Alright I’m back. I’ve scraped myself off the floor after that miserable ending to the Patriots’ season and I’ve decided to rejoin civilization. But obviously I’m doing it with a huge chip on my shoulder towards Peyton Manning and crew. But despite how everyone in New England is acting, there IS a football game this Sunday.Monday night they had ‘Opening Night’ for the Super Bowl – which just proves how absurd the media coverage has become for all of the NFL events. The NFL draft now spans 4 days, and the Super Bowl is such a massive and iconic event that the Monday leading up to the Super Bowl requires a primetime event. But at this point there has probably been more chatter about Cam Newton’s wardrobe choices, and for good reason. Those pants were a bold choice homie – one that made Russell Westbrook proud – but he pulled it off with some serious swag and that permeates through the Panthers locker room right now.
So in all seriousness, I wanted to somehow find a way to talk myself into the Broncos having a chance in this game. Peyton Manning told Belichick before the AFC Championship that this was probably his ‘last rodeo’ and we all suspected as much. So the football purest in me wants one of the all-time greats to walk off into the sunset like John Elway did. But I just can’t bridge the disconnect between my head and my heart. To be fair – my heart has a fairly weak attachment to Peyton’s storybook ending. I mean he isn’t Tom Brady, so a big part of me hopes he gets embarrassed AGAIN on the biggest stage.
So really what chance does Denver have in this game? On the surface they are as likely to win this game as LeBron James is to admit he got David Blatt fired. Not a chance in hell baby. All the Broncos supporters may be puffing on some grade A (and legal) purple haze out there in Colorado if they think they’re winning this game. The Panthers were up 31-0 against the Seahawks before they took their foot off the gas, and didn’t that mistake twice as they laid a playground-style beating on the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game. This just in – the two defenses that they lit up were no slouch, so I don’t think they’ll be intimidated by Von Miller and company.
Meanwhile if Stephen FUCKING Gostowski didn’t miss an extra point for the first time in 7 seasons, the Broncos might not even be playing in this game. You bet your ass I’m still bitter…but I’ll move past it at some point (probably by week 5 of next season). Peyton Manning can’t make all the throws he needs to in order to beat an upper-echelon defense. He does enough at this point to manage the game and get his team in the right playcalls at the line of scrimmage. But the Panthers present issues that he didn’t have to worry about against the Steelers or Patriots.
- They have a serious #1 cover corner that can eliminate their best receiver. No offense to my boy Malcolm Butler but he’s not at that level yet. Josh Norman is. He’s routinely made the top receiving options disappear this season and talks a TON of shit while he does it – see ODB’s meltdown as proof of that.
- They have arguably the two best cover linebackers in the NFL in Luuuuuuuke Keuchly and Thomas Davis. Now there’s a chance…albeit a minor one…that Davis won’t play based on the injury he sustained against the Cardinals. But it’s the Super Bowl, and this dude has been through the ringer in his career so there’s no way he’s sitting out of this game unless a doctor knocks him unconscious.
- They are an aggressive team and extremely physical at the point of attack. Denver has run the ball better of late, but they still have that feel of a finesse team – and to Carolina that’s like smelling blood in the water.
So my official Super Bowl 50 prediction is…that we experience:
4 Cam Newton touchdowns (2 passing and 2 running)
3 turnovers by Peyton Manning (2 interceptions and 1 fumble)
2 minor brawls instigated by Josh Norman
1 depressed Peyton Manning as the clock runs down
0 wardrobe malfunctions in the halftime show