Saturday, February 6, 2016

Super Bowl 50

Broncos +5.5 versus Panthers

The big game is finally here, and it's been an exciting time here in the Bay Area. I was fortunate enough to work with the Super Bowl Host Committee this week, and besides all of the 49ers jerseys, there definitely seems to be more Broncos fans here. Perhaps the Panthers contingent has been sticking in the South Bay closer to the stadium, but it is something to consider.

Carolina are rightful favorites after their continued roll throughout the season, and there aren't any clear reasons to pick them to lose. With arguably the two best defenses in the league, though, I'd expect the game to be within reach for either team at the end, so I'm taking the points. The broken forearm that Thomas Davis suffered 2 weeks ago, which was apparent right when it happened, is cause for concern even though he's going to try and play through it, and Denver's ferocious defense proved in their last game that they can basically win a game by themselves. Michael Oher has played surprisingly well at left tackle for this offensive line that far exceeded expectations, but Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware provide as tough a test on the outside as their is in the league. 

The real question will be whether Peyton Manning can lead the Broncos on enough scoring drives to pull the game out. Luke Kuechley takes away so much in coverage over the middle in addition to stuffing the run behind Star Lotuleilei and Kawann Short, so big plays from the dynamic receiver duo of Demaryious Thomas and Emanuel Sanders will be required on the outside. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen are likely to make more plays through the air overall, and Newton puts so much pressure on defenses on the ground with Jonathan Stewart, as well. Thus, C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman will have to generate consistent rushing yards to keep this from getting away from them. I think that they can do it and Manning will make the right reads enough to make this pick. Should be a good one.
Chris Harris Jr., Von Miller, and Malik Jackson are examples of Denver's playmakers at each level.
Last week: 1-1
2015 Season Total: 135-118-13

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