2014 NFL Playoffs: 5 Reasons Why Carolina Panthers Will Win the Super Bowl
5 Reasons Why Carolina Panthers Will Win the Super Bowl
The Carolina Panthers’ season has been astonishing considering the way things were going just three months ago, and it is shocking that Ron Rivera is not in the Coach of the Year conversation more often. The Panthers rallied from adversity with an eight-game win streak and finished the season as the winners of the NFC South.
The Panthers are riding that momentum going into the playoffs, and having already beat three playoff teams makes them confident that they can make it all the way to the Super Bowl. They are going to face similar teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs, so Cam Newton is going to have to be a difference-maker.
The Panthers will need to control the line of scrimmage in the playoffs, as that was their formula for success in the regular season. Choking out the run while running the ball down the opponent’s throat is still a triumphant combination in the pass-happy NFL of today, as defending the pass becomes a lot easier when you know it is coming. Stuffing the run also allows the Panthers’ pass rushers to get after quarterbacks.
It’s hard to put up points from the bench, and the Panthers’ running game stretches drives out and keeps the opposing offense on sideline. If the Panthers play the Denver Broncos, the AFC’s no. 1 seed, in the Super Bowl then it is essential that they get their running game going to keep future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning on the pine.
Here are the five reasons why the Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl.
5. Turnover Ratio
The Panthers had a +12 turnover ratio in 2013. Their ability to create turnovers while avoiding big mistakes is a key aspect of their success. Timely takeaways from one of the NFL’s best defenses will be an important factor in Carolina’s playoff run.
4. Weathered Early Adversity in Regular Season and Finished Strong
The Panthers started their season at 1-3 and people were calling for the firing of head coach Ron Rivera. They responded by going 11-1, ending any and all of these talks. The Panthers have won four games in which they took the lead in the fourth quarter, and only have only lost one game since October 6, a 31-13 beatdown from the New Orleans Saints -- which they responded to by beating the Saints two weeks later on a Cam Newton fourth-quarter comeback. The Panthers’ difficult beginning and strong finish provides them with valuable experience that will help them overcome future adversity, which is not rare in the NFL playoffs.
3. Rugged Running Game
This Carolina team is built to play old-school smash-mouth football. They ran for 2,026 yards in 2013 and have three running backs that all bring something different to the table. The Panthers’ offensive line owns the line of scrimmage, and Carolina’s running backs will be looking to carry the offense, wear down defenses and keep any given game close in the fourth quarter for Cam Newton.
2. Cam Newton
Cam Newton has taken another step in his third season in the NFL, rising from the ashes of his sophomore slump to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time. He has matured a lot in his third year and has shown the ability to be a killer in the fourth quarter. Newton has led four fourth-quarter comebacks this season, all but one coming against playoff teams. Newton is hard to take down and very good at extending plays, and he is good enough to take this strong running and defensive team to the Super Bowl.
1. Dominating Defense
The Panthers’ defense, led by Luke Kuechly, is one of the best in the league and is the backbone of the team. The Panthers have no. 2 in the league in points per game, yards per game and rush yards per game. Carolina has 60 sacks on the season and has two players with double-digit sack totals. They have 20 interceptions on the season and have returned four for touchdowns. Defense still wins championships; it just needs a capable offense.