Super Bowl Predictions from NFL Legends

Akeem Spence #97 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after beating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the Georgia Dome on November 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Oct. 31, 2015, Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Like every year I asked several NFL legends, past and present, who they think is going to win the Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, and why their pick is going to be victorious. Here is what they had to say:

Brandon Williams (former cornerback with the Cincinnati Bengals): “Pregame Super Bowl L looks like one of the best matchups we have had in a while. Last year was [Tom] Brady vs Legion of Doom but it was nothing like what we have now... #1 scoring Offense vs the #1 scoring defense. I always love those matchups and as a defensive guy of course I usually lean that way but this year (mostly because of Cam [Newton]) I think it's really a toss up. I say that not only because of how skilled a player Cam is but also because over his career he has proved that no matter how you feel about him he's a winner. He's won on every level and it was just a matter of time before he finally made the big stage.

All that being said I think I'm going with the Broncos. Not that I think Peyton [Manning] will outplay Cam but as good as Carolina's defense is I just feel like Denver has an elite defense this season. And just from some of the midweek events I feel like Denver's defense is feeling overlooked as a historical team and they see this as that shot. I've also played under Wade Phillips and games like this are what he lives for.

So as much as I wouldn't mind Carolina winning because they are a great team the "Swami" in me is picking Denver and that defense. Even though I played in Denver the good thing about not having a dog in the fight is I can just sit back and hope for a good game.”

Reggie Givens (former linebacker and special teams captain with the San Francisco 49ers): “My prediction for this year’s Super Bowl 50 Carolina vs Denver. The game is broken up into 3 phases: Offense, Defense and Special Teams. Offensively, Denver's lack of a running attack and Peyton’s [Manning] physical limitations will make it hard to move the ball. Carolina's strong run game with [Jonathan] Stewart and Cam's [Newton] dual threat ability will dominate.

Defensively, Denver’s #1 ranked defense will find it hard to contain Carolina’s "Superman" QB. The Panthers will win this phase by pressuring Peyton and stifling Denver’s running game.

Special Teams will ultimately decide the game. The Broncos are not strong with their returns or cover teams. Panthers with a more explosive return team will win this phase as well.

Conclusion: Broncos Defense will do their best to keep it close at first but in the end Panthers Offense, Defense & Special Teams will prove to be too much for Broncos and Peyton Manning to overcome. Final Score: Panthers 30 Broncos 13.”

Noah Burr (former defensive back with the New York Jets): “If Denver’s defense is healthy and Peyton [Manning] and the offense put up 24 points the Broncos will win. I am not too sure Carolina has seen a defense playing this well.”

Hillary Butler (former linebacker with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos): “It’s Peyton Manning's turn to perhaps go out like my old teammate John Elway. I am hoping that the #1 Defense can stop Cam [Newton] then the Broncos will have a chance. Great matchup for SB50.

Charles Stackhouse (former fullback with the New York Giants): “Denver 28 Carolina 24. Peyton [Manning] pulls it off along with the great Defense they have. Great matchup!”

Akeem Spence (Defensive Tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers): “I think Denver is going to take it.”

Tony Coats (former offensive lineman with the Cincinnati Bengals): “I like Denver and the points. Time for a Carolina letdown!”

Tom McManus (former linebacker with the Jacksonville Jaguars): “The Carolina Panthers win 45-17.”

Bill Schroeder (former wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers): “My son is a huge Broncos fan so I'll pick them.”

Blogger’s Prediction

Super Bowl 50 is a great matchup and represents two top defenses. Carolina’s MLB Luke Kuechly and Denver’s OLB Von Miller will be the guys to watch as they make big plays. Both defenses will try to stuff the run and force the quarterbacks to throw.

Carolina, however, will be able to call some successful running plays, which will keep the offense two-dimensional.

Unfortunately for Denver this game will mark the end of an era and a takeover of the new generation with QB Cam Newton at the helm as the Panthers celebrate a comfortable win in the 50th edition of the NFL Final.

Super Bowl City Entertainment

If you’re in the Super Bowl City on Friday night make sure to check out the band Sweet HayaH, who will perform from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at location 17 on the map.

The Rock/Soul/Funk band from San Jose, Cal, writes its own songs and plays high energy music. Their new album called Gentle Lies is about to be released.

