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PFT’s Super Bowl picks

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The mind can do crazy things in a two-week window, with first impressions yielding to outside-the-box ideas that can veer dangerously toward #hottaek territory. And while MDS may have made his own Super Bowl pick not long after the participants were locked in, I’ve spent much of the last two weeks going back and forth, knowing that whatever I predict the opposite surely will happen. Again.

Regardless, the job requires the picks to be made. Fortunately, the job doesn’t require the picks to be accurate.

Our conflicting Super Bowl picks appear below.

MDS’s take: The talk about this game will center around the quarterbacks, and that’s where the Panthers have an enormous advantage. Cam Newton is the MVP of the NFL. Peyton Manning, a five-time MVP, is a shell of his former self. When we talk about why the Panthers are favored, it starts with how much better Newton, at age 26, is than Manning, at age 39.

Where the Broncos have an advantage is the possibility that their pass rush can be the one to consistently both bring pressure to Newton to keep him from throwing downfield, and contain him to prevent him from making plays with his legs. If there’s any defense in the NFL that can keep Newton in check, it’s the Broncos’ defense.

And yet even if the Broncos’ defense plays well against the Panthers’ offense, the Broncos’ offense may struggle to move the ball, which will put the Panthers in good field position and make it almost impossible for Denver to keep Carolina off the scoreboard. That’s how I see this game playing out: A battle of field position that the Panthers ultimately win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Broncos 20.

Florio’s take: I’m getting sick of saying, “We should have seen it coming.” Whether in recent Super Bowls or Denver’s playoff run, we fall in love with the favorite and the underdog finds a way to win and we say, “We should have seen it coming.” For a change, I want to see it coming before it happens.

I want to envision before it happens that the Broncos have developed and executed a ball-control game plan, with running back C.J. Anderson adding significantly to the 72 yards gained in each of his team’s two postseason victories. I want to envision before it happens quarterback Peyton Manning milking the clock on every snap, chewing up large chunks of the 40-second play clock and shortening the game. I want to envision before it happens the Panthers offense stuck on the sideline and frustrated as the Broncos dink and dunk their way down the field. I want to envision before it happens no turnovers from the Broncos, specifically no snaps whizzing by Manning’s head on the opening drive of the game. I want to envision before it happens Manning playing better than he has all year, combining full health with the abandon that comes from playing each game as if it’s his last because this one, with a win, undoubtedly will be.

I want to envision before it happens a defensive effort orchestrated by coordinator Wade Phillips, who has coached in the NFL for decades and never has been crowned a champion. I want to envision before it happens Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Malik Jackson, and Derek Wolfe chasing and harassing Cam Newton more than he has been chased and harassed all year. I want to envision before it happens Denver not giving tight end Greg Olsen a free release from the line of scrimmage, either by roughing him up with linebackers or putting cornerback Aqib Talib on him, one on one. I want to envision before it happens Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby blanketing Ted Ginn and Corey Brown like they did Green Bay’s receivers, the night Aaron Rodgers inexplicably generated fewer than 80 passing yards. I want to envision before it happens one of the team’s starting safeties not pulling a Rahim Moore and badly misplaying a critical deep throw.

I want to envision before it happens the Sheriff standing under falling confetti, soaking up one last time the sights and sounds of a football stadium immediately after a big game. I want to envision before it happens said Sheriff ambling off the field with a silver trophy tucked in his back pocket, and the Panthers vowing to be back again soon to get one of their own, because they will be.

Ultimately, I want to envision before it happens everyone else saying, “We should have seen it coming” and me, for once, saying, “I did.”

Florio’s pick: Broncos 26, Panthers 23.

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152 Responses to “PFT’s Super Bowl picks”
  1. haughville says: Feb 6, 2016 10:51 AM

    You overlooked one major thing Mike, Kubiak doesn’t run CJ Anderson, he tries the scat back Hillman for two yards and a could of dust on 1st and 2nd down. Hillman is a third down back only. Everyone know that but Kubiak.

  2. 6ball says: Feb 6, 2016 10:52 AM

    .
    Carolina can run the ball. Denver struggles.
    .

  3. coachkilla6 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:54 AM

    Please remind Viking fans what a Super Bowl is. It’s been 40 years since they sniffed one.

  4. rogerdw66 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:55 AM

    I predict more “dirty Vonns” (Vonn Miller sack dances) than dabs.

  5. spiffybiff says: Feb 6, 2016 10:56 AM

    Key is if Denver can find the running game against Carolina. If they can’t it could get ugly. Important Denver get off to a good start too. Make Carolina play a different game then their past two games when they got up quick

  6. luckyjim1980 says: Feb 6, 2016 10:58 AM

    It’ll be a repeat of SB 48, Denver’s excellent defense notwithstanding.

  7. cornerstone2001 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:00 AM

    Unless Manning puts a ton of HGH on his sunday morning pancakes, Carolina wins easily

    Carolina 28 Denver 17

  8. jimnaizeeum says: Feb 6, 2016 11:00 AM

    Both of my dogs pick Denver. I put a dog biscuit on two pieces of paper with the team names. Both ate the biscuit on the Broncos paper first.

  9. cornerstone2001 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:03 AM

    jimnaizeeum says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:00 AM
    Both of my dogs pick Denver. I put a dog biscuit on two pieces of paper with the team names. Both ate the biscuit on the Broncos paper first.

    ………….Was the Bronco biscuit dipped in HGH?

  10. contra74 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:06 AM

    coachkilla6 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 10:54 AM
    Please remind Viking fans what a Super Bowl is. It’s been 40 years since they sniffed one.
    —–
    LOL to a predictable packer fan post.

    Are you guys still mad the Vikings won the North?

    At least you guys won your superbowl against us by winning one game.

  11. dontbugmeonsundays says: Feb 6, 2016 11:07 AM

    My head is saying Carolina but my heart is hoping Peyton goes out a winner. I like both quarterbacks and would be happy for both – but my all time favorite quarterback is Peyton Manning and I’m a Bills fan.

    #BillsMafia

  12. TS Johnson says: Feb 6, 2016 11:07 AM

    1. Keep Carolina in 3rd and long

    2. Keep Carolina’s offense off the field

    3. No turnovers on offense. Okay minimum turnovers on offense.

    Denver can keep it close and win.

