A Half-Century of Football

By: Ben Boezinger

The culmination of a five-month-long season is finally upon us as the biggest sporting event of the calendar year approaches, and an event that has been tagged as the biggest, deserves two of the biggest teams to battle it out on the gridiron in Santa Clara. Levi Stadium will host the Denver Broncos led by their stellar defensive play this season, while the Carolina Panther’s have been led by superstar Cam Newton and their over-performing defense.

The last time the Broncos were in the Super Bowl they were destroyed in a 43 to 8 triumph courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks. This will be on every Bronco’s mind as the team parades into the stadium before the biggest game of the season. Carolina, on the other hand, will be dabbing and dancing all they way until kickoff. Newton will sport some stylish cleats and gloves, but none of it will matter after 60 minutes of play.

First off, the Denver Broncos. Manning, in what might be his final season, will look to propel forward and do something he hasn’t done all his career. Win a Championship. His brother Eli, the lesser “skilled” of the two in my opinion, has taken his Giants to the Super Bowl and won more times than this future hall of famer. The Bronco’s QB has had somewhat of a disappointing season thus far. He’s 28th in the league in total QBR and had been given a limited role behind future starting QB Brock Osweiler, who then was benched and Hero Manning was back.

Look for Manning to pick his play up to another level he hasn’t seen so far this year, along with his fellow offensive players. I think that people have underlooked C.J. Anderson so far this season. I think Anderson will be one of the winning factors for the Broncos and really take some of the pressure off Manning.

Von Miller has also surprised a few people this season, along with this never before seen Denver defense. The Denver defense ranks first in the following categories: total yards allowed, yards per game, pass yards allowed and pass yards per game.

Pretty strong, and against a Panthers team that relies more on the pass, that should prove as a key for the Broncos’ winning chances. If the Broncos defensive line can push through and play just a smidge bit better than they have this season, they can give Newton fits. And if they put pressure on Newton, then the interceptions will come, which the Broncos lead the league in. If the defense can prevent touchdowns and score some, then that will definitely take some pressure off of Manning and the offense. The turnover battle will be crucial.

Now on to the high-powered Panthers. No doubt if you’ve been relatively paying attention to the sports world this year, then you’ve heard of Newton. Whether it be because of the dab or because he’s actually a legitimate quarterback, he will be tough for Denver to control. The deadliest weapon in the arsenal of Newton no doubt has to be his mobility. He can move in and out of the pocket seamlessly and pick teams apart with his arm.  

And that’s not all. The Panthers have an underrated running back in Jon Stewart. He has breakaway speed to escape the clutches of overpowering linebackers and power through the trenches. It will be a matchup of Danny Trevathan and Stewart. Whoever has more power will be a decisive key in a Super Bowl Victory.

But now to the defensive side of things. No doubt that defensive back Josh Norman will be someone to watch. If the Broncos decide to target him, both Manning and the receiver will have to execute perfectly to beat Norman, and if the defensive line can rush Manning, then that might prevent the Broncos from getting any offense.

On Feb. 7, I predict one of the most intense Super Bowls in the history of the league. Not only will it be Manning’s last game (prediction), I think that the Broncos have learned from that beatdown the last time they were there. The Broncos will execute their defensive gameplan to perfection. Newton will continue his excelled play, along with the surprise breakout of Stewart. Anderson will be the basis of the Broncos offensive play, along with great defensive play of Aqib Talib.

While the Panthers will jump out to a good first half lead, the Broncos will perform in the clutch with a last minute touchdown to secure their third championship. Final score: Denver 28-21.

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