Super Bowl 50 Preview: Injury News, Odds, Predictions and More
Now that the abomination that is the NFL Pro Bowl is out of the way, we can finally focus on Super Bowl 50, which arrives this coming Sunday. There is a lot to digest, however, ranging from the intense story-lines to actually picking the game. Let’s start slow and end fast, so you know exactly what to expect come Super Bowl Sunday.
What: Super Bowl 50
When: Sunday, February 7th, 2016 at 6:30 pm ET on CBS
Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA
The NFL will be making the Super Bowl media day a primetime event, with coverage beginning on NFL Network at 8 pm ET. Fans can tune in to catch stars like Peyton Manning and Cam Newton talk about the regular season, the big game and whatever else the countless media professionals ask them.
Last year Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch famously answered every question with “I’m only here so I don’t get fined”. It will be interesting if Manning does something similar if questioned about his future in the league or recent HGH allegations.
Fortunately there are not a ton of big name injures to track for this one, as all of the key offensive starters look ready to rock for both sides. Panthers defensive end Jared Allen missed the NFC title game with a foot injury and Thomas Davis broke his arm in that game, but both at this point fully expect to suit up for the biggest game of their pro careers. Denver safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward are listed as questionable, though many expect them to play.
If anyone sits, Davis is the most likely candidate, as he had screws inserted into his arm not even two whole weeks ago. If you plan on betting on Super Bowl 50, be sure to stay on top of the latest injury buzz.
Popular pop rock band Coldplay will headline this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, with special guest star Beyonce likely chipping in to help entertain everyone during the break. The band and singer recently teamed up for a song called “Head Full of Dreams” on Coldplay’s new album, so the pairing makes a good amount of sense. Beyonce also was the headline act for the 2013 Super Bowl, so she has a history at the event. Fans will also be able to tune in to enjoy all of the clever (or not so clever) Super Bowl commercial ads throughout the event.
Peyton Manning leads the Broncos into their second Super Bowl game during his tenure and the franchise’s 8th appearance (ties for NFL record). Manning was extremely sluggish during the regular season, leading the Broncos to a surprising 7-0 start despite putting up an ugly 9:17 TD:INT ratio.
Manning was ultimately yanked in a brutal loss to the Kansas City Chiefs near mid-season and was replaced for the second half of the year by backup quarterback Brock Osweiler. Due to Manning returning to full health and Osweiler faltering, Manning returned in the third quarter of their week 17 season finale against the San Diego Chargers. Manning and co. used that win to seal the AFC West, as well as the AFC’s #1 overall seed.
After squeaking past the Steelers and Patriots in two playoff games, the Broncos now enter as +6 underdogs. Denver boasts the #1 defense from the regular season, but much like Manning’s first Super Bowl appearance with the Broncos (a humiliating blowout loss to the Seahawks) there is a strong feeling he and Denver are woefully overmatched.
Carolina definitely looks like the more dominance and balanced team of the two, but they’ll be making just their first Super Bowl trip with Cam Newton and Ron Rivera calling the shots, and just the franchise’s second Super Bowl appearance ever. The Panthers have yet to win a Lombardi Trophy, but with an impressive 17-1 run during the 2015-16 NFL season, it feels like they could be closing in on history on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Panthers boast the NFL’s best overall scoring offense and two weeks ago clobbered the league’s second best scoring offense. With two strong playoff wins and just one loss on their entire resume, the Panthers understandably enter Super Bowl 50 as -6 favorites over the Broncos.
Despite entering as the obvious favorites, Carolina still feels like a team lacking respect from the NFL media. Cam Newton and co. really haven’t accomplished much outside of amassing a terrific record an winning a few NFC South division titles, but their magical 2015 run really can’t be downplayed (or at least it shouldn’t).
Carolina doesn’t necessarily have the best defense in terms of yardage or scoring, but they appear to show up in the bigger moments. A 31-0 halftime lead over the Seahawks in the Divisional Round and a complete destruction of Carson Palmer and the high-flying Cardinals in the NFC title game is probably enough to show the NFL world that they’re fairly legit.
This Super Bowl is certainly not one where you do a quick glance at the Super Bowl odds and know for sure who is going to win. However, it’s awfully tough to go against Vegas at this point, as the Panthers seem to have the upper hand in terms of dominant ability. Cam Newton has better protection than Manning, he can evade pressure and he can keep Denver’s elite defense on its toes with his running ability. The Panthers also have an elite tight end in Greg Olsen, a serious x-factor in the speedy Ted Ginn Jr. and a solid running game paced by Jonathan Stewart.
Even if Newton and the offense falter, the Panthers still have a strong and balanced defense that sports Josh Norman to help slow down the pass, and Luke Kuechly to keep C.J. Anderson and Denver’s running game in check. There is certainly a very real chance that Denver’s defense simply is the best in the league and all Peyton Manning has to do is manage his way to a tight win. The way Carolina has played on both sides of the ball all year, however, doesn’t suggest that is overly likely. If Manning is going to ride off into the sunset with a title, he’ll probably have to find a way to beat Carolina’s defense and ultimately have a better game than Cam Newton. While possible, it’s just not likely.
Pick: Panthers 30, Broncos 17
Super Bowl Betting
Beyond the game, this year’s Super Bowl is going to be littered with all kinds of pro bets and of course you can always bet on various portions (or the entire) game. Some basic prop bets fans can consider will be who wins the MVP, the national anthem, the opening coin toss, referee mistakes, mentioning of the word “dab” and the list goes on. That’s one of the best parts of the Super Bowl, and Super Bowl 50 certainly has no lack of fun involved with it when it comes to betting this year.
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