    I say all of that to say I spot each defense 2 turnovers and a defensive score.

    If Carolina can establish their run game however, it’s gonna be a long, LONG night for Denver.

  13. realfootballfan says: Feb 6, 2016 11:09 AM

    I agree with Florio that this game is going to be extremely closer than anyone thinks it will be, but the Panthers are not going to lose. Since midseason, I’ve just seen that this is their year. Also, I think both Vegas and these picks have the scores too high. I see the Panthers winning a 18-13 type of game. This will be the Patriot/Giant 2008 Super Bowl as far as offense goes imo. But the Bronco defense will make this very close late.

  14. thebirdofprey says: Feb 6, 2016 11:14 AM

    Panthers win this game by 17 or more.

  15. pittsburghdamned says: Feb 6, 2016 11:16 AM

    I predict watching this game for 15 minutes, then doing laundry for a bit, then watching a bit more, then wandering off to clip my toenails or stare at pigeons on my balcony

    Zzzzzzzzzz

  16. lapantherfan86 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:17 AM

    Carolina has to score 3 touchdowns and they win this game. Denver only managed to put up 16 and 20 points in its two playoff games against mediocre defenses. No offense to the “experts,” but how the hell do you expect Denver to put up more than that against Carolina’s defense? I just don’t see it happening.

  17. mazenblue says: Feb 6, 2016 11:19 AM

    Carolina winning is best for NFL business. They want that new young follower and realize the most loyal older generation is on to their wild money grabbing antics.

  18. Drunk Uncle says: Feb 6, 2016 11:20 AM

    Cam is short for commie . SMH . . … Trump was write and sez a lotta stuff we Mericans THINK BOUT … . . . this USA neds reel leeders liek Trump and Payton munning and Papa Johns . .. .. justsayin

    /s

  19. billswillnevermove says: Feb 6, 2016 11:21 AM

    I’m torn on this one who I want to win. Not really a Denver fan, but I like Peyton and I would feel great for him going out a winner. The dude is a class act, much better class than that other QB who plays in the North who I won’t mention. On the other hand I have a soft spot for Carolina, I lived in Asheville, NC from 1990 to 2000, was there when they got their franchise. My NC buds got season tickets, went to a few games, was there when my Bills with Flutie beat them. I do know that who ever wins, I will feel good, no matter what. Just glad the Patriots are not in it. Good luck to both teams!!! Both have great, great fans!!!

  20. gimmeabruschi says: Feb 6, 2016 11:23 AM

    You say to yourself, “We should have seen it coming”, when you think of Ghostkowski missing an XP? Really?

  21. ebrownwareagle says: Feb 6, 2016 11:24 AM

    IT WONT BE CLOSE! Carolina Big. Denver’s #1 Defense against Carolina’s # 1 Offense. Carolina’s Top 5 Defense against Denver’s # 16 or 17th(something like that) Offense. And Cam Newton(Period).!

    #keeppounding

  22. chrisk61 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:26 AM

    reality has a way of changing the ideal outcome.

    caro defense punished pey TONE. he ends gm bruised and batter. caro has some jitters, and cam & co. make some mistakes. but caro wins 25-15.

  23. agent7g says: Feb 6, 2016 11:27 AM

    First team to score thrice wins. DEN’s D could be problematic for Cam. I’ll take the Old Man. DEN 12 CAR 10.

  24. riverhorsey says: Feb 6, 2016 11:30 AM

    Denver stuffs Carolina’s run. I saw it coming.

  25. corporatemediaprostitute says: Feb 6, 2016 11:31 AM

    I’d like to see Peyton win another one. However, Cam and the Panthers D look unstoppable. If it’s close, Peyton finds away….

  26. cowboysallday says: Feb 6, 2016 11:37 AM

    Carolina’s offense is overrated, BUT their defense is underrated. Kawann Short is gonna have a monster game.
    35-20 Carolina
    I really hope I’m wrong and Peyton goes out on top like he deserves

  27. haterade999 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:38 AM

    The best part of this, is that Peyton Manning finally disappears from the NFL no matter what happens, and we can all move on to the new era.

  28. stevegrogannakedbootleg says: Feb 6, 2016 11:41 AM

    NE 32
    CAR 29

  29. Seprix says: Feb 6, 2016 11:42 AM

    This will probably be a repeat of Super Bowl 48.

  30. badmoonrison says: Feb 6, 2016 11:42 AM

    Carolina reminds me a lot of the Saints the year that they won the Superbowl. I watched them during the regular season that year and they were literally unstoppable. I knew abut midway into the season they would win it all. Its the same with the Panthers. Lets not forget Mannings track record in big games. He’s been known to choke. You have to take that into consideration. And plus the Pathers are favored by 5 and Vegas is rarely wrong.

  31. bonniebengal says: Feb 6, 2016 11:43 AM

    Florio picked the Bronos. So Panthers win.

  32. morr24 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:44 AM

    I am afraid that the “I Should Have Seen it Coming Storyline” has already been monopolized by all pundits when it comes to the Carolina Panthers. Pundits continue to bend to the tug of sentimentality and continue to dig deeper in the hole of “The Panthers Really Aren’t That Good”.

    The Panthers are clearly the better team. Denver’s defense may be marginally better than Carolina’s defense; however, Carolina’s offense is drastically better than Denver’s. I doubt that a single Bronco offensive lineman starts for the Panthers. In fact, only one or two Bronco offensive player would start for the Panthers.

    Does the better team always win on a neutral field? No.

    The better team will win this one rather handily.

  33. joetoronto says: Feb 6, 2016 11:45 AM

    One things for sure, the Bills will never be back in one of these games, ever. They’ll be shuffled off to a big city as will all other small market teams, besides Green Bay, before they’re ever good enough to even sniff what Peyton and Cam are sniffing now.

  34. hippieway says: Feb 6, 2016 11:47 AM

    Not a fan of either team, so this is kind of tough however my son-in-law is a huge Denver fan, so go Carolina.

