Memphis Tigers | The Commercial Appeal
Weather | Traffic

Activate Account | Manage Account | Logout | Today's Paper
Today's Paper, also known as the e-Edition, is an online replica of the printed newspaper. You can view today's paper or previous issues.


National Football League
Preview
Carolina vs Denver
When: 6:30 PM ET, Sunday, February 7, 2016
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California

Cam Newton may be right when he says the world has not seen anyone like him, but those words also can apply to the quarterback on the opposing sideline when the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos collide in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. Peyton Manning, the NFL's only five-time MVP, will be the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl when he leads the Broncos against Newton and the Panthers.

In nearly any other scenario, Newton would be the top storyline after leading the surprising Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and the top seed in the NFC. The odds-on favorite to win league MVP honors, Newton is attempting to earn Carolina its first Super Bowl title at the expense of Manning, who could be playing in his final game. Manning has had to overcome injuries and a benching to advance to his fourth Super Bowl and will be looking for a better outcome than the 43-8 drubbing administered by Seattle two years ago. “I’ve tried to take it one week at a time all season long,” Manning said. “I’ve tried to stay in the moment and take it one week at a time." The matchup between the top seed in each conference also features Carolina's top-ranked offense against Denver's No. 1 defense.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Panthers -5.5. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (17-1): Carolina won its first 14 games behind Newton, who threw 35 touchdown passes and rushed for 10 more scores to spark an offense that rolled up an average of 31.3 points per game and amassed 80 in dispatching Seattle and Arizona in the postseason. Running back Jonathan Stewart returned from a three-game absence to rush for a combined 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the two playoff victories while tight end Greg Olsen had six receptions in each of those games after posting team highs of 77 catches and 1,104 yards during the regular season. Despite the high-powered offense, the Panthers ranked sixth in the league with an average of 19.3 points allowed and fourth against the run (88.4 yards per game). Carolina also was fifth in the league with 44 sacks and has a pair of marquee defenders in linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (14-4): Manning has shattered all kinds of offensive marks during his record-setting career, but he has been more of a game manager since reclaiming his starting job, throwing for only 398 yards and two TDs in Denver's two playoff wins. Manning has elite wideouts in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who each went over 1,000 yards this season, but both of his scoring passes in the postseason were to tight end Owen Daniels. Running back C.J. Anderson had a nondescript regular season, but he rushed for 92 yards in Week 17 and added 72 in each of the two playoff wins. Still, the Broncos' chances hinge mainly on a defense that permitted a league-low 283.1 yards while topping the NFL with 52 sacks. Linebacker Von Miller, selected one spot behind No. 1 overall pick Newton in the 2011 draft, recorded 11 sacks during the regular season and added 2.5 more in a playoff win over New England.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Manning is attempting to become the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.

2. Carolina is bidding to become the fourth team - and third Super Bowl champion - to finish with an 18-1 record.

3. Denver is making its eighth Super Bowl appearance to tie New England, Dallas and Pittsburgh for most in league history.

PREDICTION: Broncos 23, Panthers 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Carolina 17-1 W3 32.2 19.3 10-0 7-1 13-0 0-0 - - 13-1
Denver 14-4 W4 22.1 18.3 8-2 6-2 13-3 0-0 - - 10-4
Last Meeting
Carolina Denver
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/11/12 DEN 36 CAR 14 250 52 198 360 65 295
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Carolina C. Newton 58.3 241 2 2
Denver P. Manning 71.1 301 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Carolina J. Stewart 8 31 3.9 0
Denver W. McGahee 14 56 4.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Carolina G. Olsen 9 102 11.3 2
Denver D. Thomas 9 135 15.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Carolina G. Olsen 2
Denver T. Carter 1
Season (Regular Season and Playoffs)
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Carolina C. Newton 60.6 4333 38 11
Denver P. Manning 59.0 2647 11 17
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Carolina J. Stewart 280 1178 4.2 8
Denver R. Hillman 234 917 3.9 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Carolina G. Olsen 89 1294 14.5 8
Denver D. Thomas 111 1356 12.2 6
Touchdowns Player TD
Carolina C. Newton 12
Denver R. Hillman 7