Why the Panthers will win the Super Bowl

Super Bowl 50The Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl for the same reason the Auburn Tigers won the 2011 BCS National Championship: Cameron Newton.

The Denver Broncos have a good defense, make no mistake about it. But they aren’t exactly the ’85 Bears or ’00 Ravens….(hell, are they even as good as the ’13 Seahawks that smoked Manning in the Super Bowl??)… They finished the season as the No. 1 defense in terms of Total Defense. Guess who ranked No. 2 and No. 5 in Total Defense. Yup, the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers obliterated those defenses, tallying a combined 55-7 halftime lead. So the Panthers could give two fucks that they have to play a “fast, aggressive” defense. Actually, that plays right into the Carolina Panthers offensive strengths.

Denver’s interior defenders collapsed the pocket while Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware raced by the offensive tackles against the Patriots. They knocked down Tom Brady 20 times! That was the most knockdowns in any game this season….and they were still a two-point conversion away from overtime.   They had a meet you at the quarterback party on pretty much every passing down because they knew where to find the quarterback. Sure, Tom Brady is flirting with GOAT status, but he doesn’t exactly scare you with his legs. Pass rush that aggressive against the Panthers and Cam will gouge you up the middle. He wants to beat you from the pocket with his howitzer arm, but he doesn’t shy away from tucking the ball and transforming into a running back. And why not, he’s as big (if not bigger) than all of Denver’s starting linebackers:

  • Von Miller                           6’3” 250 lbs.
  • Danny Trevathan             6’1” 240 lbs.
  • Brandon Marshall            6’1” 250 lbs.
  • DeMarcus Ware               6’4” 258 lbs.
  • Cam Newton                     6’5” 245 lbs.
Is it a QB?  Is it a RB?  No! It's SuperCam!

Is it a QB? Is it a RB? No! It’s SuperCam!

Carolina will also do something that New England failed to do: run the football! Ginger King thinks he’s old school. And I guess he is in a drinking-wine-coolers-in-his-parents-basement-while-making-prank-phone-calls-on-a-Friday-night kind of way. That’s cool. He was quick to point out the importance of defense winning championships. But isn’t the old adage “run the ball and stop the run”. And Carolina more than checks those two boxes. A healthy Jonathan Stewart, human-bowling ball Mike Tolbert, and Cam Newton form a formidable 1-2-3 punch that can attack you from various formations and schemes.

Kicking it old school isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Kicking it old school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Carolina can play some defense too, they checked in at 6th in Total Defense for the year. They’ve got All-Pro defenders at each level: Kanwann Short, Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman. Norman has the ability to cancel out either Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, while Kuechly is a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine. Peyton has yet to turn the ball over in the playoffs, but isn’t that what a game manager is supposed to do against two average (at best) defenses in Pittsburgh and New England? How will he handle this loaded front-7 and aggressive secondary? Will he continue to be methodical and beat them underneath, or will he cave like the last time he played a defense this good, this late? I’m guessing his turnoverless streak ends on Sunday.

Peyton Manning duck hunting open season starts Sunday!

Open Season of Peyton Manning duck hunting starts Sunday.

Cam Newton represents a new breed of NFL quarterback. A height/weight/speed specimen that can make all the reads, throws and drop dimes all over the field from the pocket; but whom can do equally as much damage with his legs. This type of quarterbacking isn’t a fad; this will be the fourth consecutive Super Bowl featuring such a quarterback under center (Kaepernick, Wilson x2). What separates Cam from those other two is that his size makes him impossible to defend on short yard and goalline situations. But it’s not his size, arm, or speed that makes Newton so great. It’s his ability to elevate the play of his teammates. He makes a great tight-end in Greg Olson into an All-Pro tight-end. He turns career special-teamer Ted Ginn into a 10-touchdown receiver. Super Bowl Champion sure seems like the next box to get checked:

  • Heisman Trophy
  • BCS National Championship
  • Rookie of the Year
  • All-Pro

newton gifThis game will cement Cam Newton as the face of the NFL. In one fell swoop the NFL can usher out a legend and start a new chapter with someone as equally charismatic, charming and talented in Cam Newton. In a league so anally conscientious about its image, about protecting “The Shield”, they have a minority quarterback that can relate to and inspire a new generation of kids (ie. the future talent pool and more importantly: season-ticket holders and merchandise-hawks). Cam Newton winning, succeeding – his way – is the best possible scenario for the future of the National Football League.

