Tomorrow, the biggest football game of the year will be played when the Carolina Panthers square off against the Denver Broncos. Cam Newton will play for a chance to bring the young Panthers franchise its first Super Bowl win. The Broncos, led by their defense, will play to give Peyton Manning one more Super Bowl ring and avenge their humiliating loss in Super Bowl 48. In this game there is a team that has some striking similarities to that 2013 Denver team, but it’s not the Broncos.
The 2013 Broncos started the season off on fire, with only one loss before their week nine bye. They would finish the season with only three losses. Peyton Manning posted one of the greatest seasons recorded by a quarterback, throwing for 55 touchdowns. Despite their dominant performance in the regular season some said the Broncos had not been tested and faced a weak schedule. Peyton Manning seemingly proved these doubters wrong when he dispatched the Chargers and Patriots in the playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl. Later that day the Seattle Seahawks would defeat the 49er’s in a nail biter to secure their spot in Super Bowl 48. The Broncos were favored coming into the game. People were giving the league’s best offense a slight edge over the number one defense. The first snap of the game Broncos center Manny Ramirez sent the ball over Manning’s head into the end zone for a safety. The Seahawks would crush the Broncos 43-8.
The 2015 Carolina Panthers bear some striking similarities to that 2013 Broncos team. A likely league MVP quarterback in Cam Newton leading an offense that has steamrolled the competition. Like that Broncos team; however, the Panthers faced one of the weaker schedules in the league and have been heavily favored coming into the game, they will also face the league’s number one defense. All season the Panthers and Broncos have been doubted by fans and analysts. For one of the first times this year the Panthers are not playing the underdog role and have spent the past two weeks being inflated by the media. The Panthers will need to The Broncos, on the other hand, have been doubted throughout the playoffs. People didn’t believe they could beat a healthy Patriots team in the AFC Championship. They responded by hitting Brady 23 times and stifling the Patriots offense. The Broncos face an uphill battle against the Panthers, but have thrived off the underdog role this season. They need to harness that energy for one more game and set the tone on Sunday. If the Broncos defense can come out and punch the high flying Panthers offense in the nose, they can avenge their loss in Super Bowl 48.