All good things must come to an end . . . sort of. This has been a fantastic season full of spectacular plays, season changing injuries, pressure moments, and an almost perfect season. Plus, we are witnessing the concluding moments of a storied career. The match-up between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers pits the number four and number six scoring allowed defenses, against the number one and number nineteen scoring offenses, respectively. The Panthers season has been a Cinderella Story while the Broncos season has been a story of perseverance in the face of diversity. A young buck puts his talents to the test against the number one yardage allowed defense in the league, while a future Hall of Famer gets his last chance at a Super Bowl ring. This could well be the greatest Super Bowl ever!
The writers, editors, producers, and sports personalities below share their Super Bowl 50 predictions, perspectives, and picks for the big game. As to who the consensus winner is, it’s closer than you think. Enjoy the game!
— Jim Saranteas, Managing Editor/Creator, The FantasyGreek.com
Jim Weidner, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
Carolina Panthers. If you love watching defense, this could be the Super Bowl for you. Both the Broncos and Panthers have defenses that are upper echelon. So, it will come down to which offense can do anything in this game and that advantage has to go to the Panthers led by Cam Newton. Newton has a cannon arm and has the athletic ability of a wide receiver and the size of a linebacker. As much as I would like to see Peyton Manning go out on top, I just don’t see it happening. @JimWediner51
Chad Bellin, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
Super Bowl 50 features the league’s two best teams. When Peyton Manning was put back into the starting lineup, you could feel that this might be his year. In his “last rodeo” — a la John Elway — Manning and the Broncos will prevail by playing excellent defense and doing just enough offensively. Manning will take the MVP award as Denver wins 31-27. @ChadBellin
Rick Briggs, Host/Writer, Asylum Sports
It would be a glorious story to see Peyton Manning leave football on top. With the number one ranked defense, anything is possible. Still, the only advantage Manning has on Cam Newton is experience and savvy. Newton adds a dimension that Manning never could: his legs. While I still don’t think Newton is all that accurate a passer, he has proven to be a mature, patient quarterback in 2015, who can kill you in so many ways. The Panthers defense is great at getting after the quarterback and Newton has too many offensive weapons for the fairy tale to continue. Panthers 34 – Broncos 23. @AsylumFootball
Kenny Roda, Host, The Kenny Roda Show, News-Talk 1480 WHBC.com
Before the season started I had the Packers beating the Patriots in Super Bowl 50 — wrong! So my predictions didn’t hold up. Close but no cigar. So….Take this for what it’s worth, and if you use it to wager in Vegas and lose don’t blame me, but I see it Panthers 31 – Broncos 20. The Panthers have the league’s offensive and defensive MVPs in youngsters Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly and together, they will trump old man Peyton. @TheKennyRoda
Howie Sylvester, Executive Producer, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Panthers by 76. The Broncos only got by the Patriots because the Pats were using Foxboro middle school crossing guards for offensive linemen. The Broncos defense is pretty good, but Cam Newton’s versatility will befuddle them, and this game will look a lot like the Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl from a few years back. And, oh yeah, Peyton Manning. That too. @howiesyl
Gary Dickman, Host of The Sports Animals, ESPN1420AM.com
My prediction for The Super Bowl is tough for me, and this might be thinking with my heart, not my head, but I’m going with the Broncos. The Panthers are a great team, and seems to be the favorite. But, I can see a perfect last chapter to Peyton Manning’s career. It feels like Peyton Manning has one more great game in him. He’s smart and most of Denver’s team has played in the Super Bowl compared to the Panthers. And, when you throw in the best defense in the NFL, Peyton Manning will be going to Disneyland next week. I hope. @SportsAnimals
Joel Silverberg, Producer, Sports Radio WNML
As much as I love the idea of a made-for-TV-movie about Peyton Manning coming off the bench in the regular season finale to lead the Broncos to a title before riding off into the sunset, I don’t like what I saw in Denver’s offense during the second half of the AFC Championship. The Panthers have some real studs on defense to go along with a balanced offense, a matchup that puts a lot of pressure on Von Miller and the Broncos defense. The Broncos defense will keep this from being a repeat of the massacre by the Seahawks from two years ago, but the Panthers will get enough out of their offense to get Carolina its first Super Bowl win. @JoelSilverberg
Rob Dennis, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
Broncos 30 – Panthers 20. Why: The focus on this game has so heavily shifted to the quarterbacks that the world seems to have forgotten we are dealing with two great defenses, in Denver’s case, historically so. I see these two defenses rising to the occasion and I think both quarterbacks will have more pedestrian numbers than the norm. The Broncos will be able to find some run gaps against the Panthers overly aggressive run defense, enough for a couple of scores. Cam Newton will be forced to make the magic happen but the Broncos rush and secondary will harass him into a couple of mistakes. The Broncos will follow the Falcons blueprint from a few weeks back, work the clock, and shut down the Panthers on third down. Expect Peyton Manning to slip a bomb past a drawn in Panthers secondary for a clinching score. Manning walks off with ring number two.
