Lanthorn sports staff Super Bowl 50 predictions
Five of seven writers pick Newton, Panthers to sail to victory
Adam Knorr -- Broncos 23, Panthers 20
Cam Newton this. Cam Newton that. Wrong. Vonnie B'Vsean Miller is the best linebacker in the NFL, along with having the best full name of any player, and the only thing stopping this game from being a blowout will be a two-touchdown performance by Mike "Sugar Bear" Tolbert for Carolina.
The Broncos improbably, impossibly topped the GOAT pair of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to reach Super Bowl 50. Few people are giving Denver a shot to so much as compete in this game, but the Denver defense is too good to overlook. Is Peyton Manning still good? Well, no, not really. But Manning learned behind Todd Helton for a year, and Helton ended up being perhaps the greatest Colorado Rockie of all-time. Manning can't live in Helton's Mile High shadow forever. He throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns -- both to Emmanuel Sanders, as the Broncos shock the sports world. Peyton Manning runs off on the plug, twice, replacing champagne with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, shunning Newton and the dab.
Beau Troutman -- Panthers 28, Broncos 13
Cam Newton. Need I say more? I’m taking the Panthers over the Broncos primarily because of their MVP-caliber quarterback and stellar defense. Yes, you could technically say the Broncos have both of those things, but let’s be real. Peyton Manning was an MVP candidate five years ago, and that defense will only be able to carry the Broncos’ shaky offense for so long. With the absence of Kelvin Benjamin, the lack of a primary skill player might be troublesome for Carolina against a very good Denver D. But I don’t think Peyton will be able to keep the offense on the field long enough for the defensive guys to catch their breath. In the end, the speed of the Panthers’ Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown will be enough firepower for Cam to work with. Manning has had a storybook career, but it looks to me like it won’t have a happy ending.
Josh Peick -- Panthers 27, Broncos 13
Carolina's defense is going to be too much for Peyton Manning and the rest of the Broncos' offense. Manning's arm just isn't the same as it used to be. He has little power behind his throws, and Josh Norman and Co. for Carolina will be able to break on the ball and make plays. The Broncos' defense will give Carolina all it can handle, but Cam Newton looks unstoppable right now. I don't think the game will be very close.
Mason Tronsor -- Panthers 24, Broncos 21
The key matchup in this game will be the Broncos' stout defense against "Super Cam" and the Panthers' high-flying offense. This also might be legendary quarterback Peyton Manning's final game, so the Broncos should play out of their minds for him. In the end, though, this reminds me of the Super Bowl a couple of years ago when the Seahawks defeated the Broncos. I think the Panthers are that next upstart team in the NFL. Cam Newton has won a Heisman Trophy and an NCAA National Championship. If he adds Super Bowl to those accolades, he really is "Super Cam."
Brady McAtamney -- Panthers 30, Broncos 16
Anyone who watched football once this season (except maybe Week 16) knows that the Panthers are THE team this season, and while few have the postseason experience of Peyton "Noodle Arm" Manning, Cam Newton and ferocious Carolina will more than offset the ol' man's expertise (or lack thereof, considering the 43-8 shellacking he received from Seattle two years prior). Yes, Denver's defense is nasty, but it will be hard to stop the dynamic Newton when he gets the ball in his own territory several times due to Peyton's limp lobs to avoid an inevitable sack.
Alex Eisen -- Panthers 45, Broncos 3
Flashbacks to the nightmare blowout of Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks for the Denver Broncos as Peyton Manning implodes in his final NFL game. Meanwhile, Cam Newton dances around and dabs his way to the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award. Maybe. I don’t really care, I'll always be a Detroit Lions supporter. I know. Go ahead, point and laugh. I'm used to it. The Carolina Panthers are representing the NFC and wear blue, so there is that. I’ll be content with an eventful game and commercials that live up to the absurd Super Bowl hype.
Jacob Arvidson -- Broncos 31, Panthers 28
The team with the ball at the end will win this game. The Broncos have a prolific defense, arguably the greatest in franchise history, but Cam Newton and the Panthers have put together an offensive juggernaut. I think the Broncos will get just enough pressure on Newton to slow the Panthers down. Peyton Manning will do the rest. This year has been a massive struggle for Manning, but he will be rested and has one last bit of magic left. After the win, he will announce his retirement.