On Sunday evening, the NFL will play its final game of the 2015-16 season to determine its league champion. Super Bowl 50 kicks off at 6:30PM ET. CBS has exclusive broadcast rights to the game, though NFL.com has said it will stream the halftime show (performances by Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars) online.
Here’s what you need to know for the big game:
The Denver Broncos won the American Football Conference Championship two weeks ago against the New England Patriots. The Broncos went 12-4 during the regular season, led by a defense that ranked #1 in the entire NFL for the season. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a future Hall of Famer, spent several weeks of the season injured but played in both of Denver’s playoff wins.
The Carolina Panthers won the National Football Conference championship, also two weeks ago, against the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers were a near perfect 15-1 during the regular season, scoring more points than any other team in the 2015 NFL season. Quarterback Cam Newton is widely considered to be the favorite for this year’s NFL MVP award.
Why Football Fans Should Watch:
It’s the Super Bowl, so if you’re a football fan you really don’t need a reason to watch.
Why Non Football Fans Should Watch:
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game. He has set records for career touchdown passes, career passing yards, and career MVP awards. Manning is 38 and many football commentators believe he will retire after the Super Bowl. If this is Manning’s last game, it’s a historic moment for the NFL and pro football. The only players who are within realistic reach of Manning’s passing yard record are Drew Brees, who is 37, and Tom Brady, who is 38. Manning may very well own his records for decades, and this could be the last time to see him play.
The Panthers are young and built for success for many years, so there’s not really a competing narrative on their team. But one reason non-football fans may want to tune into the Panthers is left tackle Michael Oher. Oher’s life was portrayed in the 2011 movie The Blind Side.
Who Will Win?
My prediction is that the Panthers will win. The Panthers scored more points than any other team in the league this year, and they’ve crushed both of their playoff opponents thus far. Panthers QB Cam Newton is playing the best football of his career, and I doubt very seriously whether Denver’s middling offense can keep up.
The best chance for Denver will be to get pressure on Cam Newton. That’s how they beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots two weeks ago. If the Broncos can run the football with halfbacks CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, control time of possession, and make the Panthers improvise on offense, they can win.
Final Score prediction:
Panthers 17, Broncos 13