The multi-cultural sextet can’t wait to pump up the Super Bowl crowd and would love to see you at the venue to make this a special event to remember.

NFL Power Rankings - Week 3

LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots is tackled by Davon House #31 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Sept. 27, 2015 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)

1. (1.) New England Patriots (3-0)

Another great performance from QB Tom Brady who led the Patriots to a 51-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. RB LeGarrette Blount rushed for 78 yards on 18 carries and 3 touchdowns.

2. (2.) Green Bay Packers (3-0)

Green Bay’s pass rush put pressure on Kansas City’s QB Alex Smith all night, resulting in 7 sacks. LB Clay Matthews led the team with 2.0 sacks.

3. (3.) Arizona Cardinals (3-0)

Arizona’s secondary picked off San Francisco’s QB Colin Kaepernick 4 times. FS Tyrann Mathieu intercepted 2 passes and returned one of them 33 yards for a touchdown.

4. (4.) Denver Broncos (3-0)

The defense sacked Detroit’s QB Matt Stafford 4 times and held the Lions to a mere 28 yards on the ground.

5. (6.) Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)

WR A.J. Green caught 10 passes for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Bengals won at the Baltimore Ravens 28-24.

6. (7.) Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

The Chicago Bears were the right opponent at the right time to get the Seahawks back on Super Bowl track. RB Marshawn Lynch’s hamstring injury does not seem to be too serious, though he is day-to-day for now.

7. (10.) Atlanta Falcons (3-0)

Second-half adjustments helped turn an 11 point deficit into a 39-28 win at the Dallas Cowboys.

8. (8.) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)

Depending on the severity of QB Ben Roethlisberger’s MCL sprain Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes may be hanging by a thread.

9. (5.) Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

The Cowboys played a good first half but were unable to stop Atlanta’s comeback in the second half. RB Joseph Randle ran for 87 yards on 14 carries and 3 touchdowns.

10. (12.) Carolina Panthers (3-0)

TE Greg Olsen caught 8 passes for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints as the Panthers remain undefeated. And no, I’m not going to mention the Cam Newton – Ed Hochuli dispute. Oops, I just did.

11. (9.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)

Good news for the Chiefs; next week’s opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, will be the last undefeated team they are going to play for a while.

12. (19.) Buffalo Bills (2-1)

The Bills bounced back from last week’s pounding at the hands of the New England Patriots by outclassing the Miami Dolphins 41-14 at Sun Life Stadium.

13. (14.) Indianapolis Colts (1-2)

It must be a relief for the Colts and their still underperforming QB Andrew Luck to avoid a 0-3 start to the season, however, the Tennessee Titans were just as good, or bad, as the Colts.

14. (15.) Minnesota Vikings (2-1)

RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 126 yards and his first 2 touchdowns of the season as the Vikings beat the San Diego Chargers 31-14.

15. (16.) Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)

Getting off to a 24-0 lead before the two-minute warning all the Eagles had to do was run the ball; and they did. RB Ryan Mathews amassed 108 yards on 25 carries as the Eagles won 24-17 at the New York Jets.

16. (11.) New York Jets (2-1)

The Jets committed 4 turnovers and suffered their first loss of the season against the winless Philadelphia Eagles.

17. (13.) San Diego Chargers (1-2)

RB Keenan Allen rushed for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns as an otherwise rather ineffective Chargers team lost 31-14 at the Minnesota Vikings.

18. (24.) Oakland Raiders (2-1)

This was an overall impressive performance on both sides of the ball as the Oakland Raiders end an 11-game losing streak on the road by defeating the Cleveland Browns 27-20.

19. (25.) New York Giants (1-2)

For once the New York Giants didn’t give up a lead and end up beating the Washington Redskins 32-21. WR Rueben Randle caught 7 passes for 116 yards and 1 touchdown.

20. (23.) Houston Texans (1-2)

The Texans rushed for 186 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. RB Alfred Blue led the team with 139 yards and 1 touchdown.

21. (18.) Baltimore Ravens (0-3)

WR Steve Smith Sr. had a great day against the Cincinnati Bengals, though it was not enough to get the win. The 36-year old caught 13 passes for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns.

22. (17.) Detroit Lions (0-3)

The Lions rushed for a total of 28 yards, surrendered 4 sacks and committed 3 turnovers. It should come as no surprise that the team is still winless.