  35. lambeaudungbarn says: Feb 6, 2016 11:48 AM

    coachkilla6 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 10:54 AM

    Please remind Viking fans what a Super Bowl is. It’s been 40 years since they
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=
    Instead of banging on someone else s why don’tyou cheer on your own team.
    Must be jealous of the direction the Vikings are going!

    But back to the Thread,
    I don’t see the Broncos scoring enough points. Manning’s accuracy hasn’t been as good this year, and I see 2 picks from the Best takeaway D in the League.
    As much as I’d love to see Peyton get his 2nd Ring
    Cam will get his first.
    Panthers 28 Broncos 17

  36. A sample of some of the dumbest people on the planet: JChipwood, ReligionIsForIdiots, Factsman66, VancouverSportsBra says: Feb 6, 2016 11:49 AM

    billswillnevermove says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:21 AM
    …I do know that who ever wins, I will feel good, no matter what. Just glad the Patriots are not in it.
    ==================

    I love how losing in the AFFCG game is a disappointing season in New England, but the Patriots “not making it to the Super Bowl” is a good year for the rest of the division. You people are lame. The best thing you have going for you is the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl, hahahahaha. How about you leaves the Patriots out of it. The Patriots aren’t even playing and they have dominated Super Bowl week again, because all of you whiners cant leave them out of it

  37. taintedsaints2009 says: Feb 6, 2016 11:50 AM

    Broncos will win if they get Emanuel sanders the ball and if Von miller dominates. If either of those guys is ineffective, panthers win easy.

  38. lambeaudungbarn says: Feb 6, 2016 11:52 AM

    If you look at the Super Bowl History there is a climb to the top a peak, then a slide down. Panthers are peaking right now.

  39. imodan says: Feb 6, 2016 11:52 AM

    cornerstone2001 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:03 AM

    jimnaizeeum says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:00 AM
    Both of my dogs pick Denver. I put a dog biscuit on two pieces of paper with the team names. Both ate the biscuit on the Broncos paper first.

    ………….Was the Bronco biscuit dipped in HGH?
    ——————————————————
    C’mon people, that was witty. Enjoy the friendly banter. It’s the freakin Super Bowl!! Well played cornerstone2001, well played indeed.

  40. wallabear says: Feb 6, 2016 11:52 AM

    The pass-happy Cam Newton… the Confident Passer Cam Newton… will make this Super Bowl child’s-play. I mean, put it this way: is Aqib Talib (CB, Broncos, age 29, 3x Pro Bowl) really as good as Patrick Peterson (CB, Cardinals, age 25, 5x Pro Bowl)? That’s just one comparison apart from others. Broncos D were on top of Tom Brady and made him very uncomfortable feeling rushed. Carolina D will do the same to Big Bro Manning.

    Cam-rolina 34
    Big Bro’s Broncos 17
    MVP: Pick your poison: Cam, L-U-K-E, Ted Ginn, Jr.

  41. churchofthehoody says: Feb 6, 2016 11:53 AM

    a balcony view of Pittsburgh???

    …Sounds majestic….

  42. istateyourname says: Feb 6, 2016 11:55 AM

    I want bad bad things to happen to the Broncos…

  43. SparkyGump says: Feb 6, 2016 11:56 AM

    I like Peyton Manning but I think he’s going to get sacked and hurried too much to make plays.

  44. Toykosandblaster says: Feb 6, 2016 11:57 AM

    My packers will never play in the super again till we get rid of A-Rog his best days are long gone and now the Vikings own the north to my dismay

  45. imodan says: Feb 6, 2016 12:01 PM

    Say what you want about hating to see the Patriots in the SB, again. You do have to admit this one thing though. They have played in exciting, close games worthy of the title Super Bowl. Except for that stinker in 85 of course. I really hope this one is memorable too. I think the possibility exists that it will be. Two great defenses that I think should keep the score down therefore close. In the end I believe Carolina’s physical advantage at QB will be the difference. 20-17 Panthers. Hopefully it ends on a game winning play as time runs out.

  46. barrymichaels61 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:03 PM

    Many times in past super bowls we have all heard how an offense was unstoppable i.e…. (83 Redskins, 84 Dolphins, 90 Bills, 97 Packers, 01 Rams, 07 Patriots, etc..) only to see a good defense given 2 full weeks to prepare and then witnessed the unimaginable happen, you’ll see it again tomorrow folks.
    Broncos 20 Panthers 14

  47. contra74 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:03 PM

    Panthers have way too much firepower for Denver to contain.

  48. bleck5 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:06 PM

    The reason Denver is going to lose is because they are going to fail to put up points against that smash mouth defense. Denver’s offense just isnt that good.

    Denver’s defense will probably keep Carolina in check for the most part but they still wont be able to keep up on the scoreboard.

    Carolina: 23
    Denver: 6

  49. bchap17 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:06 PM

    They’re 17-1 with the league MVP for a reason. Carolina wins this game comfortably. Demaryius Thomas will go unheard from yet again.

  50. azwildcats96 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:07 PM

    We see right through your little ruse Florio!!!! You want Carolina to win so you pick the Broncos…

  51. a072455 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:07 PM

    Broncos think their defense can pin their ears back and stomp an immovable QB, well Tom hardly runs ever ….. while Cam can dance around Tom. I see this Franchise finally win one so they can stop their whining about being cheated out of a win….. Help Peyton preserve his legacy of “Mr. One and Done”!

  52. rw3sluxuriouscurls says: Feb 6, 2016 12:07 PM

    I would just like to remind everyone of Pey Peys 21/27 340 game against Green Bay this year. He is still a very capable QB. I love how everyone is basically giving them no chance. Just like my hawks 2 years ago. Its not like the Broncos had a Panthers type schedule to get there,they played several quality opponents all year. I’m going Broncos 23 Carolina 19.

  53. solo681 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:07 PM

    SuperBowl REPEAT

    Panthers 37 Broncos 13

  54. raiderrob21 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:11 PM

    It will come down to Cam being to elusive for the Denver pass rush making plays and winning the game. Also Carolinas D will harass And pressure manning into mistakes. Carolina by double didgets

  55. 46namredyps11 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:12 PM

    It’s either going to be Denver in a low scoring grinder, since keeping Carolina under 17 is Denver’s only hope, or Carolina is going do what they’ve done for at least 3 halves of playoff football. Not that anyone cares, but I’m going Carolina 24 Denver 13.

