Super Bowl 50 Preview; Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
For most, this is a game that has been dreamt about for years, even decades. For others, Super Bowl 50 is a game they’ve played in before, but is more important than ever. On Sunday, February 7, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will face off in a game that will result in one team being crowned the 2016 NFL Champions in Super Bowl 50
Road to the Super Bowl
On September 13, 2015, nobody was aware that a dynasty was about to take flight. When Cam Newton led his Panthers squad out onto the field that day to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it marked the start of an unbelievable journey. They ended up defeating the Jags 20-9 and set the tone for the rest of the season.
Soon enough, they went into their week-5 bye on a four-game winning streak. They had all the momentum they needed to continue their stellar play for weeks to come. Game after game, week after week, the Panthers found themselves without much competition. Week 10 came along and the Panthers still found themselves with a 9-0 unbeaten record.
Five wins later, sitting at the top of the standings, the Panthers were 14-0 as they headed into their Week 16 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Two games prior, the Panthers handed it to the Falcons in a win that concluded 38-0. Feeling confident, and two games away from completing a perfect regular season, the Panthers weren’t expecting the Falcons to keep it so close. The end result of that game gave Carolina their first – and only – loss of the season. It was a 20-13 loss that stunned the team, but didn’t hold them back. They ended the season with a 38-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, extending their regular-season record to 15-1.
Ready for what the postseason had in store for them, Carolina wasn’t about to hold anything back. They started their postseason journey against the Seattle Seahawks. It was a close game, but the Panthers ultimately prevailed and won by a touchdown, 31-24. With one win on Cam’s belt, it was time to prepare for the next game against the Arizona Cardinals. Coming off a close game, Panthers’ fans still held little doubt in their team. Without a problem, the Panthers ousted the Cardinals 49-15 to easily secure their spot in the 50th Super Bowl.
The Denver Broncos’ regular season started off much like their Super Bowl opponent. Although they were tight games for the most part, the Broncos had the same, unbeaten record through the first 7 games of the season. Only two of those games saw a margin of victory in the double digits, and one of those wins came in an overtime effort against the Cleveland Browns on October 18th, right before their bye week.
In the last game of the first half of the season, the Broncos were really hoping to leave 8-0. However, the Indianapolis Colts were up to the challenge. The game was tight throughout, ending in a 27-24 Denver defeat. Their troubles continued through week 10, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 13-29.
Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning was forced to deal with injuries most of the first half of the season. In their November 15th matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Peyton threw for his worst performance in his career. Even though he knew he wasn’t feeling 100%, he proceeded to play through the injury to his right foot, which cost his team the victory.
Manning sat out the rest of the season, except for the little bit he played in their last regular season game. The team’s ruthless defense stepped up, which was the main reason they fought their way to a 12-4 season.
The playoffs for the Broncos started against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was an intense, tough 60 minutes that ended in a 23-16 victory for Denver. That game was followed by a matchup against the offensive nightmare that call themselves the New England Patriots. Again, the stingy Denver defense shut down the opposing offense. The Broncos were able to squeeze through the end with a 20-18 victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Now, the Broncos have found themselves on the last step towards their ultimate season goal. The only thing standing in their way are the Carolina Panthers.
Super Bowl 50 is set to kickoff at 6:30 pm eastern time on Sunday, February 7th. Don’t miss it!