(What I wrote a year ago)
Brads NFL Picks – Super Bowl 50
Two Weeks ago – the Conference Championship games:
Denver 20 Patriots 18 – The game wasn’t quite as close as the score indicates. Manning made a bonehead play in the 1st quarter when he threw a lateral to Ronnie Hillman, who wasn’t looking for it. Cheaters recovered at the Bronco 22. A 21 yard pass and a one yard run and the Cheaters had a TD.
Both teams scored two TDs and two FGs. But Gostkowski missed the PAT after that first TD, so late in the game the Cheaters had to go for two after their second TD. That failed, so the two point win by the Broncos.
The fun part of the game was watching Cheater Brady get the shizz beat out of him. He was hit 20 times (23 by some accounts) and sacked four times. He was pressured on 50% of his 61 dropbacks.
Carolina 49 Cardinals 15 – Cardinals QB Carson Palmer is given a lot of credit for carrying the team to the NFCCG. But he was terrible in the game. Six turnovers – 4 INTs and two lost fumbles. Cards turned it over once more on a muffed punt by Patrick Peterson. Carolina turned it over once, on a Cam Newton INT by Patrick Peterson. Those turnovers were pretty much the game.
Super Bowl 50:
Carolina Panthers (17 – 1) at Denver Broncos (14 – 4) – The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Weather looks to be perfect – clear skies and temp in the mid 60s at kickoff.
Las Vegas is giving the Broncos 6 points.
Interesting matchup. Carolina’s HC, Ron Rivers, has been the HC for five years. Carolina’s QB, Cam Newton, has been the starting QB for five years. I don’t think he missed a snap this year.
Broncos fired HC John Fox last January, and hired Gary Kubiak. Kubiak arrived with his run first scheme, not something Peyton Manning likes. Broncos started 7-0, mostly because of stellar defense.
Then the wheels came off Manning. Plantar fascitis left him lame, and he lost two games. Peyton threw 17 INTs the first 9 games. Enter Brock Osweiler, who led the team to a 5-2 record. Broncos finished the regular season 12 – 4.
Somehow, someway, Kubiak kept the offense together (Wade Phillips took care of the defense) and with Peyton back at QB, and playing well (the lost lateral was his only turnover in two and a half games) the Broncos offense is looking pretty good. The O line was pretty sorry for much of the year, but veteran guards Evan Mathis and Louis Vasquez are healthy now. Matt Paradis, the second year center, has been playing very well the last six games or so. Let’s pray that second year RT Michael Schofield keeps up the good work he’s shown the last couple of games. Ryan Harris is a steady LT.
Broncos are going to win this game. The defense is insanely good. They won’t get to Cam as often as they got to Brady (Carolina’s O line is better, and Cam is more mobile and Carolina has a very good running game) but they will get hits on Cam and, more importantly, will be in his head all game. Wade Phillips and his gang is going to school young Cam.
Peyton Manning is playing like he’s a couple years younger. The hybrid offense that Kubiak and Peyton have worked out is peaking. They’ll do more damage to the Panther’s D than Cam will to the Broncos D.
And I’m betting that the Broncos special teams will do better than Carolina’s. (Brandon McManus is 7 for 7 in FGs in the playoffs.)
A few things to remember:
Carolina wears down in games. Look at the Seattle game – 31-0 at the half with a final score of 31 – 24. Carolina is plus 162 points in the first half this year, plus 61 in the 2nd,
Cam Newton was the first overall pick in 2011, Von Miller the second. I bet Von gets a couple sacks today.
Broncos have averaged 128 on the ground per game the last 9 games. 4.2 per carry.
DeMarcus Ware missed all but one-half during the Broncos 4 losses. Ware is healthy today.
Broncos defense is even better when the oppo keeps an extra person (or two) in to pass block. When that happens, the opposing QBs rating is a measly 26.
Gonna be a good game. Viewers with no dog in the fight will be entertained. Carolina and Denver fans will have white knuckles for a lot of the game, but I see the Broncos winning going away.