  56. trustno1 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:14 PM

    Raiders 15 Denver 12

  57. guachosporlife says: Feb 6, 2016 12:14 PM

    Easy one. The worst QB (statically) to ever make it to the SB and is way past his prime (Manning), vs a QB in his prime with a better defense. It’s going to be another blow out loss for Denver. Carolina 38-17.

  58. kcchefs58 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:16 PM

    I hope it ends in a tie so they both lose.

  59. zerotrophiessince1961 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:16 PM

    Chicago – 1 good year in 1985.
    Detroit – The mistake by the lake part 2.
    Minnesota – Best playoff chokers in NFL history.

    This leaves the 13x World Champion Green Bay Packers.

    Wide left, you lose again.

  60. abninf says: Feb 6, 2016 12:20 PM

    I’ve correctly picked every Super Bowl in history. Denver wins by 10.

  61. madmike66 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:21 PM

    I have Denver, and the way they get it done will surprise people. Peyton’s arm. Peyton should have had much better stats in his last couple games, but for drops. Tons of drops in the first playoff game, fewer in the second but still too many. Key reason, his receivers hadn’t taken Manning passes for half the season, they had to adjust back to his ball vs Osweilers. Here we are 2 weeks of practice later, and I think the receivers and he will be in synch. The Peyton is a shell is such an overplayed argument. He can still throw. Not like when he was 25, but he can still get it done. Everyone is expecting a run heavy game management effort, but that would be stupid. Peyton is gonna air it out alot, and I think he’ll be very successful. Watch him put up a the sort of performance he can ride into the sunset on.

  62. dmretrogames says: Feb 6, 2016 12:21 PM

    The Panthers are going to crowd the box and suffocate the Broncos’ popgun offense. Early turnovers and the rout is on.

    Carolina 37 Denver 7

  63. shlort says: Feb 6, 2016 12:23 PM

    I don’t think Denver can win. I also think Denver can win. It is going to be a great game. Two great defenses in a low scoring game that will probably be decided late. Too close to call IMO.

  64. oldmanbirdfan says: Feb 6, 2016 12:25 PM

    Rattle Cam and you win period….. Falcons did it, Den has much better pass rush…. Possibility is there….

  65. mmack66 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:26 PM

    rw3sluxuriouscurls says:
    Feb 6, 2016 12:07 PM

    I would just like to remind everyone of Pey Peys 21/27 340 game against Green Bay this year. He is still a very capable QB.
    ——————————

    I prefer to remember his 5/20 4 interception game against Kansas City.

  66. justintuckrule says: Feb 6, 2016 12:26 PM

    Malik Jackson is gonna put out that gum chewing smiling D in the first quarter

  67. jmc8888 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:31 PM

    I want it to be a good game. I really wouldn’t mind if either team won. But the Panthers took out my team, and so I will root for them.

    It doesn’t hurt that I think they are the better team.

    It doesn’t hurt that Manning is a statue who is going against the Panthers defense where I don’t even know if he’ll finish the game.

    Maybe that plays to their advantage with a backup coming in they didn’t prepare for.

    But I can see Manning turning the ball over a few times before he gets injured, if he gets injured.

    I think they get to him early and often. Those underneath crossers won’t work, just like they didn’t against Seattle. Play press man against the receivers and bring the house against Manning.

    Get him off his spot and he sucks. Disrupt his timing, and he sucks. Sack him over and over, and he’ll suck.

    I just think Manning is going to be destroyed in this game. He’s played like crap all season. 7 TD’s and 19 INT’s? Now he gets to play a defense the likes of which he hasn’t played all season? That’s a recipe for disaster. I don’t see how more people aren’t seeing it. Manning’s play has fallen off the cliff. He isn’t the same QB anymore.

    Manning played a depleted Steelers team, and put up only 20 points on 176 yards against NE at home, and needed the benefit of a missed XP to win.

    Broncos have a good defense, but many good defenses haven’t stopped Newton. Not his passing, not his physical running. They can stretch the defense deep, outlet to a safety valve TE, or have Newton run. That’s dangerous. I think Olsen is a mismatch against the Broncos LB’s.

    It truly looks like their year. It truly looks like they are going to dominate.

    I think this game is a laugher. Hopefully I’m wrong. I want to see a good game, not a blowout. But from here it looks like it’s going to be a blowout. Like when the Broncos got thrashed by the 49ers, or when the Bears destroyed New England.

    I don’t know if Denver can slow down the Panthers. If they do, it’s not by much. Maybe only give up 27-28 points if they’re lucky.

    I don’t see how the Broncos can score on the Panthers. If they do it won’t be much. I can’t see a Manning led offense against the Panthers scoring more then 17 points.

    So that means I think at best for the Broncos they lose 27-17. At worst… a blowout for the ages, something like 51-6, with a missed XP by the Panthers. Denver’s offense and Manning in particular is a shell of itself when they got waxed 43-8 by Seattle.

    Of course when everyone is jacked up for the biggest game anything can happen. But I think they live and die by Manning, and tomorrow they die by him. It would be a sad way for a great player like Manning to end his career, but that’s what I think happens. He gets blown out and retires. A first ballot Hall of Famer, but he won’t play like it tomorrow. But I hope he proves me wrong and makes a game of it. I just don’t see it happening.

  68. golforepar says: Feb 6, 2016 12:34 PM

    Next year Packers 24 Patriots 23

  69. PhD says: Feb 6, 2016 12:37 PM

    My two dogs picked Carolina. I put a Denver sign on one fire hydrant on their morning walk and a Carolina sign on another hydrant they pass by. They both lifted their leg on the Broncos.

  70. goodellisagoner says: Feb 6, 2016 12:38 PM

    Browns fan here. What is this Super Bowl you speak of?

  71. vikingforlife says: Feb 6, 2016 12:40 PM

    I really like both teams, but I think EVERYONE is underestimating the Broncos. I say they end up winning, it may be by only 1 point, but they still end up winning!

  72. tjacks7 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:41 PM

    I said it before the playoffs so I’ll say it again. Defense wins Super Bowls and Denver has the best defense by far. If I had to put my money on one unit showing up big and essentially winning this game, I’d put my money on Denver’s defense. 23-16 Denver.