23. (20.) Miami Dolphins (1-2)

It took the Dolphins almost 40 minutes to get on the scoreboard at home against the Buffalo Bills.

24. (21.) St. Louis Rams (1-2)

At least the pass rush did a good job against the Pittsburgh Steelers, sacking QB Ben Roethlisberger and QB Michael Vick 5 times. LB Alec Ogletree recorded 2.0 sacks.

25. (22.) San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

QB Colin Kaepernick laid the foundation for a blowout early in the first quarter; only he did it for the opposing team. Eventually he ended up throwing 4 interceptions and wound up with a passer rating of 16.7.

26. (26.) Cleveland Browns (1-2)

The pass protection needs to improve if the Browns want to be effective with the aerial attack. QB Josh McCown was sacked 5 times against the Oakland Raiders.

27. (28.) Washington Redskins (1-2)

I am moving the Redskins up despite a loss because New Orleans’ further drop was long overdue.

28. (29.) Tennessee Titans (1-2)

The Titans put up an admirable fight against the Indianapolis Colts but could not hold on to a 27-14 lead after 3 quarters.

29. (27.) New Orleans Saints (0-3)

QB Drew Brees is back in training throwing and hopeful to start in week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys.

30. (30.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)

You won’t win many games if you rush for a total of 57 yards and complete only 47.2% of passes.

31. (31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

At times, approximately 48 minutes of the game, the Jaguars looked as if they didn’t belong on the same field as the Patriots.

32. (32.) Chicago Bears (0-3)

On a positive note, the Bears didn’t commit any turnovers at the Seattle Seahawks and the pass rush got to QB Russell Wilson 4 times. But how many games do the Bears intend to win with 48 passing yards?

NFL Power Rankings - Week 2

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots battles against Ronald Darby #28 and Corey Graham #20 of the Buffalo Bills during the second half on September 20, 2015 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. New England defeats Buffalo 40-32. (Sept. 20, 2015 - Source: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images North America)

1. (1.) New England Patriots (2-0)

QB Tom Brady seems to be in the form of his life at age 38. He threw for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns at the Buffalo Bills. TE Rob Gronkowski leads all receivers with 4 touchdowns on the season.

2. (2.) Green Bay Packers (2-0)

The offense was its usual effective self and the defense showed that they are a force to be reckoned with.

3. (4.) Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

The Cardinals didn’t play the strongest opponents so far but they got the job done in style. They look like a very well balanced team.

4. (6.) Denver Broncos (2-0)

The Broncos got a bit lucky on Thursday night but the win against the division rivals Kansas City Chiefs was huge.

5. (5.) Dallas Cowboys (2-0)

QB Tony Romo’s injury (out 10 weeks with a broken collarbone) is another big blow for the Dallas Cowboys. The best offensive line in the league will help QB Brandon Weeden but will it be enough to stay atop the NFC East?

6. (8.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)

QB Andy Dalton has been outstanding in the first two games, completing 41 of 60 passes for 483 yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and a passer rating of 120.3.

7. (3.) Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

There will be no more excuses in week 3 against the Chicago Bears. It’s win or bust!

8. (16.) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

The Steelers had the ball for only 23:01 minutes, yet managed to score 43 points against the San Francisco 49ers. That’s efficiency.

9. (9.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

The Chiefs should have beaten the Denver Broncos on Thursday night but gave away 2 touchdowns in the final minute and squandered a 24-17 lead.

10. (19.) Atlanta Falcons (2-0)

Could it be that we all underestimated the Falcons before the season? Victories over the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants keep them unbeaten and on top of the NFC South.

11. (24.) New York Jets (2-0)

The Jets show how important it is to win the turnover battle. They beat the Cleveland Browns as well as the Indianapolis Colts 5-1 in this category and as a consequence are 2-0.

12. (18.) Carolina Panthers (2-0)

The Carolina Panthers can play defense even without an injured LB Luke Kuechly, holding the Houston Texans to 61 yards on the ground.

13. (13.) San Diego Chargers (1-1)

Tough loss at the Cincinnati Bengals but they will keep the playoff race interesting in the AFC.

14. (7.) Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

QB Andrew Luck has been horrible so far this season. He is 47-of-86 for 493 yards, 3 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a passer rating of 58.9.

15. (21.) Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

The Vikings bounced back from a week 1 loss by defeating the Detroit Lions 26-16. RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 134 yards on 29 carries.