Scott Gramling, Managing Editor, StatFox.com
While the Panthers have benefited greatly from turnovers throughout the regular season and playoffs, which has fueled their defense and offense, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning hasn’t thrown an interception in 78 pass attempts since returning to the lineup last month. Having seen the Panthers struggle down the stretch in nearly losing big leads late in games to the Saints, Giants, and Seahawks over the past two months, I can’t help but think that it’ll be the defense with the ability to close—the NFL’s top-ranked defense and one the only one to rack up more than 50 sacks during the regular season—that will ultimately prevail in what I expect to be a tight contest. Denver 20 – Panthers 17.
Rachel Wold, CEO, FantasyFootballChick.com
The Denver Broncos will be crowned the champions at Peyton Manning’s “last rodeo” in Super Bowl 50.
Manning is one of the most studied in the business and his experience in reading an opposing defense will prevail against his quarterback counterpart. The Panthers’ defense is no joke, though it let some of the NFL’s more mature quarterbacks pass for some substantial yardage and touchdowns in 2015. Fine examples of quarterbacks finding some success against the Panthers defense were Drew Brees and Eli Manning who passed for a combined 527 yards and seven touchdowns in Week 13 and 15. True, Manning has slowed down some, but he still has some amazing receiving weapons at his disposal. And, Newton can only hope the Broncos’ defense might be as generous. Over the course of the 2015 season, Denver’s defense allowed the least amount of passing yards and touchdowns from opposing quarterbacks.
Experience and maturity reigns victorious over youth and flare in Super Bowl 50.
Matt Timmerberg, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense will face their biggest test of the season, but they’ve hardly been slowed down by anyone yet. Carolina is a more balanced team overall, which enables them to win shootouts, and close, lower scoring games. The Panthers defense has also dominated their past two games by forcing turnovers, and continually putting the offense in good field position. I don’t expect Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense to be able to sustain enough long drives to give their defense a breather, or score enough points to keep up with the Panthers. Cam Newton also seems to be one of those special players that is able to will his team to victory, and that should be the case as he wins his first Super Bowl with the Panthers. Panthers 30 – Broncos 17.
Sammy Bissett, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
I want to see Peyton go out on top. However, I think the Broncos need to go up tempo on this young and sometimes overly aggressive Panthers defense. Is that possible with Peyton’s arm? I’m not convinced. However, I do believe the Panthers offense can go toe-to-toe with the Broncos defense. I see Newton taking home his second MVP honor of the year in a 27-20 victory over Denver. @SammyBissett
John Malioris, Jr., Host, The Johnnie Bobbo Show, LateNightSportsRadio.com
Watching Peyton Manning and his offensive tackles struggle when the Patriots ramped up the pressure, expect Sean McDermott and the Panthers defense to do the same in the hopes of adding to their NFL leading 32 interceptions (26 regular season, 6 playoffs). On the flip-side, mirroring the 2011 draft order, Super Bowl 50 will finish with Cam Newton one, and Von Miller two, when the Panthers offensive line anchored by all-pro center Ryan Kalil lend enough time for ‘Superman Cam’ to take advantage of a dinged Broncos secondary, to become the first player in NFL history with a Super Bowl win, National Championship, Heisman Trophy, and junior Championship, credited to his name. Panthers 27 – Broncos 20. @Maloris
Alexander George, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
My pick is for the Denver Broncos. Look for the running game to be the main time consuming focal point of the Broncos offense with Peyton Manning being a game manager. On defense, the Broncos will load the box and slow Cam Newton and the Panthers’ running game from being effective. The Broncos secondary will play the Panthers wide receivers and tight ends in close man-to-man coverage, thereby resulting in a few turnovers. Just like the AFC Championship game, look for a very tight, close scoring game. Broncos 20 – Panthers 17. @AG2000000
Fred Goodman, Contributor, TheFantasyGreek.com
I’m sorry, but before you anoint Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers as runaway winners in the 50th Super Bowl, the NFL’s number one defense might have something to say about it. The Broncos were the top defense this year in total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and third in rushing yards. That speaks volumes in the postseason. Cam will feel it, Cam’s mediocre corps of receivers will feel it, and Denver will send Peyton Manning off into the sunset with a 23-17 win. A late interception will seal it for the Broncos!
Jim Saranteas, Managing Editor, TheFantasyGreek.com
Champions play their best football in the post season, on both sides of the ball. In the recent past, we’ve seen this hold true with the Giants, Patriots, Seahawks, and Ravens. So, it is with the Panthers. If there is one ‘thing’ which tips the scales in favor of the Panthers, it is the Broncos inability to protect the quarterback. The Broncos were borderline top twelve in most quarterback smacks allowed and continue to experience problems in the postseason, allowing eleven smacks to the Panthers five. This has materially affected the Broncos passing game — something Gary Kubiak has deemphasized — all season long. The Panthers offense and defense has beaten almost everyone. If the Broncos are going to win this game, it will have to be on the backs of their defense and by protecting Manning. Broncos 17 – Panthers 24. @JimSaranteas