  73. chieffanforlifehelpme says: Feb 6, 2016 12:42 PM

    Carolina 31 Donkeys 13.

    Buh bye, Forehead and welcome to your HGH disgrace haunting you into retirement ala Clemens.

  74. golforepar says: Feb 6, 2016 12:43 PM

    Please explain to the Vikings fans that there are football games after December!

  75. randomguy9999 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:44 PM

    … Cam Newton is the MVP of the NFL. Peyton Manning, a five-time MVP, is a shell of his former self. When we talk about why the Panthers are favored, it starts with how much better Newton, at age 26, is than Manning, at age 39….

    …. Ultimately, I want to envision before it happens everyone else saying, “We should have seen it coming” and me, for once, saying, “I did.”

    Florio’s pick: Broncos 26, Panthers 23….

    ——————————————————————-

    people have been saying that PM is washed up since his first year at Denver right after his neck surgeries and that he is “a shell of his former self”, and how Cam is “so much better than Peyton”

    one common refrain I hear from my friends who live in Charlotte is that PM is one hit from getting knocked out of the game, that he has defenders pulling up before hitting him because of the respect they have for him and that they don’t want to be the guy responsible for ending Peytons career.

    Both ideas are absurd and very, very naive.

    The game will definitely be about two shut down defenses cancelling each other out making it a QB v QB battle.

    Cam is a young QB with great raw talent and clearly more athletic ability than Peyton, but franchise QBs in the NFL are quite a different thing than in college. Cam is more athletically talented than probably any QB in the NFL, but the Brady/ Rodgers / Brees/ Marino/ Elway/ Young/ Bradshaw ‘s of this game have never exactly been college option read superstars, have they?

    Cam can’t hope to EVER be as expert, experienced, and a NFL strategy phenom as Peyton is. After all those claims that he was washed up on his arrival to Denver, he consistently proved them wrong and put up some of the most amazing stats of his career.

    Cam chooses to continue being a college player. It’s fact, he feels that he should lead the team and crowd in enthusiasm, dance on the sideline, act like a goofball, and not work with the offense and coaches preparing for the next drive while his defense is on the field.

    As a result, he has almost singlehandedly locked his team into minimal 2nd half production and a ‘butts tight’ mindset whenever they get a lead going which has very nearly resulted in disaster numerous times over his career. That’s equivalent to playing prevent for an entire half…. and we all know that the “prevent’ doesn’t prevent anything.

    It cost them a loss to Atlanta of all teams.

    Reality: Cam didn’t play against Denver, has never had a master class from a guy who can run the entire offense from the line on each snap and dealt with Denver’s lights out defense.

    Cam is going to pay for his immaturity and lack of in game work ethic by not taking the Lombardi trophy home.

    His job isn’t to be a cheerleader, it’s to be an NFL franchise QB.

    Broncs by 5

  76. orange and blue owns the AFC says: Feb 6, 2016 12:47 PM

    Broncos – 19

    Panthers – 13

  77. vikingforlife says: Feb 6, 2016 12:50 PM

    What is it about Packer fans that they ALWAYS have to make it about themselves? (insecure, I’m guessing) If I were a Bronco or Panther fan, I would tell them to get the hell off if they don’t have something constructive to say about the actual SUBJECT matter!

  78. cinfante54 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:51 PM

    The real key is to score more points than the other team. John Madden told me so

  79. notmanning says: Feb 6, 2016 12:52 PM

    Roidney Harrison comes off the set and drills CAM in the knees. Donks win.

    Seriously, where is the hate for Roidney?

  80. runtheball says: Feb 6, 2016 12:53 PM

    The HGH comments are some of the dumbest on this site. If Manning was taking any HGH, yet alone mass quantities, his body would look like James Harrison, not a 70 year old man’s.

  81. sammievee says: Feb 6, 2016 12:54 PM

    When Cam is not allowed to extend the play, put in a situation of deciding quickly to skip plans a and b and go to plan c, will Mike Shula have that offense ready to burn Denver’s gambling defensive scheme and pop various hot receivers? This would go against Carolina’s normal ‘m”o’, but I do think that Shula will be ready to react–especially in the second half.

    Manning was able to pull off a miracle in putting a ring on Tony Dungy’s finger. Kubiac wearing a similar ring is unrealistic, imo. And while Riviera is not the greatest coach to ever coach the big game, he is also no Lovie Smith (who Manning and Dungy beat a decade back). The better team doesn’t have to win, but in this case the better team will win.

  82. captainwhodat says: Feb 6, 2016 12:55 PM

    Denver could possibly strike early if they go deep in their first two series…problem is, Peyton will have to hope safeties bite on the short routes and can arch (arm strength gone) the ball deep accurately (not a given). Think fans are forgetting how good the Carolina defense is…check out opposing QB’s rating against each defense: Carolina is 73.5, Denver 78.8. Like Carolina in a low scoring game and, if the game is going to be a blow out, would have to go with Carolina…that’s my take…

  83. bleck5 says: Feb 6, 2016 12:59 PM

    People saying that “defense wins championships therfore Denver wins” are missing a huge point. Carolina has one nasty prolific defense that has gotten almost as much attention as their offense that plays smash mouth football.

    I really can’t see how Denver pulls this one out with that defense and the best offense in the league.

    Carolina obliterated every elite team in the NFC while Denver needed homefield advantage to squeak by the elite of the AFC and even then they lucked out when they did not have to face the Chiefs in the divisional.

  84. kenchun24 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:02 PM

    Gonna come down to 3rd down QB play, Manning converting (be helpful to Ol 5 Head if DThomas can get out of his dropsies funk hes been in all year), and Cam converting via broken plays pass or run…whoever wins this matchup wins the game.

    While Panthers D is good, their back seven isnt anywhere close to Denvers. Whose LBs, CBs and Safeties all peel off and know where to be for receiving routes (in man or zone) so that Von Ware Wolfe Jackson can get to the QB in a flash, and cause INTs or quit “in the dirt” INCs. Which we all saw vs Brady a few weeks ago.

