5 things to watch for on Super Bowl Sunday

Dec 19 2017, 8:02 pm

There’s a slight part of you that’s excited for the halftime show. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t have just clicked on photo of Beyonce.

Now that you’re here though, let’s talk about what could be one of the best Super Bowls of all-time. The Panthers versus the Broncos. Newton versus Manning. Young versus Old. Youth versus Aged. Red Bull versus Ovaltine. Not to mention, two great defences as well!

Then, once we cover off those bases, we’ll talk a little more Beyonce. It’s Super Bowl 50 ladies and gentlemen, so let’s get it into it…

1. Cam Newton

Alright, so at this point, we know the age gap between Newton and Manning. So let’s not look at that. Instead, let’s break down the numbers. We know Manning was only able to play 10 games this season. However, even in those ten games, the Bronco slinger threw nearly twice as many picks as Newton all-year!

In fact, in 16 regular season games, Newton threw 35 touchdowns and 10 picks. While, in his ten games, Manning threw a career-worst nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions. That’s almost two-picks per major for the aging QB. My favourite stat though, has to be Cam Newton’s 636 rushing yards this season. That’s only 31 fewer rushing yards than Manning has in his 18-year career!

It’s because of the youth of Newton that the Carolina Panthers will win this game.

2. Peyton Manning

Now now now, the old saying “age before beauty” can still apply here. While Peyton Manning has looked like a very old and dusty shadow of his former self at times, the elder-QB has the smarts that Newton lacks.

Peyton Manning has been to the Super Bowl three times, earning himself a ring once with the Colts in 2006. This is familiar ground for him.

As we’ve seen, Newton loves the cameras and he loves the attention. When his team gets a little too comfortable as well, they start to fall apart. This is the Super Bowl, there is no bigger stage in sports. So if the Panthers start to get a little full of themselves and falter, even in the slightest, watch for the Broncos to capitalize. Manning may not be the youngest guy on the field, but he certainly knows how to drive the ball. It’ll come down to the Denver wideouts to get in front of the Panther secondary.

If they can do that and Manning can fire on point, the Denver Broncos will win this game. They cannot waste any of their possessions. Any three-and-outs, could be the nail in the coffin. Look at Seattle and Arizona from weeks past – their wasted possessions added up quickly against the dynamic Panthers.

3. Denver’s defence vs. Carolina’s defence

The thing about Denver’s defence that everyone seems to forget about, is their veteran-young guy mix. Let’s break down the defensive line. You have Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson with an average age of 25.5. They’re backed up by Antonio Smith and Vance Walker with an average age of 30.5.

You’ve then got Von Miller in the middle. A Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame caliber linebacker who led his team in sacks (11.0) at the spry age of 26. He’s complimented by veteran LB DeMarcus Ware, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, who is turning 34 this summer.

Then behind them, the team’s interception leader Aqib Talib, turns 30 next week and is playing with his third NFL squad.

It’s not an accident that the Broncos have the best defence in the NFL. They’ve built in veteran leadership around a young core. They could be deadly for years (if they can resign Von Miller this offseason), and very scary to play against on Sunday.

While Denver has the best ‘Beat you to the ground’ defence. Carolina has the best takeaway defence in the game. Not only in the regular season either, they’ve been killing it in the playoffs.

With a league leading 24 interceptions and 15 recovered fumbles (tied for first with Washington), the Panthers are a threatening bunch on D as well. You’d have to give the edge to Denver still because of their consistency, but Carolina can be just as strong or better against the air attack.

Meanwhile on the ground, Carolina isn’t too far behind Denver either. The Broncos finished the regular season first in sacks with 52.0, but are followed closely by Carolina in sixth-place with 44.0. In the playoffs, the Panthers are a sack ahead of Denver as well.

While through the air in the postseason, Carolina has four more picks and three more touchdowns. So don’t count out the Panthers secondary. Between their backend unit, Cam Newton and the offence up front, you can understand why they are so heavily favoured over Denver on Sunday.

4. Coldplay and Beyonce

I had a choice here. Use a photo of Beyonce lying in the sand or Coldplay with some sciencey symbols in the background. I chose Beyonce for obvious reasons.

When it comes to the actual music though, aside from Single Ladies (because that’s my jam), Coldplay is a tremendous choice for the Super Bowl halftime show.

After Janet Jackson showed a little too much many years ago, the NFL has reverted to the safest picks possible for the big event. Coldplay falls right into that plan perfectly, but they are also one the biggest bands in the world. After watching their Game of Thrones musical as well, they’ve won me over.

In other words, sit back and relax because this has the makings of the best halftimes in years. With Beyonce, in the mix too, you get a little hot with your cold…play.

…anybody? No? Well, I thought it was good joke.

5. Lady Gaga’s anthem

Let’s get one thing straight, I suck at betting. I am the worst at sports gambling because I bet with my heart and not my head. Rule number one in sports betting, NEVER BE BIASED.

I can’t seem to separate it though, which is why I always bet on the San Diego Chargers. This is also why my savings account looks lit has a severe case of shrinkage every NFL Sunday.

In any case, Super Bowl brings out my favourite bet – the anthem length. Last year, I bet the over on Idina Manzel. She then just held her last note long enough to give me a win. It was the best heart-pounding action money could buy.

I would never encourage anybody to bet, however, if you were so inclined, the anthem length is an awesome prop. Lady Gaga has pipes too. Right now the over-under seems to be set around 2:15.

Will she hold that last note? Will she not hold that last note? Only time will tell and my gentleman’s bet (no money) is on the over.

Super Bowl 50 – I’m ready, let’s do this!