Based on the matchup, I don’t think Denver’s offense can produce more than 13 points. If they catch a break on defense or special teams and return a touchdown that puts them at 20. Even if their defense balls-out for a second consecutive game, I don’t see them holding the Panthers under 20 points.

I think we are in for an entertaining Super Bowl.  Give me Riverboat Ron and the Carolina Panthers. Give me Cam. Let me dab.

Panthers 24, Denver 20

(The Carolina -5.5 point line is a bit out of whack.  It originally started at -3, but as late as Friday almost 90% of the money coming in was on the Panthers.  This forced the line to steadily increase throughout the week to -5.5.  Saturday saw a huge swing, with money pouring in on the Broncos, including a few six-figure bets.  The money has damn near evened out as of late Saturday night, with a slight 52% edge on the Panthers.  The above score would be a dream scenario for the bettor who got in early on the Panthers -3.5 and late on the Broncos +5.5…..conversely, and this goes without saying, this is the sportsbooks nightmare scenario….it’s happened before!).


Why the Broncos Will Win the Super Bowl

Super Bowl 50The Denver Broncos will win the Super Bowl.  That’s right.  I said it.  All week-long, all I heard was Cam this and Cam that.  The nu skool is taking over.  Take your leather helmet, old balls and go home, grandpa, people told me.  Fucking Roid Rage is outside my house right now dabbing (is that a form of masturbation?).  Well, enough of that shit.  Experience > Youth.  Suck it, millennials.  Let me tell you why, come Sunday, the Broncos will walk away victorious.

As great as Cam is (consensus MVP), let me ask you one, ok two, questions:  What wins championships?  Say it with me:  DE-FENSE (clap, clap) DE-FENSE.  Does Cam play defense?  You can design all the read option (still a gimmick) plays you want, and you can have the best quarterback under center, and it won’t matter for shit against a hard-hitting, fast, aggressive, and smart defense.  And that’s exactly what the Broncos are, and it’s no surprise they’re the number 1 defense in the league.  Did you see what they did to Tom Brady last game?

Winning Championships since 1966.

Winning Championships since 1966.

They play a base 3-4 defense, and there front three of Vance Walker, Sylvester Williams, and Malik Jackson (soon to be the most coveted defensive player in free agency – did you hear me, Jerry Reese?)  Anyway, those three bring consistent pressure, and that allows Wade Phillips (a/k/a the last person to take the Bills to the playoffs) to run many, many different schemes.  Although technically they play a 3-4, oftentimes you will see 4 men on the line, as Von Miller and (ageless) Demarcus Ware will play both down and back.  They are the best in the league in disguising blitzes.  And it all starts from the play up front.  But it certainly doesn’t end there.

They have superb linebacker play.  We already touched upon Ware and Miller, but second year stud Shaquil Barrett tied for the league lead in forced fumbles with 5.  And Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward anchor a prolific secondary.

But best of all, the Broncos D turns great quarterbacks into average ones.  Need proof.  Look no further than this postseason.  Denver played Pittsburgh in the divisional round, and many thought Pittsburgh, with their high-octane offense, would win.  Big Ben had the second best QBR in the league (76.9) during the regular season.  Against the Broncos:  0 tds, and 53.2 QRB.  But what about the Conference Championship game?  So glad you asked.  Denver played New England, the defending Super Bowl Champions.  Again, many people (cough, Roid Rage, cough) thought New England would win.  Tommy Terrific, who led the league with 36 touchdowns and only 7 ints, and a 64.4 QBR, got prison-style pounded.  Stat line:  1 td, 2 int, 22 QBR.  To put that into perspective, Nick Foles had the worst QBR for starting quarterbacks…at 30.