    2-15 on 3rd down? Ridiculous defense…Public and talking heads all on Panthers big, Vegas knows whats up just like the NE vs Denver game…

    Denver 17 Panthers 13

  85. gysot says: Feb 6, 2016 1:04 PM

    Panther fans…Keep Pounding It.

  86. flipola says: Feb 6, 2016 1:05 PM

    I’ll just take a guess.

    Denver wins, 24-16.

  87. bam5239 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:07 PM

    @rw3sluxuriouscurls

    Let’s put the schedule argument to bed. The Panthers beat all but one of the NFC’S playoff teams either on the way to or in the playoffs. Plus two top defenses and 4 Super Bowl winning QBs.

  88. pantherfan4055 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:11 PM

    We are a running team first if denver tries to stop our passing attack we will run it down their throat . Also I keep hearing denvers d vs our o but what about our defense vs their offense? From what I been hearing this week is everyone talking like we are some offensive team lol . We are a powerhouse defense and a smash mouth running offense

  89. ariani1985 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:17 PM

    And yet packer fans still think that they will win the super bowl!

  90. jburns9999 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:17 PM

    cowboysallday says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:37 AM
    Carolina’s offense is overrated, BUT their defense is underrated. Kawann Short is gonna have a monster game.
    35-20 Carolina
    I really hope I’m wrong and Peyton goes out on top like he deserves

    _____________________

    Interesting comment. You say Carolina’s offense is overrated yet have it scoring 35 points against the league’s best defense.

  91. logast says: Feb 6, 2016 1:23 PM

    I don’t agree with the “experts” that predict this to be a close game. I can’t see Denver stopping Carolina. And Carolina will hit Manning often.

    Carolina by 13.

  92. qbarrel says: Feb 6, 2016 1:25 PM

    CAR 41
    DEN 6

  93. mmack66 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:26 PM

    randomguy9999 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 12:44 PM

    Cam can’t hope to EVER be as expert, experienced, and a NFL strategy phenom as Peyton is. After all those claims that he was washed up on his arrival to Denver, he consistently proved them wrong and put up some of the most amazing stats of his career.
    ————————————

    Newton doesn’t have to be.

    What has being an “NFL strategy phenom” ever gotten Manning, except for a bunch of meaningless records?

    The Broncos went to the Super Bowl after Manning’s best year ever, and they were utterly destroyed by Seattle.

    This year has been Manning’s worst year ever, though I don’t expect much of a different outcome in this Super Bowl.

  94. denrec says: Feb 6, 2016 1:29 PM

    “Broncos will win if they get Emanuel sanders the ball and if Von miller dominates. ”

    Pigs could also fly…

  95. willycents says: Feb 6, 2016 1:31 PM

    I pick Denver 20-17. My reasoning: Denver’s D scores on a pick six, Denver’s O gets a td and two long field goals. Cam gets two tds running, but, gives up three picks, resulting in short fields for the Denver O.

    The game will come down to turnovers, field position and qbs.
    Rodgers and Brady both admitted that the Denver D confused them. Cam is not the field general that either one of them is. Look for more of the same in this game. Gronkowski was ineffective until both Denver safeties were injured in the playoff game; Olson is not in the same class.
    This game comes down to Cam vs Wade Phillips. I see Cam running for his life a lot, and throwing a few picks because he mis-read the defense.

  96. curmudgeon13 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:52 PM

    I don’t think Cam is smart enough for what he is about to see…….

  97. statsjunkie2789 says: Feb 6, 2016 1:53 PM

    I wondered what happened to the Pats fans. But, here they are, trolling and dreaming their team is in SB 50. Go watch the Celtics.

  98. FoozieGrooler says: Feb 6, 2016 1:59 PM

    The NFL will see to it that PM rides off into the sunset with another ring.

  99. FoozieGrooler says: Feb 6, 2016 1:59 PM

    The NFL will see to it that PM rides off into the sunset with another ring.

  100. badmoonrison says: Feb 6, 2016 2:05 PM

    Even my mediocre Raiders managed to beat the donkeys late in the season and in their house no less. I dont see them beating a solid team that almost went undefeated. Think and say what you want about Dancing Cam, the dude is playing like a man on a mission.

  101. golforepar says: Feb 6, 2016 2:11 PM

    I just hope neither team needs a long 27 yard FG for the win!

  102. drakost says: Feb 6, 2016 2:12 PM

    If Manning can win this game, he makes the Brady/Manning argument much more interesting.

  103. trainwrecksryan says: Feb 6, 2016 2:33 PM

    Panthers 34. Broncos 17

    Kubiak pulls Forrest Gump in the 3rd quarter for Osweiler.

  104. jason9696 says: Feb 6, 2016 2:37 PM

    It wouldn’t be an absolutely huge upset if the Broncos won and I’m cheering for them. So why not Denver?

  105. ebdug says: Feb 6, 2016 2:39 PM

    I think the Pants will eke it out, but fortunately I don’t have to pick the winner, just beat an overblown point spread. Even if the Broncs find themselves bottled up for most of the game, I think their defense will keep the score reasonable. We may be looking at a late consolation TD from the Broncs. Call it 24-22 Panthers.

  106. bullcharger says: Feb 6, 2016 2:45 PM

    drakost says:
    Feb 6, 2016 2:12 PM
    If Manning can win this game, he makes the Brady/Manning argument much more interesting.

    ———

    It’s still 4-2 if he wins. A bit more interesting, but that can’t be judged until Brady retires really. The career records aren’t necessarily safe.

    I think the bigger story is if Manning loses. 1-3.

    If he wins he will be barely in the argument for greatest ever, but top 5 for sure. If he loses then he could slip out of that list into the Marino category.

  107. You can have your draft pick back when the cowboys get their cap space back says: Feb 6, 2016 2:46 PM

    I was walking my dog when we passed a jogger wearing a Panthers sweatshirt. My dog puked.

    Denver 24 – Carolina 13

  108. bullcharger says: Feb 6, 2016 2:52 PM

    FoozieGrooler says:
    Feb 6, 2016 1:59 PM
    The NFL will see to it that PM rides off into the sunset with another ring.

