Labriola On

Labriola on Super Bowl 50

The following is a look at the matchups for Super Bowl 50:



Panthers 9-6
Broncos 22-19

Ron Rivera 3-2
Gary Kubiak 4-2

CBS at 6:30 p.m. ET

Skinny: Panthers had NFL-best 10 players selected to Pro Bowl: LB THOMAS DAVIS (1st), C RYAN KALIL (5th), LB LUKE KUECHLY (3rd), QB CAM NEWTON (3rd), CB JOSH NORMAN (1st), TE GREG OLSEN (2nd), DT KAWANN SHORT (1st), RB JONATHAN STEWART (1st), FB MIKE TOLBERT (2nd) & G TRAI TURNER (1st). In NFC Champ, QB Newton became only player in NFL history with 300 pass yards, 2 pass TDs & 2 rush TDs in playoff game. RB Stewart leads NFL with 189 postseason rush yards (94.5 per game). LB Kuechly led team with 118 tackles in regular season. Since entering NFL in 2012, leads league with 591 tackles. Has 14 INTs since 2012 (incl. playoffs), most by NFL LB. Is 1st player in NFL history with INT-TD in back-to-back playoff games in single postseason. His 2 INT-TDs are tied for most in single postseason … This will be the 8th Super Bowl appearance for the Broncos franchise, tying Dallas, New England & Pittsburgh for most ever. Are 11-3 in games decided by 7 points or fewer in 2015 (incl. playoffs), most of any club in single season in NFL history. WR EMMANUEL SANDERS led team with 62 receiving yards on 5 catches vs. Patriots in AFC Championship. In past 5 (including playoffs), has 29 catches for 494 yards & 2 TDs. LB DEMARCUS WARE has 5.5 sacks in 7 career postseason games, including .5 sack vs. Pats. Since 2008, CB AQIB TALIB leads NFL with 8 INT-TDs. LB VON MILLER posted 2.5 sacks & INT vs. NE in AFC Championship.

Impact: The NFL is a quarterback league, and the Super Bowl is a game that usually is won on the strength of the better quarterback play. Manning vs. Newton wouldn't be a fair fight at this stage of their respective careers, but it sure does provide some nice hype for Super Bowl Sunday. It's generally believed this will be the finale of Manning's career, and if that turns out to be the case then Super Bowl 50 likely will be turned into some form of "the passing of the torch" by the thousands of media on hand to chronicle the event. The Panthers certainly seem to be the better team, and they cruised through the NFC Playoffs, but there is something about playing in a Super Bowl that can constrict the throat muscles – at least temporarily – in even the most poised of players. There are more Broncos with Super Bowl experience, even if that experience came for most of them in that 43-8 blowout win by Seattle two years ago, and it will be interesting to monitor how much of an advantage that experience turns out to be for Denver early in this game. The Broncos won the AFC Championship on the strength of their defense, with Von Miller's pass rushing being an important component, but the challenge Newton will provide will be much different than the stationary Tom Brady. And as good as the Broncos defense has been throughout 2015, the Carolina defense can be a force as well.

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