16. (11.) Philadelphia Eagles (0-2)

It took the Eagles 45:39 minutes to get on the scoreboard against the Dallas Cowboys and RB DeMarco Murray rushed for just 2 yards on 13 carries against his former teammates.

17. (15.) Detroit Lions (0-2)

It says a lot about the running game when QB Matthew Stafford led the team with 20 yards on the ground.

18. (10.) Baltimore Ravens (0-2)

Giving up 448 total yards at the Oakland Raiders does not bode well for the defense. This is going to be a very long season for the Ravens.

19. (14.) Buffalo Bills (1-1)

Last week the Bills outplayed the Indianapolis Colts; this week the Bills were outplayed by the New England Patriots. The Bills need to be more consistent if they want to end their playoff drought.

20. (12.) Miami Dolphins (1-1)

Apart from a non-existent running game the Dolphins didn’t actually play a bad game but this loss at the Jacksonville Jaguars is definitely a setback.

21. (17.) St. Louis Rams (1-1)

The offense had an off-day and the defense could not stop Washington’s ground attack at all.

22. (20.) San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

Statistically the 49ers put up great numbers but the game at the Pittsburgh Steelers was basically over after 25 minutes. The offensive line left a lot to be desired though, allowing 5 sacks.

23. (22.) Houston Texans (0-2)

QB Ryan Mallet completed 46.6% of his passes for 244 yards and RB Chris Polk rushed for 38 yards on 14 carries. That’s not exactly an explosive offense.

24. (27.) Oakland Raiders (1-1)

The Raiders may have found themselves a gem in rookie WR Amari Cooper. The 4th round pick from Alabama caught 7 passes for 109 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

25. (25.) New York Giants (0-2)

The Giants played a pretty decent game against the Atlanta Falcons but squandered another lead and wound up empty-handed once again.

26. (29.) Cleveland Browns (1-1)

What a day for WR Travis Benjamin. The 4th-year pro caught 3 passes for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also returned 6 punts for 154 yards and 1 touchdown.

27. (23.) New Orleans Saints (0-2)

Maybe the Saints deserve to be further down in the rankings but you have to think that they can play better than they did in their first two games.

28. (31.) Washington Redskins (1-1)

RB Matt Jones has been nothing but stellar so far and takes some pressure of RB Alfred Morris. The rookie rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries and scored 2 touchdowns.

29. (26.) Tennessee Titans (1-1)

You had to feel sorry for QB Marcus Mariota, getting sacked 7 times at the Cleveland Browns.

30. (30.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

QB Jameis Winston bounced back from a somewhat dismal performance in week 1. Against the New Orleans Saints he completed 14-of-21 passes for 207 yards, 1 touchdown and a passer rating of 114.6.

31. (32.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)

The Jaguars played much better than they did in week 1. Their defense held the Dolphins to 42 yards on the ground.

32. (28.) Chicago Bears (0-2)

If only the Bears had a Matt Forte for every position on the field. QB Jay Cutler will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury.

NFL Power Rankings - Week 1

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Sept. 9, 2015 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)

1. (2.) New England Patriots (1-0)

“Headsetgate” put some blemish on an otherwise excellent performance by QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski. Brady threw 4 touchdown passes and “Gronk” caught three of them.

2. (4.) Green Bay Packers (1-0)

The Packers played well and won 31-23 at Soldier Field but they allowed RB Matt Forte to rush for 141 yards.

3. (1.) Seattle Seahawks (0-1)

I’m not trying to read too much into Seattle’s overtime loss at St. Louis. After all, it was only the first game of the season but the offensive line has to step it up a few notches and the secondary could do with SS Kam Chancellor.

4. (6.) Arizona Cardinals (1-0)

The Cardinals will stay in the playoff picture as long as QB Carson Palmer stays healthy. The defense held New Orleans to 54 yards on the ground.

5. (5.) Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

The Cowboys beat the New York Giants but not all that glitters is gold. They committed 3 turnovers and needed some luck to beat the Giants in the final seconds of the game.

6. (7.) Denver Broncos (1-0)

Their defense was in Super Bowl form. Their offense? Not so much.

7. (3.) Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

This is as far as I am dropping the Colts for now but they never really stood a chance at Buffalo. QB Andrew Luck didn’t have his best day but let’s face it, the Bills simply outplayed them.