Insert Cam Newton on ground.

Insert Cam Newton on ground.

The Denver Broncos turn quarterbacks into Nick Foles.  Period.  The end.  But we’re just getting started.

But Ginger, you say, Carolina isn’t exactly soft on defense.  They too have a formidable D.  True, but that brings me to my next point.  Injuries.  The Broncos have no significant injuries on their defense.  Carolina has 2 key starters who are injured.  Thomas Davis broke his arm two weeks ago in the NFC Championship Game.  Since then, he’s had surgery, and now has a plate with 11 to 12 screws in his arm.  That’s pretty bad ass, but obviously will be a limiting factor.  Also, Jared Allen is limping into the Super Bowl.  Allen fractured his foot in the playoffs against Seattle, and sat out against Arizona.  With only three weeks to heal, will that give him enough time to be at full strength, to push off to get leverage at the end?  Answer: no.

Wow, I can’t believe I’m 600+ words into this post and haven’t said these two:  Peyton Manning.  Sure, his neck is being held together with super glue and his forehead’s the size of a Buick, but if you think the NFL is not going to have Peyton Manning win his last football game ever, you are bat shit crazy.  Put your tinfoil hat on and hear me out.

One. More. Time.

One. More. Time.

Peyton Manning has given his whole life to football.  He is a football God, and will go down as one of the greatest players of all time.  The consummate professional, who always stressed the team over individual accolades (of which he has many).  The old gunslinger gets a chance to go out on top, and have the storybook ending of all storybook endings.  And you can bet your ass RGI will give it to him.

Peyton PlaneDo you know what the NFL needs right now, more than anything?  A good story.  With CTE, domestic violence and Johnny Manziel appearing in the news daily, the NFL needs a hit.  They need a feel good story to right the wrongs, and shift the country’s attention back to the lighter side of football.  “See honey, football isn’t so bad.  Look at Peyton Manning.  Come on Junior, let’s go sign you up for the youth rec league.”  “Thanks Dad.  I love you, and I love the new, officially licensed NFL jerseys.  Can I get one?”

And, while Peyton hasn’t been the Peyton of old this season, he’s still Peyton-fucking-Manning, and that’s pretty good by most standards.  He’s been efficient (don’t say game manager), effective (don’t say game manager), and strategic (don’t say game manager) this postseason.  Quick:  who has thrown more interceptions in the playoffs, Peyton or Cam?  Answer: Cam.  Peyton’s thrown exactly 0 ints this postseason…not bad for a guy who doesn’t show up in the playoffs.

Another reason Peyton will succeed:  Eli Manning.  Obviously, I can’t write a Super Bowl post without telling you how Eli factors in.  Not only has Eli given Peyton tips on the Patriots, but he also gave him tips on the Panthers.  Little brother’s sage advice will pay off once again.

And that's how you dab.

And that’s how you dab.

Also, Denver has better skill players on offense.  Sure, Greg Olsen is better than any tight end on the Broncos, but I’ll take Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders over Ted Ginn, Jr. and Corey Brown all day long.  Both Thomas and Sanders have over 1,000 receiving yards this season…Thomas has more yards (1,304) than Ginn and Brown combined (1,186).  And in the backfield, CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman provide a better 1-2 punch than Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker.

All the Broncos have done is prove you wrong this postseason.  And they’ll do it again on Sunday.  I think the game will be close and low scoring.  I love the Broncos getting 5.5, and would bet the under, currently at 44.  Defense will rule this game.

Remember the movie Tombstone (note: if you haven’t seen Tombstone, you don’t belong on this site).  Anyway, Peyton is Doc Holliday, a man many thought was too sick and crippled to fight.  But old Doc had one more good one left in him.  Come Sunday, Peyton will show the world he’s got one more left in him.

Doc Holliday

Prediction:  Denver 20, Carolina 17