    ————-

    I thought that too, but the NFL actually will do way better for their brand of Cam wins. Manning being in the game mattered most, but if he wins and retires it doesn’t help them. If Cam wins then the NFL has another poster boy for the next decade. If Cam loses and then Carolina doesn’t come back strong next year then the NFL has lost a chance to start moving past the Manning – Brady era.

  109. billmiller1991 says: Feb 6, 2016 2:53 PM

    I’m thinking Carolina, although two weeks ago I thought it’d be New England and Arizona… so it’s probably Denver tomorrow?:/

  110. You can have your draft pick back when the cowboys get their cap space back says: Feb 6, 2016 3:12 PM

    golforepar says:
    Feb 6, 2016 12:34 PM
    Next year Packers 24 Patriots 23
    ==========
    Sorry, next year Romo and Dez are going to clean house.
    Dallas 31 Pitt 28

    Romo MVP

  111. revren10 says: Feb 6, 2016 3:14 PM

    will peyton send his goons to try and intimidate cam newton. Peyton is a cheater

  112. hippieway says: Feb 6, 2016 3:42 PM

    So next year Romo and Dez are going to have a housekeeping business. That will surely be good for the housekeeping industry as well as the football industry.

  113. staffordsyear says: Feb 6, 2016 3:43 PM

    Donkos by 3.

  114. nhpats says: Feb 6, 2016 3:54 PM

    Denver gets behind early and Manning throws three picks. Kubiak calls timeout and orders Manning to fake an injury to bring in Ossweiler.

  115. bullcharger says: Feb 6, 2016 3:55 PM

    You can have your draft pick back when the cowboys get their cap space back says:
    Feb 6, 2016 3:12 PM

    golforepar says:
    Feb 6, 2016 12:34 PM
    Next year Packers 24 Patriots 23
    ==========
    Sorry, next year Romo and Dez are going to clean house.
    Dallas 31 Pitt 28

    Romo MVP

    ————————
    Not a bad call on the Steelers being there. If Ben can stay healthy they will be a force next year.

    I don’t see Romo and the Cowboys making any noise. He’s just too brittle.

    The Giants should be back on top of the NFC East again next year, but still not good enough to win the NFC. Maybe Carolina again or Seattle. GB maybe, but they need one more good receiver or receiving TE and Nelson to come back healthy. Year after an ACL is often not the best year for receivers though.

    AFC should be should come down to Patriots, Steelers, Cincy. Outside shot to Indy with a healthy Luck. Ravens will struggle and I don’t see any other QB and team good enough to take the AFC.

  116. bu2b1970 says: Feb 6, 2016 3:58 PM

    I’m hoping for a good game with no controversial calls to give either fan base an excuse. Sadly that’s asking a lot of the WWE, I mean NFL, these days. The question is what plot will the NFL and their writers chose to present us. Manning riding off into the sunset a champion, or the dawn of a new era, replacing the old (Manning) and the smug (Brady) with exciting young stars (Cam, Carr, Mariota) and and new teams to either pull for or root against?

    I think it’s time for the NFL to look towards the future.

    Panthers – 48
    Broncos – 20

  117. bullcharger says: Feb 6, 2016 4:03 PM

    curmudgeon13 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 1:52 PM

    I don’t think Cam is smart enough for what he is about to see…….

    ————

    Cam has led the Panthers to 17-1.

    Since going to the 16 game schedule in 1978 there have only been 3 teams that have been 17-1 or better heading into the Super Bowl.

    1984 49ers
    1985 Bears
    2007 Patriots.

    Those are some pretty good teams.

    I think Cam has been smart enough to get his team into that list. That’s pretty rarified air.

    Like the 2007 Patriots, they can lose but they deserve to be favorites and Cam is plenty smart enough to win.

  118. godenbroncos says: Feb 6, 2016 4:10 PM

    I want to envision before it happens, John Elway, in front of the throng of microphones, and squinting in the bright lights of the final stage, and saying…”THIS one is for Pat.

    GoDenBroncos

  119. bullcharger says: Feb 6, 2016 4:11 PM

    flipola says:
    Feb 6, 2016 1:05 PM

    I’ll just take a guess.

    Denver wins, 24-16.

    ————–

    If Carolina only gets 16 then Denver will win.

    That’s how they can win it, but it’s not likely because of how balanced Carolina is. Can’t stop everything. They just pounded 2 very good defenses.

  120. celticsforever says: Feb 6, 2016 4:18 PM

    I was walking my dog. We came up to a horse. They ran around and played fo a while. Then we carried on our way and soon came across a panther. The panther attacked my dog, tore him to pieces and ate him. Poor Fido.

    Carolina 37
    Denver 9

  121. DrinkingTheDeliciousTearsOfTheHaters says: Feb 6, 2016 4:20 PM

    Broncos 8
    Panthers 43

  122. theparadoxx82 says: Feb 6, 2016 4:23 PM

    Legacy vs Reality

  123. Frazier28/7 says: Feb 6, 2016 4:28 PM

    No rodgers, no brady, its going to be a good game.

  124. vegasgreek says: Feb 6, 2016 4:33 PM

    as a raider fan i have to root for carolina especially because i hate the donkeys and john madden is texting coach rivera.

  125. mobil4life says: Feb 6, 2016 4:34 PM

    Blow out and the most boring Super Bowl in history.

    Panthers 32
    Broncos 9

  126. bkg63 says: Feb 6, 2016 4:38 PM

    I see it coming…Panthers 38, Broncos 20

  127. sityourselfdown says: Feb 6, 2016 4:58 PM

    Panthers 3
    Broncos 2

    Book it

  128. flipt143 says: Feb 6, 2016 5:05 PM

    4 Dabs

  129. jjfootball says: Feb 6, 2016 5:11 PM

    THE WINNER WILL BE THE TEAM WITH THE OWNER THAT MAKES THE BIGGEST PAYOFF TO THE NFL OFFICIALS!

  130. ariani1985 says: Feb 6, 2016 5:35 PM

    No team has more playoff games than the packers! Let that sink in!

  131. bencoates57 says: Feb 6, 2016 5:49 PM

    Carolina 43, Denver 8

  132. lunchbox92 says: Feb 6, 2016 5:50 PM

    “The Broncos can’t stop this offense” is what we heard all week leading up to the afc championship against the Patriots too.

