Road to the Super Bowl

By Jarrod Hester

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It’s that time again! Super Bowl 50 is less than a month away and it’s shaping up to be a historical event…

January 24th will mark the beginning of the Conference Championships with kick-off for the AFC game beginning at 3:05 PM EST on CBS. Tom “Golden Boy” Brady and the New England Patriots will be taking on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a matchup that has many fans immensely excited as they anticipate this showdown between the two legendary quarterbacks. This will mark the 17th time that the two quarterbacks have faced off, with each of them splitting their four postseason meetings. Neither Brady nor Manning have beaten each other on the road in the playoffs since 2007, a statistic that does not bode well for the Pats seeing that they will be playing in Denver.  Their resumes speak for themselves; Brady has four Super Bowl rings already, while Manning possesses “only” one ring and five MVP awards.

On paper, both teams are equally matched with their 13-4 records. They equally possess notorious weapons offensively and defensively that have allowed them to maintain their prominence in the AFC. But will it be a battle of quarterbacks? Or will the defenses be left to decide the fate of this assuredly exciting football game?

Also competing for a spot in the Super Bowl are the Panthers and the Cardinals. In the NFC, Georgia native Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will face off against Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals on the 24th of January at 6:40 PM on FOX. Though this game isn’t as talked about as the AFC quarterback matchup, it does have potential to become just as historic.

Cam Newton is already the first African-American quarterback for the Carolina Panthers to reach a Conference Championship and, if they win, he will be the first Black quarterback in the franchise’s history to start in a Super Bowl game. That’s pretty impressive seeing that the team has not even appeared in a Super Bowl since 2003, where they lost to fellow semifinalist, the New England Patriots.

Statistically, the Panthers have the best record in the NFL at 16-1. They also haven’t lost a game at home in 9 meetings. Cam Newton is 10 years younger than every other quarterback in conference championships. But how important is age? If you’re Carson Palmer, quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, you’re a strong believer in the idiom “age before beauty”. You are also aware of the experienced team and accolades to boot. Much like Newton though, Palmer is looking for his first conference championship win but it doesn’t hurt that he is throwing to a tremendously talented wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald who’s been here and to a Super Bowl of his own before…

Fun fact by the way, Cam Newton and Carson Palmer will be the first Heisman trophy winning quarterbacks to square off against one another in a playoff game; just adding more history to these playoffs.

Both football games are going to be extremely fun to watch. I certainly expect some spectacular and memorable outcomes. My prediction is that the surefire and well-oiled Patriots will win their matchup versus the Broncos in a closely contested game 21-17. In the other game, I feel that the experienced Cardinals just might pull an upset against the rolling Panthers, 28-21.

What do you think? Let us here at the Bent Tree know your predictions.

Until then, you know exactly where to keep your eyes for all the latest news…

The Bent Tree.

Author: Bent Tree Staff

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