the Panthers.
- Thomas and Sanders: If Denver is going to have success in Super Bowl L, they’re going to have to move the ball through the air. The run game has been stagnant in the postseason barring a couple key runs by C.J. Anderson in the AFC Championship Game against New England. That means that Denver’s starting receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, will have to step up and make some plays. Thomas reeled in 105 balls for 1,304 yards and six scores while Sanders grabbed 76 passes for 1,135 yards and six scores. One of that duo will likely be locked up with Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman. Thomas and Norman have had a battle of words this week in the media. Whichever one doesn’t lock up with Norman will need to win their battle against either Robert Mathis or Cortland Finnegan to give Manning a reliable target. Expect a combination of Kurt Coleman or Roman Harper trying to handle the Owen Daniels/Vernon Davis Jr. combination at tight end for the Broncos.
- The Demarcus Ware/Von Miller Combination: We saw how dangerous the combination of Demarcus Ware and Von Miller can be in the pass rush department against New England. Those two terrorized Tom Brady on a regular basis in the AFC Championship Game and Ware’s speed to recover a fumbled snap in overtime in week 16 against Cincinnati helped the Broncos earn home field advantage in the AFC playoffs. While Cam Newton is mobile, he’s also big and strong, which means that Ware and Miller will have to wrap him up and deliver some big shots. If Ware and Miller generate some pressure and can beat Michael Oher and Mike Remmers off the edges, it will greatly improve Denver’s chances to emerge victorious Sunday.
That’s a wrap. We’ve covered all the pertinent information, crucial storylines, looked at the early betting and given our Super Bowl betting tips on how Sunday’s contest may unfold. If you missed any of it, feel free to go back and read up on what you missed. Otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy the game Sunday!