The Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will square off against each other in Super Bowl 50, marking the third straight season that the top seeds from each conference will meet in the NFL’s championship game.
And the Panthers are a 5-point favorite on the early Super Bowl 50 odds, as it seems like bettors are finally starting to believe in Cam Newton and company. The Panthers nearly went undefeated in the regular season (going 15-1), held off the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round, and steamrolled the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
The Panthers might not look like a traditional powerhouse on offense but they led the league in scoring in the regular season and have scored 80 points in their first two playoff games. The Carolina defense led the NFL in takeaways (39) and led the NFC in sacks (43).
As for the Broncos, the headline might be Peyton Manning’s return to the Super Bowl, but he’s clearly not the same player he once was and neither is the offense that he operates.
However, Manning played clean football in the AFC Championship Game, throwing for a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. He only had 176 passing yards while completing 53% of his passes for a meager 5.5 yards per completion, but that didn’t matter as he protected the football and let the Broncos defense do their job.
And speaking of the Broncos defense, they were the top unit in the NFL in yards per game and were fourth in points per game. They led the NFL with 52 sacks and put their prowess on display in the AFC Championship Game, getting to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four sacks while hitting him a whopping 20 times.
Super Bowl 50 will mark the first time in history that quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall will square off for the title. It’ll also be the largest age gap between starting quarterbacks as Manning is 13 years and 48 days older than Cam Newton.
Also, quarterbacks making their Super Bowl debut have won four straight games over quarterbacks who are returning to the title game with some Super Bowl experience.