The Denver Broncos lost just four games during the regular season. In the playoffs, they beat the defending-champion New England Patriots and booked a place in the Super Bowl for the second time in the last three years.
Taking their snaps is Peyton Manning. He’s a future hall-of-fame quarterback that has won the league’s Most Value Player award five times. He was also crowned MVP in Super Bowl XLI when his then-Indianapolis Colts side beat the Chicago Bears.
During the 16-game regular season, the Broncos’ defence allowed the fewest total yards in the entire NFL and the fourth-fewest points per game. Yet they aren’t the favourites for Super Bowl 50.
For all the positives associated with Denver, there remain enough weaknesses to land them the 2/1 outsiders tag. Here, Ladbrokes News explore both sides of the coin:
In a word; defense.
The identity of this Broncos team has shifted from dominating with the ball when they reached the Super Bowl two years ago, to ruling without it now.
After the 2013 regular season, Denver had allowed 399 total points and ranked 22nd out of 32 teams in that category. Heading into the big game this year those figures have fallen to 296 and risen to 4th respectively.
Linebacker-duo Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware set the tone for the side’s quarterback-harassing strategy. They had 11 and 7.5 sacks each over the course of the campaign and will need to be at their best to throw Cam Newton, their Super Bowl target, off his game.
For all the accolades Manning has collected during his career, undoubtedly his most unwanted tag is as a choker.
He has lost two of the three Super Bowls he’s played in and has an overall playoff record of 12-13. Hardly the record befitting a player of his standing, but one that indicates he can’t always be relied on when the chips are down.
To further fuel the naysayers, Manning will be 40 in March. This season he’s faced criticism that his throwing arm has lost its strength and through the first nine games of the term he’d lobbed an NFL-leading 17 interceptions.
If the Broncos manage to snare victory in Super Bowl 50, it’ll likely be off the back of the defensive strength rather than the weakness in Manning’s arm.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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