Welcome to our Super Bowl Preview and Predictions special!
Feel free to comment and tell us who is the most correct and who needs to stick to golf!
Earl: Despite my thinking that New England was going to beat Denver, I think we are getting the two best teams. I sold Denver’s offense short, and it really is not that good, but Denver’s defense is exceptional. They got after Tom Brady with ease, and despite giving up yards to Gronk, they held the rest of the Patriots in check. The Panthers were the best team in the NFC all season, and they are the best team in the League. So, yeah we are getting a good matchup.
Dan: I think we’re getting 2 of the top 3 teams in the league. The only team I think that’s better than Denver is New England. I understand the Broncos had beat New England in a close match-up, but I feel as if it was just an off-day for New England the Patriots stack up better on paper than Denver. So no, we’re not getting the 2 best teams in the league, but we are getting a fantastic match-up between 2 amazing teams. 1 team with an amazing offense, 1 team with an amazing defense.
Jim: No. Carolina is certainly the best in the NFC, but Denver isn’t even close to the best in the AFC. They simply have a really good defense. Their offense is sputtering like my old 1972 Volkswagon used to do before it threw a rod.
Joe: If we go by what Bill Parcells once said… “You are what your record says you are” then I think so…
Carolina has shown in the playoffs they are not to be taken lightly and they obviously deserve their place in SB50.
Denver does, too… they beat the supposed best in the AFC in the Patriots (although the Pats did end the season on a tailspin). If, any other team was better, then they should have stepped up and won their games and then beat Denver. No one did.
So, yeah, I think we have the two best teams.
David: I almost think we got that last week with Arizona vs Carolina.
Denver’s offense is pedestrian at best and I really wanted to see New England win, as a Panthers fan, we might have gotten 20 sacks by halftime.
Steve: I think the Panthers are definitely the best team in the NFC, and Denver has the best defense in the game right now. However, I don’t think Denver is the best in the AFC. I think they had a great game against New England, and the defense caused a problem for Tom Brady. However, the Patriots are the best team in the AFC.
Earl: Winning would get Peyton’s Super Bowl record up to .500, but even with a loss which would knock him down to 1-3 in the Big Game, I think his legacy will still be in fine. He’s the only QB to lead two teams to multiple Super Bowls, and that alone is not a simple thing to do. As I said before, a win would be great, but I don’t know if a loss hurts him that much.
Dan: All this does for the Manning legacy is add a Super Bowl victory or defeat to his name. I don’t think it does much else after that. He’s already known has one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game and seems like an almost lock to make it to the NFL Hall of Fame so Id on’t think this game really matters all that much to his legacy or to his family legacy.
Jim: Manning’s legacy is simple. He sucks in the playoffs. Just look at his stats this year in the last three games. I don’t think he’s broken 400 yards and 2 TDs TOTAL. I could be off a little, but not much. They’re winning by playing great defense. I could be the quarterback at this point and Denver would still win. Peyton Manning SHOULD go down in history as the all time biggest disappointment in NFL playoff history. It used to be Fran Tarkington. But Peyton is certainly a bigger disappointment.
Joe: If, Denver wins it, then it just puts an exclamation point on his career. He is already in the conversation as being one of the best of the best.
If, Denver loses it just gives a little more fuel to anybody who didn’t like him in the first place to just say, “See, told ya’ll, he wasn’t that damn good.”
Bottom line Manning is a no-brainer for the Hall and has had a great career so a win is icing on the cake and a loss is just a loss.
David: I don’t think it changes anything. He didn’t outplay Brady, his defense won the game, and if the game comes down to Peyton going 80 with no timeouts, I’m ok with that. He’s still won of the best QBs of all time, but if the Colts were in the NFC North or AFC East, he wouldn’t have quite the reputation he does now.
Steve: It shows that he can still win big games, and can win in the playoffs. I think that monkey is off his back regardless of the outcome of the game on Sunday.
Earl: Yes, because he needs to. I don’t know about the rest of my roundtable colleagues, but it was painful to watch Peyton grimacing on the sidelines towards the end of the game when he was throwing warm-up passes. It looked like he needed every last bit of effort in his body just to throw the ball. It’s clear he’s at the end, and this game should be his swan song no matter how it ends.
Dan: Yes, Peyton Manning will play his final game in Super Bowl 50. The reason I say that is because of this year. A lot of people said he played a year too long but I don’t find that to be true. Yes, he did have a poor year stat wise. He was also injured for a lot of the year. But he played until he can’t play at his elite level any more. And that’s fine. But after the poor year he had throwing 17 interceptions to only 9 touchdowns and a little over 2,200 yards passing, it’s time for him to call it quits. You spent half the year injured, almost turned the ball over two times as many times as you put it in the end zone, it’s time to move on and let Brock Osweiler take over Denver and let Peyton Manning begin his life after football.
Jim: Win or Lose, he won’t play for Denver next year. Some team will be desperate enough to sign him.
