Feb. 1, 2016
The Carolina Panthers are hungry, and horse is on the menu.
It’s too bad Super Bowl 50 isn’t going to be a dance, because Carolina would have the game in the bag. Cam Newton’s touchdown dances are a necessity each game. While it isn’t his dances moves that will win them the game, Newton is the key for the Panthers.
It’s hard to compare the two quarterbacks, especially when Peyton Manning sat six games due to injury. But it seems that any game against the Broncos is set up as Manning versus the other quarterback, and this game will be staged no differently.
But that isn’t the real matchup for this year’s Super Bowl. It isn’t Manning that’s going to be Newton’s biggest challenge, it’s Denver’s defense. “Defense wins games” must be tattooed on every single one of Denver’s players because they do their job and they do it well.
Denver leads the league in passing and total yards allowed per game, plus they are third in rushing yards allowed. Von Miller has 11 sacks on the season and DeMarcus Ware has 7.5, Carolina’s line will have to be ready to hold them back.
Denver’s defense is impressive, no doubt.
But Carolina’s offensive resume is just as pristine, and that will carry them to a championship.
The Panthers score more points per game than any other team, is second in the league for rushing yards per game and is third in average yards per completion.
Newton is one of the best, if not the best, rushing quarterback in the league right now. Averaging 4.8 yards per carry, he is responsible for 10 of the team’s 19 rushing touchdowns. And it’s not just Newton making plays; his receivers have 35 touchdowns on the season.
Compare those stats to Manning’s negative rush yards per play, and 11.5 receiving average with 19 touchdown catches on the season.
You may say that Manning was out or his foot was injured. But he hasn’t had a positive rushing average since his first season with the Broncos in 2012.
And while Miller and Ware are terrifying for the Broncos, the Panthers have only allowed 61 quarterback hits on the whole season.
Even with their 17-1 record, the Panthers have faced doubt this whole season. No matter who they beat, the critics always had an excuse for their success.
They overcame the preseason loss of Kelvin Benjamin, their best wide receiver. In less than a week, they will be competing in a game they were never supposed to get to.
And they’ll win.