Cleat Geeks

The Panther Post: Super Bowl Edition

I won’t sugar coat it:  I fully expect the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50.  Apparently, so do the people in Las Vegas who have tabbed the Panthers as 5 1/2 point favorites over the Denver Broncos. I honestly don’t think it should be that close.NFL Network

We’ve all heard the expression “over-analysis leads to paralysis.”  Well, after two weeks of “analysis” by every “expert” in the NFL universe, I think it’s safe to say that most NFL fans ears have been paralyzed to any more opinions.  But in the simplest way possible, I’d like to present one more. Here are the three main reasons why I see the Carolina Panthers hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night:

  1. The offense is too multi-dimensional to be stopped. Most NFL offenses have a certain level of predictability. Teams pass out of certain formations, run out of others.  The Panthers under Mike Shula are completely unpredictable. Out of any given formation there is the option to run or pass. It is almost impossible to predict a play call based on formation alone. Spare me the argument that Denver had the #1 defense in the NFL this season.  Seattle was #2.  Arizona was #5.  The Panthers put up 80 points on the two combined.  In the playoffs.
  2. The defense is the equal or better than the Broncos.  The Panthers ranked 6th in the NFL in total yards allowed and 6th in points allowed.  The Broncos ranked 1st in total yards, and 4th in points allowed.  Not much difference.  The reason the argument can be made that the Panthers defense is actually better is because of the offenses.  Denver ranked 19th in the NFL in points scored this year at 22.2 points per game. The Panthers were #1 in points scored at 31.2 points per game. The Broncos defense was forced to play hard for 60 minutes every game because the offense was so anemic that their games were invariably close.  The Panthers scored so much that inevitably, late in games, the opposition would frantically be trying to catch catch up by passing the ball and getting out of their normal routine as an offense.  It’s the kind of skewing of numbers that can’t actually be seen on the stat sheet, but to ignore this fact makes no sense.CamManning50
  3. It’s their time, and it’s obvious.  Most people who have spent any time around the Panthers this season have remarked at how close knit this group is. CB Josh Norman has said repeatedly that he has never been on a team at any level that was closer than this.  From the dabbing and dancing from soon-to-be league MVP Cam Newton, to the unassuming defensive leadership of Thomas Davis and Luke Keuchly, to the team sideline-selfies, the Panthers have unapologetically been themselves all season long.  They won’t change for the Super Bowl.  They are 17-1 for a reason:  they are the best team in the NFL.  With apologies to the great Peyton Manning, I’m counting on them to prove that to the world on Sunday.

Panthers 26, Broncos 13

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