Super Bowl 50 preview

The big game is here, Super Bowl 50, as the Carolina Panthers face the Denver Broncos in a celebration of football and entertainment. It is a game, like most, which will revolve around its two starting quarterbacks.

Super Bowl 50: Carolina Panthers (17-1) vs. Denver Broncos (14-4)
Sunday, February 7, at Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif. – 5:30 pm kickoff on CBS

Starting Quarterbacks:
CAR: Cam Newton           296/495 3,837 yards         35TD/10INT 99.4 RTG
DEN: Peyton Manning      198/331 2,249 yards         9TD/17 INT 67.9 RTG

Leading Rushers:
CAR: Jonathan Stewart     242 carries 989 yards     6TD/2FUM 4.09 AVG
DEN: Ronnie Hillman         207 carries 863 yards     7TD/1FUM 4.17 AVG

Leading Receivers:
CAR: Greg Olsen               77 catches 1,104 yards     7TD/3DROP 14.34 AVG
DEN: Demaryius Thomas   105 catches 1,304 yards    6TD/9DROP 12.42 AVG

Total Offense:             CAR 366.9 (11th)             DEN 355.5 (16th)
Passing Offense:          CAR 224.3 (24th)             DEN 248.1 (14th)
Rushing Offense:          CAR 142.6 (2nd)              DEN 107.4 (17th)
Scoring Offense:           CAR 31.3 (1st)                 DEN 22.2 (19th)
3rd Down%:                  CAR 42.4 (7th)                 DEN 35.3 (25th)

Total Defense:             CAR 322.9 (6th)               DEN 283.1 (1st)
Passing Defense:          CAR 234.5 (11th)              DEN 199.6 (1st)
Rushing Defense:          CAR 88.4 (4th)                 DEN 83.6 (3rd)
Scoring Defense:           CAR 19.3 (6th)                 DEN 18.5 (4th)
3rd Down%:                   CAR 37.9 (T13th)             DEN 35.2 (7th)

Kickoff Forecast: 65 degrees and clear, 0% chance of precipitation, NE winds 4-6 MPH
National Anthem: Lady Gaga
Halftime: Coldplay and Beyoncé

All-Time Series: Denver 3-1 (last meeting Nov. 11, 2012, Denver 36 at Carolina 14)
All-Time in Super Bowl:
CAR: 0-1 (lost XXXVIII to New England 32-29)
DEN: 2-5 (lost XII to Dallas 27-10, lost XXI to N.Y. Giants 39-20, lost XXII to Washington 42-10, lost XXIV to San Francisco 55-10, won XXXII over Green Bay 31-24, won XXXIII over Atlanta 34-19, lost XLVIII to Seattle 43-8)

Additional Note: Denver QB Peyton Manning 1-2 in Super Bowl (won XLI with Indianapolis over Chicago 29-17, lost XLIV with Indianapolis to New Orleans 31-17, lost XLVIII with Denver to Seattle 43-8).

Cam Newton was not only the league’s Offensive Player of the Year but the Most Valuable Player as well, as the Panthers rolled through the NFC annihilating the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the championship game. Newton compiled 45 total touchdowns, dancing and having fun all the way. It was not nearly that kind of season for Peyton Manning, missing all or part of seven games due to injury and coaches’ decisions. This could be the first of a few opportunities for Cam, but it will almost certainly be the last for Peyton.

Still nothing official, but every indication is this is the end for Manning, one of the greats ever to play the position. Saving the Broncos home field in Week 17, and his two playoff victories, has redeemed the potential conclusion of his career elevating him back to the role of heroic figure, not merely a sympathetic one. But his task is a tall one in this game, and the Panthers will make him show he still has a few more downfield throws left in him.

Defensively, despite being the league’s best this season, the task is no less daunting for Denver. Cam has captivated the league with his unequalled dual-threat abilities—and more than that, his immense leadership has always provided anything Carolina has needed.

Carolina will try to control the ball, but the deep ball is a big threat with Ted Ginn and Corey Brown, a dimension Denver is unlikely to possess. The Panthers are deeper and faster than the Broncos and Cam closes his MVP season with a championship: Carolina 34, Denver 13.