The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos are set to face off in the 2016 Super Bowl, and it’s not a matchup that anyone saw coming at the start of the season. Only a few experts picked Peyton Manning and the Broncos to make another Super Bowl run, while the Panthers were off everyone’s radar.
Carolina came out of nowhere to go 15-1 and breeze their way through two playoff games. The Panthers made the postseason last year, but they went 7-8-1 in a historically bad division. Newton easily had the best season of his career, totaling 10 more touchdowns than ever before and throwing just 10 interceptions.
Denver’s trip to the Super Bowl is much less surprising, considering they’ve made the playoffs in five straight years. But with Manning in the twilight of his career, few experts predicted the Broncos would get past teams like the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.
After meeting in last year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were two of the preseason favorites to reach Super Bowl 50. The Green Bay Packers started the year with the best Super Bowl odds, and they might have been the No. 1 pick of experts. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, who didn’t even make the playoffs, were also given a chance by some to win a championship.
Below are 2016 Super Bowl predictions that were made by different NFL experts before Week 1.
John Breech (CBS Sports): Broncos over Eagles
Will Brinson (CBS Sports): Eagles over Colts
Jared Dubin (CBS Sports): Packers over Patriots
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports): Colts over Packers
Jason La Canfora (CBS Sports): Packers over Patriots
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): Packers over Patriots
Sean Wagner-McGough (CBS Sports): Patriots over Eagles
Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports): Packers over Patriots
Eric Allen (ESPN): Seahawks over Dolphins
Cris Carter (ESPN): Packers over Patriots
John Clayton (ESPN): Broncos over Seahawks
Trent Dilfer (ESPN): Cowboys over Chiefs
Tom Jackson (ESPN) Packers over Ravens
Ron Jaworski (ESPN): Packers over Colts
Chris Mortensen (ESPN): Ravens over Packers
Adam Schefter (ESPN): Eagles over Ravens
Josh Alper (Pro Football Talk): Packers over Patriots
Curtis Crabtree (Pro Football Talk): Packers over Colts
Michael David Smith (Pro Football Talk): Seahawks over Broncos
Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk): Patriots over Packers
Darin Gantt (Pro Football Talk): Ravens over Packers
Zac Jackson (Pro Football Talk): Packers over Chargers
Jarrett Bell (USA Today): Colts over Packers
Nate Davis (USA Today): Seahawks over Colts
Lindsay H. Jones (USA Today): Packers over Patriots
Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz (USA Today): Seahawks over Colts
Tom Pelissero (USA Today): Packers over Ravens
Eric Prisbell (USA Today): Seahawks over Patriots
Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today): Seahawks over Ravens