    Broncos will win.

  133. dsigrey says: Feb 6, 2016 6:08 PM

    Panthers 31 Broncos 9

  134. roninscribe says: Feb 6, 2016 6:18 PM

    Broncos are toast. They barely survived the Pats with Brady getting beaten up all day. That won’t happen to Cam. Game will be over by halftime. Another steaming pile of shame in Peyton’s abysmal playoff legacy.

  135. mmack66 says: Feb 6, 2016 6:20 PM

    bullcharger says:
    Feb 6, 2016 3:55 PM

    Not a bad call on the Steelers being there. If Ben can stay healthy they will be a force next year.
    ————————–

    Lawl. If Fragile Ben can stay healthy.

  136. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Feb 6, 2016 6:33 PM

    Folks, the strength of Carolina’s defensive line is their interior pass rush (Lotulelei and Short), however that is not the weakest point of Broncos’ offensive line. It is actually their strength. Matt Paradis, Evan Mathis, Louis Vasquez have played very good this year for the Broncos especially in pass protection. It is outside pressure that has given Broncos problems because their tackles aren’t very good. So the Panthers will need to be very creative in their blitzes and fool Manning. If not it will be a long day for Carolina because their secondary is Josh Norman and a bunch of no names. If Josh Norman covers DT, who is going to cover Sanders? Who will be on Owen Daniels?

  137. pariseishockey says: Feb 6, 2016 6:45 PM

    Panthers 33 Broncos 10. Panthers start fat forcing Payton to to pass and Panthers get 2 Defensive TDs to send Payton packing.

  138. sdcharger123 says: Feb 6, 2016 6:50 PM

    It’s not even going to be close. Manning will crush the Panthers and throw for 6 TDs then ride off into the sunset on a Colt.

    And then I woke up.

  139. leatherface2012 says: Feb 6, 2016 6:58 PM

    weird..isnt this the one that rodgers said was for all the marbles?

  140. leatherface2012 says: Feb 6, 2016 7:02 PM

    oh oh…kim jong moron is gonna launch his missle tomorrow!!! does that count as a drone within 32 miles of levi stadium?

  141. rcali says: Feb 6, 2016 7:28 PM

    Betting Scenarios For the Selections Based on Score:

    MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Broncos 20:
    Money Line: Panthers -218, $100 would win $45.87
    Spread: Panthers -5.5 (-110), $100 would win $90

    Mike Florio: Broncos 26, Panthers 23.
    Money Line: +187, $100 would win $187
    Spread: +5.5 (-110), $100 would win $90

    Both are guessing game to go over the current total of 44,(-110). So each would win $90 by betting $100

  142. contender21open says: Feb 6, 2016 7:48 PM

    DEN – 24
    CAR – 21

    I’m just happy the Pat*riots didn’t get there.

  143. plum54 says: Feb 6, 2016 7:49 PM

    Repeat of super bowl 48, except instead of Seattle it will be Carolina doing the beat down.

  144. NRG Stadium's Wonky Grass says: Feb 6, 2016 8:11 PM

    Man I barely care at this point. The two week hiatus kills the playoffs’ momentum. I’ve already shifted my attention to the upcoming baseball season. Having said that, I hope the Broncos win so Cameron Newton is knocked down a rung or two. Having said that, I think the Panthers might win by nine touchdowns.

  145. coloradotennisfan says: Feb 6, 2016 11:54 PM

    Carolina is clearly the favorite per its record and late season performance. Carolina has been shaky at times this season but they performed superbly in the post season. The Broncos have shown a mediocre offense all season, on par with a below .500 team. Unless the offense can break out, I cannot see the defense holding Carolina below 20 points. Turnovers and injuries are wild cards. I see Denver being more likely for turnovers with PM’s poor season. However, he has not had a turnover except for the backwards pass. CM is a wild card. He has had a great year but he could choke on the big stage.

    Most likely outcome is a solid Carolina win, perhaps 27 -17. Less likely, is a Caroline blowout or a close game with a Broncos win.

  146. remizak says: Feb 7, 2016 12:28 PM

    The match-ups favor Carolina.

    Panthers 33, Broncos 17

  147. fanofpft says: Feb 7, 2016 12:45 PM

    I’m with Florio on this Broncos 23, Panthers 20. Game comes down to a long FG as time winds down.

  148. Marcus says: Feb 7, 2016 1:53 PM

    Historically, the season-long outstanding defense generally wins the SB (if they make it there). So that says Denver.

    But, there is something about this Carolina offense that jumps on you quickly….they have been better all year than people predicted.

    I want Manning to walk off the field into retirement a champion. However, I don’t think that happens. I think the Carolina defense does enough to limit the Broncos running game and make them one-dimensional. Then, as the game wears on, with numerous 3 and outs on offense, the Broncos D gets tired and this turns into a rout.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  149. fanofpft says: Feb 7, 2016 2:05 PM

    But, there is something about this Carolina offense that jumps on you quickly….they have been better all year than people predicted.

    Around week 13 some 20 teams were below 500. This was not a prototypical season.

    2 of the teams Falcons/Saints have been faltering for the last few seasons or so to the level of the Bucs. Which I feel has lead to an over hyping of this team.

  150. jimmysee says: Feb 8, 2016 4:18 AM

    Well I guess Denver won’t be calling Montee Ball to come back.

  151. pampabear says: Feb 10, 2016 10:31 AM

    Well you called it, Florio! Perfect!

  152. bunglesandbears says: Feb 12, 2016 11:15 AM

    I like reading game predictions after they’ve happened… it makes me feel smart : )

    That said – here’s your score Florio:

    Ball control – Check
    Milking the clock – Check
    Panthers offense stuck on sidelines – Check
    No broncos turn overs – Nope.
    Manning best game this year – Nope
    Manning’s last game – TBD
    Wade being crowned – Check
    Miller, Ware, Jackson, Wolfe chasing Cam – Double Check.
    Containing Olsen – Check
    Blanketing Panthers receivers – Check
    No big plays – Check
    Sheriff standing under confetti – Check
    Sherriff with trophy tucked into back pocket – Check

    Florio being able say he saw it coming – Check.

    Not bad – 11/13 with one TBD.

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