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Super Bowl 50 Predictions: Panthers favored to beat Denver Broncos

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Predicting the winner of Super Bowl 50. Will it be the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The countdown to Super Bowl 50 continues: there are only two days left until the biggest day of the NFL season. Yesterday, Bleeding Green Nation asked which team holds your rooting interest. Today, the BGN staff predicts the outcome of the Super Bowl. Let's get to the picks.

Brandon Lee Gowton

Winner: Panthers

Score: 21-17

Explanation: How's this for some high quality analysis: the Panthers just feel like a team of destiny. They were one game away from having an undefeated season. They've bullied good teams in the playoffs. Denver's defense is REALLY good, but the combination of Cam Newton and Carolina's strong running game is hard to completely shut down. A big reason why the Broncos were able to beat the Patriots is because they could tee off on Tom Brady. Newton's running ability and the Panthers' presence of an actual running game could neutralize Denver's pass rush to some extent.

The Panthers have a really good defense, too. Not as good as Denver's defense, no, but Carolina ranks second by Football Outsiders. They shouldn't have a hard time dealing with Peyton Manning. The veteran quarterback merely had to not screw up in order to beat New England in the AFC Championship game. Beating Carolina and winning the Super Bowl will take more than that.

This is the Panthers' game to win unless they somehow choke on the big stage.

Super Bowl MVP: Cam Newton

JasonB

Score: 24-10 Panthers

Explanation: This is the first time in a long time I’m coming into a Super Bowl basically unbiased. I have literally no rooting interest in this game and really wanted to see both teams get here. There’s a really good story to be told either way. Whether it’s the Denver defense taking its place among the likes of Tampa Bay, Baltimore & Seattle or Peyton Manning riding off into the sunset it would be cool if Denver won. On the other side, the Panther defense could enter that same company, Ron Rivera becomes a Super Bowl winner and Cam Newton becomes arguably the premier QB in the game. All of this would be great to see and ultimately really good for the game!

"Ok so you’re unbiased and think everything is sunshine & rainbows, just tell me who is going to win the freakin’ game JasonB!" Fair point impatient poster… here goes the pretty simple analysis. We have two really great defenses here with Denver allowing just 18.5  ppg but Carolina only giving up less than a point more. And they’re balanced too! Both are top 5 run defenses and near the top of the league in most pass defense categories. Now, Denver is the better defense overall but the fact is that side of the ball is a huge strength for both teams.

The other side of the ball is another story. While Carolina boasts the highest scoring offense in the league at over 31 ppg, Denver sits down at 19th with just over 22 points per game. The Panthers also have a league best +20 turnover differential, while Denver sits at only -4.

The point of this is that Denver is a team with one great unit that has dragged one pretty underwhelming unit (if we’re being kind) to a Super Bowl. The Panthers are a team that has been among the best in the league on both sides of the ball. They’re a complete team and one that clearly has fun playing the game of the football. They also have the biggest X factor here in Cam Newton, who on Saturday night will almost certainly be named the league’s MVP and deservedly so. He’s a true two way threat at the QB position that we haven’t seen since maybe Steve Young if ever. On the other side of the ball you have Peyton Manning, an unquestioned first ballot hall of famer and maybe the greatest to ever play the game, but a guy who is not simply just on the downside of his career but quite clearly at the very end.

I think the Panthers’ moment has arrived and I’m not sure it will be particularly close

MVP: Cam Newton

Dan Klausner

Winner: Broncos

Score: 20-17

Explanation: My head says Panthers, but my heart says Broncos. Panthers are the heavy favorite and as much as it seems like it's Cam's time, this is still the final game in the career of perhaps the best quarterback in NFL history. Peyton Manning might be a shell's she'll of himself and the Broncos offense a sputtering mess that is lucky to get to 300 yards in a game now, but I can't shake the storybook ending potential. Does Manning have one more virtuoso performance left? Probably not, given the fact that his arm is weaker than Kevin Kolb's and Father Time remains undefeated. Could the Panthers ferocious defense go all Seahawks defense in Super Bowl XXXVIII on Peyton? Most definitely. But I think Peyron and the Broncos offense does just enough to eek out a touchdown and two field goals without committing any backbreaking turnovers. Where does the other touchdown come from? On a pick-six by the Broncos defense, which has to -- and will -- win this game. Wade Phillips' Twitter game is so enjoyable, he deserves this. Plus he lives for opportunities to draw up schemes to confound spectacular, unique quarterbacks. You know, like Cam Newton.

Super Bowl MVP: Broncos CB Chris Harris, who's battling a shoulder injury but will have have the aforementioned pick-6

Dave Mangels

Winner: Panthers

Score: 27-14

Explanation: This is the best defense in the league vs the second best defense in the league, so the advantage will be the better offense and coaching, both of which are the Panthers. Carolina will get at least one score off of good field position from a Broncos turnover, which has been the Panthers M.O. all year. Cam will keep the ball moving with his arm and legs, which has been his M.O. all year. The playoffs have gone chalk, so why not the Super Bowl as well.

Super Bowl MVP: Cam Newton, who won't have a great game because nobody does against Denver, but will play well enough to get it because he's the QB. Unless Kurt Coleman has two INTs and joins Larry Brown, Dexter Jackson and Malcolm Smith as guys who were in the right place at the right time, in which case I will probably break something.

James Keane

Winner: Carolina

Score: 24-3

Explanation: Denver wins the coin toss, electing to receive.  Peyton Manning promptly and efficiently drives the Broncos down the field, but Sean McDermott's defense effectively displays his mentor's aggressive, bend-but-don't-break M.O.  Manning stalls in the red zone.  Down 3-0, Cam Newton takes the field next but the Broncos' D forces a quick three and out.  Unfortunately, that's the best Denver can do.  Unswayed, Cam proves too dynamic and takes over the game, rushing for a TD and tossing two more.  His smile and enthusiasm grows larger with each passing minute.  Coldplay and Beyonce may be performing at halftime, but this stage is Cam's.  He was made for this.

Super Bowl MVP: Despite great performances from Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman, the MVP must go to Ham Newton!

Mark Saltveit

Winner: Carolina

Score: 7-6

Explanation: Two great defenses with lots of time to prepare. I don't get why so many people are forecasting high scores.

Super Bowl MVP: Cam Newton

Patrick Wall

Winner: Panthers

Score: 28-17

Explanation: In a season where Cam Newton and the Panthers have dabbed all over league conventions and decades-old conventions of what works in the NFL, a win over the league's best defense would be a blast. Just think - a talented dual-threat quarterback who makes people mad because he has fun playing a game takes down one of the league's top defenses, wins MVP, and either silences the haters. Or, at the very least, gives them nothing to chirp about. Climb the mountain, Cam. You're making the league a more fun place.

Super Bowl MVP: Cam, Cam, then Cam again.

BGN Radio's Predictions

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Cumulative Predictions

Winner: Panthers (6), Broncos (1)

Average Score: Panthers (21.1), Broncos (12.4)

Super Bowl MVP: Cam Newton (6), Chris Harris (1)

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Now that you've heard our predictions, it's your turn. Use the following format:

Winner:
Score:
Explanation:
Super Bowl MVP: