Super Bowl 50 Preview: Carolina Panthers versus Denver Broncos

February 6, 2016

For the third consecutive season, the NFL's best regular season teams from each conference have made it to the big game as the top-seeded NFC team, the Carolina Panthers, will face the top-seeded AFC team, the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

The match-up will feature the league's most prolific scoring offense in Carolina (31.3 points per game) – against its top defense in Denver (283.1 total net yards per game).

The Panthers advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2003 season) with a 49-15 win over Arizona at Bank of America Stadium. With the victory, Carolina capped off a perfect season at home, winning all eight regular-season games and both playoff contests.

“We came out and had a pretty successful game,” said Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. “But I know there are a lot of people who feel just like me – we’re not done yet.”

Newton passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for two scores in the NFC Championship Game victory. He is the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and rush for multiple touchdowns in a playoff game. Newton led the NFL during the regular season with 45 total touchdowns (35 passing, 10 rushing) and became the first player in league history to pass for at least 30 touchdowns and rush for at least 10 touchdowns in the same season.

In the win over Arizona, the Panthers also forced seven turnovers. During the regular season, Carolina led the NFL with 39 takeaways, 24 interceptions and a +20 turnover differential. That dominance has continued into the postseason as the Panthers lead the league with nine takeaways, six interceptions and a +8 turnover differential.

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, who has guided the team to the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, is aiming to become the fourth person to win a Super Bowl as both a player and a head coach (Mike Ditka, Tony Dungy, and Tom Flores). Rivera played his college ball at Cal and was a linebacker for the 1985 Chicago Bears, which is the last team to win at least 15 regular-season games and also win the Super Bowl in the same season, something the Panthers hope to accomplish this year.

Waiting to meet the Panthers are the Denver Broncos, led by future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning, in what might possibly his final career game.

The Broncos advanced to their eighth Super Bowl, tied for the most in NFL history (Dallas, New England, Pittsburgh), by defeating New England 20-18.

“The victory in the AFC Championship Game was a great example of what this entire season has been like,” said Manning. “It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a lot of different people stepping up and doing their part at different times. That was a unique football game but everybody did their part and it truly was a team game.”

Manning threw two touchdown passes – both to tight end Owen Daniels – in the win. The veteran quarterback has now guided both the Indianapolis Colts and the Broncos to multiple Super Bowls and Manning is the first quarterback in NFL history to lead two different franchises to multiple Super Bowls.

Manning, who won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts, can also become the first starting quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises.

But while many are enamored by a potential storybook ending to Manning's career in Super Bowl 50, the main reason many the pundits give the underdog Broncos a chance in tomorrow's contest is their vaunted defense.

Denver topped the NFL with 52 sacks during the regular season and they recorded four sacks and two interceptions in the AFC Championship Game against legendary New England QB Tom Brady. Linebacker Von Miller was particularly stellar with 2.5 sacks and an interception in the victory over New England, becoming the first player in more than 20 years to record at least 2.5 sacks and an interception in a playoff game.

“We’re back,”Miller said about the team’s second Super Bowl appearance in the past three seasons. “It feels great. I wanted to get back here.”

Denver head coach Gary Kubiak is the first head coach to earn a Super Bowl berth in his first season with a team since Jim Caldwell accomplished the feat with Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in 2009. Kubiak, who played for the Broncos (1983-1991), is also the first person to appear in a Super Bowl with the same team as both a player and a head coach.

By Staff of

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...