2016 NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl 50 Preview

February 7, 2016

Around The Corn has never produced much coverage related to the Super Bowl, and there’s a reason why: everything gets lost in the clutter.

For almost two weeks now, the major networks have covered this game inside and out, from angles you didn’t even know existed (and let’s be real. Some of them didn’t. They were just made up.).

Truth be told, most of what you have read or watched went in one ear and out the other. You knew the second that Carolina clinched its Super Bowl spot with a beatdown over the Arizona Cardinals who you thought would win this game. For most people, that initial prediction was unwavering these past two weeks.

For the sake of consistency (that is, providing a short preview and prediction for every game of the 2016 NFL Playoffs), I’ll provide my reasoning for why the Carolina Panthers will be the next Super Bowl champions. It’s quite simple, really.

The Denver Broncos have been surviving bad Peyton Manning outings all season long, but made it to this game because of a strong defense. The age-old saying is that “defense wins championships”, but the irony of that statement is that defenses rarely score enough points to win a game. Great offenses beat great defenses.

Call the Carolina Panthers what you want, but there is no denying that Cam Newton and his offensive nucleus is something special. There are so many ways that the Panthers can move the football, most of them a result of Newton’s superior athletic ability. Try to play tight man coverage against the receivers, and Newton will create havoc with his legs. Play zone defense to stop Newton on the ground, and Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen cut the secondary apart.

Denver may have the defensive front capable of putting enough pressure on Newton that the routes downfield don’t have time to develop. But are we really going to put our faith into a may statement? You can if you want, but even if Denver plays well enough defensively to win, at some point Manning will need to step up. Carolina has quite the defensive rush as well and showed two weekends ago what happens when a hurt quarterback tries to do too much.

Many people would like to see Peyton Manning go out a winner, a story that would resemble the one that played out in Miami 17 years ago when John Elway led the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory before retiring. But just as many people, particularly young fans who are the most important assets the NFL can secure, would love to see a guy like Cam Newton joyfully lead his team to football’s pinnacle.

Call me converted, because that’s exactly what has happened to me. Carolina will win this game and the Panthers will deserve it.

My Pick: 30-21 Carolina

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