Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers Preview and Prediction
If you put your ear to the ground you can hear the Denver Broncos coming. Peyton Manning has officially re-emerged as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. His play continues to improve with each ensuing game, and has quickly picked up where he left off after coming back from a neck injury that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season. He has the ability to make throws that will give any defensive back nightmares, and has no problem wearing out opponents with his arm and shear will to win.
This week the (5-3) Denver Broncos trip across country to face off against the (2-6) Carolina Panthers in what will be head coach John Fox’s first game back at Bank of America Stadium since being fired by his former club. Fox was ousted as head coach of the Panthers following a lame-duck 2010 season in which his team finished just 2-14. Looking back, Panthers fans are probably kicking themselves for getting rid of Fox. He not only has a winning record in his career as head coach, but also has the Broncos in line for a potential Super Bowl Run this season.
After a slow start, the Broncos are now 5-3 and sit atop the AFC West as the number one team in the division. Though the Panthers may be in last place in the NFC South, they know how close they are from being 5-3. The difference between winning and losing lies directly with their quarterback’s play. Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton has struggled to finish games, and has just 8 wins through his first 24 contest. On the other hand Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is one of the most clutch players in the league, and has historically been a good closer.
Learning how to win in the NFL can be no easy task and Newton could certainly take a page out of Manning’s book. If the Panthers have any chance in this game Newton will need to play steady and mistake free football, especially in the second half. An interesting side note is the fact that Peyton Manning has a losing record against the Panthers; there are only four teams in the NFL that can say that.
The Panthers defense has been solid lately, and is one of the more under-rated units in the league. As a defensive end tandem Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have combined for 14 sacks, good for second most in the league. It won’t be easy task getting past the Broncos offensive line, as Manning has only been sacked 10 times in 8 games with 22 hits.
The chances of an upset definitely exist, and head coach John Fox knows not to take the Panthers lightly. It won’t be an easy task for Manning as the Panthers play continues to improve each week. As the projected 4 point favorite, look Broncos to win their fourth straight game this Sunday as they take on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
Prediction: Denver Broncos 31, Carolina Panthers 24
Out-CB Tracy Porter (illness), Chris Kuper (ankle)
Questionable-DE Thomas Keiser (Elbow)
Doubtful-DE Antwan Applewhite (Hamstring)