At the beginning of the NFL season, I predicted the Colts would defeat the Packers in the Super Bowl in one of my blogs. Although I was completely wrong, I did correctly say that the Patriots would lose in the AFC championship game.
Nevertheless, the Carolina Panthers square off against the Denver Broncos Sunday Feb. 7. at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
While the Panthers come in favored led by potential NFL MVP Cam Newton, I believe they will be heavily challenged by the Broncos defense.
Broncos Pass Defense will limit Cam Newton
It starts at the cornerback position, where the Broncos have two all-pro players. Aqib Talib leads the Broncos with three interceptions, including two of them returned for a touchdown. He will not allow any big plays to Panthers wide receivers Corey Brown or Ted Ginn Jr.
Chris Harris Jr. is also a pro bowl CB for the Broncos who will cause matchup problems for the Panthers WR who are not a major threat.
The Panthers best pass option is tight end Greg Olsen who has had a superb year with 77 receptions, 1,104 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, according to NFL.com.
I do not expect for Newton to throw for more than 200 yards.
Can the Outside Linebackers get to Newton?
Outside linebackers Von Miller and Demarcus Ware are the leaders of the Broncos front seven who were also selected to go to the Pro Bowl. Miller leads the team with 11 sacks while Ware has 7.5 sacks, according to ESPN.com. They will have to try to contain Newton in the pocket and not allow him to run down field. Newton will likely convert key third downs on scrambles.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos are led by future hall of fame QB Peyton Manning, who will want to build on his legacy with a second super bowl victory.
He will find success by throwing to whomever Panthers all-pro CB Josh Norman is not covering. Emmanuel Sanders might be called on to have a large day for the Broncos.
It will be a tight one, but I see the Broncos finding a way to pull it by scoring with less than one minute left to seal the game, thanks to your Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.
I predict the Broncos will beat the Panthers, 31-24.