Joe: Manning should have retired about three or four years ago. I have read… I believe in ESPN mag… that after games he can’t even untie his own shoes and needs help by locker room personnel to do so. So, whether Denver wins or doesn’t win… in my opinion he should call it quits and go into retirement with nothing to be ashamed of. Win or lose… he has had a great career.
David: I’d like to think so, he’s beaten up, he’s old and I’m not sure he’s got the horses (no pun intended) to get back.
Steve: Yes, I don’t see any situation where Manning comes back next year.
Earl: Both teams will have a challenge to get back next season, but I’m going to say that Carolina will have the hardest road back. Their division has some good teams in it. New Orleans and Atlanta could both rebound from down seasons, and Tampa Bay could improve under Jameis. Plus the NFC is no cakewalk. Dallas could be better if healthier, and I can say the same of the Giants and you still have Seattle, Arizona, and possibly San Francisco in the NFC West. I’m not even mentioning the Packers, Lions, and Vikings in the NFC North. The Panthers are good, no doubt, but there are a lot of good teams in the NFC while the AFC doesn’t have the same kind of depth. So, even if Peyton retires, I think the Broncos would still be in good shape under Brock Osweiler.
Dan: While I think that Carolina has a very tough road back to be the representative of the NFC in the Super Bowl, I think that Denver has the toughest of the two. Not only will Denver have to face up against a tough Kansas City team in their own division and an improving Oakland squad, the AFC has New England, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati. Out in the NFC, it’s Arizona, Green Bay, Carolina and you can throw in Seattle in the mix. I’d rather have to go through Arizona, GB & Seattle than go through NE, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & KC. But next year, as an incredibly early prediction, I don’t think Carolina returns to the Super Bowl or the NFC Conference Championship game.
Jim: Denver. Kansas City is going to be bigger, faster and stronger next year. Denver is going to lose talent to free agency. Lose talent to the salary cap. And will go 8-8 at best.
Joe: Denver… they need a QB for next season.
David: Carolina has some serious questions, and still digging out of the Salary Cap Mess that Hunley put them in. Josh Norman is going to want every dime that is out there, and should get tagged, but thats still not going to make him happy, and there is a ton of depth that could be headed out of town. Not to mention Atlanta seems to be back, Jameis seems like the real deal, and there is a QB already in the NFC South with a ring and MVP already. Thats just the division!
Steve: I think Denver is in trouble. While the defense of the Broncos is better than Carolina, and could cause some problems for Cam Newton, if the Panthers get off to a hot start as they did against Seattle and Arizona, Denver will not be able to come back. The Panthers offense should be enough to take this game.
Earl: I’m riding with the Panthers. Cam Newton is playing out of this world, and despite not having the receivers a man of his skills should have, he’s getting big numbers and leading his teams to wins. The Broncos defense is good, but Cam is no sitting duck. They can’t blitz him the way they did Tom Brady, or Cam will make them pay with his feet.
The difference maker for the Panthers though is their defense. Their defense is just as good as Denver’s and I can see Josh Norman taking Demarius Thomas out of the game and giving Peyton some fits.
This game can get ugly quick. Hopefully not as bad as the 43-8 beating the Seahawks gave Denver two years ago, but I think this game won’t be close. I’m going 38-17 Panthers. Cam Newton will be your Super Bowl MVP.
Dan: I got Carolina winning. I think they’re the better team, shown that they’re the most complete team on both offense and defense and Cam Newton is having a fantastic year and is showing that he’s the great leader that a lot of people were undermining him. My score prediction is 29-17 in favor of Carolina. I think it’ll be an exciting game from start to finish and this year’s commercials will improve based on last year’s.
Jim: Carolina. 41 – 14.
Joe: Denver is an upset winner in a nail biter… I just think that the Denver defense will stop Cam Newton from doing what he did against teams like Arizona and the rest of the NFC. Not that Newton will be ineffective; he just won’t be as dominate as he has been.
This is a game where the best defense is going against the arguable best offense. In my book defense should come out on the winning side. (And damn it… I’d like to see a defensive player get the MVP instead of the damn QB for once!)
This is not to say Carolina’s defense sucks or that Denver’s offense is that terrible because they are not. But, Denver’s #1 defense will stop the Carolina juggernaut just enough so they squeak out the win.
Would you believe the game is decided on a late safety? … 23-21.
David: I am of two minds here, either the Panthers blow them out, or they lose on some serious BS, like the last time they made the Super Bowl. I have to think the Panthers O-Line holds up reasonably well vs the Broncos rush, meaning its up to the Panthers running game to control the clock and the tempo. I think they can, and if Manning starts to get beat up, that secondary is going to come alive. I look to see Brock in the middle of the 4th, either in relief or due to “injury” as Carolina wins going away, 35-10
Steve: I got Carolina winning 23-17, but I could see this being a rout if Denver’s defense is not up to the task.
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