​The Denver Broncos will win Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning and the Broncos ‘D’ will prevail over a red-hot Carolina team

I can already see it.

This very well may be Peyton Manning’s last game – his last time to be on top of the game he dominated for so many years. Super Bowl 50 maybe one final time to prove to doubters that his arm strength issues are in the past. The last time he could show all of his doubters that “The Sheriff” still has one more showdown in him.

Of course, it will be Manning who will receive the praise if the Broncos defeat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. But in all fairness, he will be receiving praise for another chapter in his storybook career. The real credit will go to the players who will shut down newly crowned MVP Cam Newton.

Defense wins championships.

I’ve been told that very phrase my entire life, even during the offensive-minded game the NFL is today. The last two Super Bowl were won by teams with top-10 defenses. From 2006 – 2012, four teams won it all with defenses lower than 17, three lower than 20. Before 2006, all but four teams that won the big game had top-10 defenses.

Three’s a trend. Defense will prevail for the third straight year.

I know, that means I’m betting against a red-hot Panthers offense led by one of the most talented players to ever start at quarterback in the NFL.

Doesn’t matter in the Super Bowl though.

Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning. They all have great arms, proven winners and strong defenses. But they’re not scrambling quarterbacks. Same goes for Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Brad Johnson. These are most of the Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in the past 15 years. And other than Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, these players are known for their arms and much less about their legs.

Mobile quarterbacks haven’t had much success in the Super Bowl as of late. In the past three years, Wilson played twice and San Francisco 49ers backup QB Colin Kaepernick played in 2013. Wilson went 1-1 and Kaepernick lost to the Baltimore Ravens in his lone trip.

Newton marks the fourth straight mobile quarterback to make it to a Super Bowl. It’s not a trend that’s going away anytime soon. NFL quarterbacks are rising quicker than ever. And Newton may be the best.

But he does have his vulnerabilities.

Look past the care-free, fan-favorite “dabbing” individual he is, and remember that “Superman” even has moments of defeat.

The Panthers, charging toward a perfect record, lost to a struggling Atlanta Falcons team 20-13, giving Carolina its first loss of the season in Week 16. More recently, the Seahawks only lost by a touchdown and was potentially one game-winning drive away toward a third consecutive trip to the NFC Championship.

It was the Panthers’ 31-point first half that won them the game. In all fairness to the dominating Carolina defense and high-tempo offense, the Panthers played the second half of that game as if they were the overwhelming underdog. Seattle, quietly, put up all of its points that half by exposing Carolina’s secondary. 

I’ll admit, Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is great, but he’s not at that level of lockdown corners like Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman. He also isn’t great when locked against a top-tier No. 1 receiver. Remember the Odell Beckham-Norman saga? For all of the trash talk, Beckham still put up a respectable 76 yards and a touchdown.

That’s not lockdown material for me.

Sub out Beckham and tap in Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Although a quiet postseason, he managed over 1,300 receiving yards and six touchdowns. And that was with newcomer Osweiler as his quarterback for most of the season.

Now, he has the gunslinger.

No one has faith in Manning. But this is the same player that everyone bet on to defeat the underdog Seahawks in 2014. He out-dueled Brady in a classic matchup of two of the best in this era two weeks ago. He proved he can do it one more time.

I don’t question his arm strength. You don’t need to hurl it down the field unless in a Hail Mary situation. Precision beats power and Manning has mastered that trade. He’ll hit his targets, he’ll adjust to a tricky Panther’s ‘D’ and he’ll be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy by the end of the night.

Jordan Grossman is the co-Senior Sports Editor and can be reached at jordan.grossman@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jordanmgrossman