Panthers or Broncos? Over the next few days, you'll hear a lot of different people give their Super Bowl pick. But who do those in the league think has the edge on the field? I called up a general manager, personnel director, offensive coordinator and defensive assistant coach to get their takes.
Here are the game predictions -- and explanations -- directly from those in the league.
1. Personnel director
History tells you this is Peyton [Manning's] last game, and much like John Elway going out on top, is there a better storyline? I give Elway a ton of credit for seeing the end of Peyton's career coming and knowing what wins games. You cannot outscore people every week. They play great defense, they will try to run the ball and find ways to play-action.
Denver will cover Carolina's wideouts. The Broncos are formidable up front defensively, Wade Phillips is outstanding as a coordinator, they are good in the secondary. The only holes line up with the two things Carolina can do. One is Cam [Newton's] ability to run. Denver had some issues with Alex Smith picking up key third-down conversions. Cam can do that. The other matchup is Greg Olsen against Denver's safeties, who are very average to me. Their corners are special and I would not be surprised to see them match one of their better corners on Olsen.
At the end of the day, I think Carolina is too good on defense. Denver will not do much offensively. The run game will be shut down. Carolina will be able to pressure Manning. Cam will make enough big plays with his feet to win the game.