For this week, I will be breaking down the 2016 Super Bowl; including looking at the offenses, defenses, special teams, x-factors and ultimately a prediction. Today’s analysis will be on the Panther and Bronco offenses.
Carolina – Regular Season
|Yards Per Game||366.9 (11th)|
|Pass Yards Per Game||224.3 (24th)|
|Rush Yards Per Game||142.6 (2nd)|
|Points Per Game||31.2 (1st)|
Denver – Regular Season
|Yards Per Game||355.5 (16th)|
|Pass Yards Per Game||248.1 (14th)|
|Rush Yards Per Game||107.4 (17th)|
|Points Per Game||22.2 (19th)|
What jumps off of the page here is Carolina’s ability to run the ball. Jonathan Stewart had an injury shortened regular season, but he came back against the Seahawks in the NFC Championship and he came back with a vengeance from the get go. Stewart looked like he had fresh legs, notching the first 100-yard rushing game against the Seahawks defense since last season. Stewart used patience to capitalize on an aggressive defense, much like how the Broncos operate on defense. Talking about Stewart running the ball doesn’t even scratch the surface on quarterback Cam Newton’s ability to make defenses pay with his legs.
Denver’s statistics are middle of the road across the board. That’s a bit of a misnomer due to the fact that they were without quarterback Peyton Manning for much of the season. Additionally, when he was there he was playing hurt and was ineffective. He sure looked like the Peyton of old last week beating the Patriots and a strong defense, firing two touchdown passes to tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels could again be a favorite target for Manning, but look for him to find a lot of Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has had a very up and down season. He’s still the best receiving option for the Broncos and in the team’s trip to Super Bowl 48, Thomas went for 13 catches and 118 yards along with a score.
The funny thing about these two offenses is they are polar opposites and that is personified in the quarterbacks. Newton plays far different than Manning, and so do the offenses. Carolina puts up points, they do it quickly and they let you know they’re doing it too. Whereas Denver wants to control the game, make the most out of each drive, protect the football and let its defense control the game. If Newton and the Panthers get out to a fast start and make the Broncos play from behind, Denver will have no chance — they can’t play catch up. I just think Newton will be able to make enough plays — maybe find Ted Ginn or Corey Brown over the top of the secondary — and Manning will have to be forced to win the game against a stout Carolina defense.