8. (10.) Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)

The Bengals were the much better team on Sunday and deserved the win. That said, the Oakland Raiders aren’t exactly a mighty opponent.

9. (11.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

QB Alex Smith looked very much in control and the pass rush is a constant threat. They are certainly breathing down Denver’s neck.

10. (8.) Baltimore Ravens (0-1)

The defense played extremely well but the offense could not move the chains. With OLB Terrell Suggs done for the season the Ravens might drop even further.

11. (9.) Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)

It took them one half to wake up but they’ve still got a lot of work to do if they want to contend for a playoff spot or even more.

12. (14.) Miami Dolphins (1-0)

QB Ryan Tannehill played a solid game and the defense showed some promise but it was WR Jarvis Landry’s punt return for a touchdown that ultimately clinched the win.

13. (16.) San Diego Chargers (1-0)

They came back from an 18-point deficit and scored 30 consecutive points to beat the Detroit Lions 33-28. The Chargers may have committed 3 turnovers but they also racked up 483 total yards.

14. (18.) Buffalo Bills (1-0)

The Bills pretty much outplayed the Indianapolis Colts but most impressively, QB Tyrod Taylor upstaged QB Andrew Luck.

15. (12.) Detroit Lions (0-1)

The loss at the San Diego Chargers is a bitter pill to swallow, considering the Lions led 21-3 at some point. “Megatron” caught just 2 passes for 39 yards but rookie RB Ameer Abdullah scored his first NFL touchdown.

16. (13.) Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)

Given their injury problems and suspensions the Steelers still played a decent contest at the New England Patriots. QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown are always good for big stats.

17. (22.) St. Louis Rams (1-0)

QB Nick Foles played well, though he lost 2 fumbles. The defense sacked QB Russell Wilson 6 times and made the game-saving stop on 4th and 1 in overtime.

18. (20.) Carolina Panthers (1-0)

The defense looked good but you don’t play the Jacksonville Jaguars every week. LB Luke Kuechly suffered a concussion though he’ll likely be ready to play in week 2.

19. (23.) Atlanta Falcons (1-0)

This was a great head coaching debut for Dan Quinn as his team beat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24. After getting a big contract extension WR Julio Jones responded by putting up big numbers on the field: 9 receptions for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns.

20. (24.) San Francisco 49ers (1-0)

The new-look Niners looked good in their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. RB Carlos Hyde is following in the footsteps of RB Frank Gore, rushing for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns.

21. (15.) Minnesota Vikings (0-1)

The offense was rather futile and the defense didn’t do much to stop the San Francisco 49ers. Oh, and there was the offensive line, allowing 6 sacks. The Vikings won’t win many games this way.

22. (17.) Houston Texans (0-1)

And so the quarterback question is back on. Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallet - that is the question.

23. (19.) New Orleans Saints (0-1)

The defense gave up 427 total yards. Opposing teams won’t have any problems lighting up the scoreboard.

24. (26.) New York Jets (1-0)

The New York Jets looked like a tough team, very much in control of every aspect of the game. Then again, let’s not get too excited! They only played the Cleveland Browns.

25. (21.) New York Giants (0-1)

The offense wasn’t exactly impressive, racking up just 289 total yards. It says a lot about the passing offense when RB Shane Vereen was the leading receiver with 46 yards.

26. (31.) Tennessee Titans (1-0)

The Titans have something to be excited about, namely QB Marcus Mariota. The rookie completed 13 of 16 passes for 209 yards and 4 touchdowns. What an NFL debut.

27. (25.) Oakland Raiders (0-1)

Neither offense nor defense was effective against the Cincinnati Bengals. There is a lot of work to do for HC Jack Del Rio. QB Derek Carr (bruised thumb) is expected to start in week 2.

28. (28.) Chicago Bears (0-1)

They put up quite a fight against the Green Bay Packers. Rivalries bring the best out of teams. RB Matt Forte ran for 141 yards and 1 touchdown.

29. (27.) Cleveland Browns (0-1)

Interesting titbit: QB Johnny Manziel was Cleveland’s leading rusher with 35 yards, followed by QB Josh McCown with 23 yards.

30. (29.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ stellar performance almost went unnoticed thanks to the matchup between the top two draft picks of 2015, QB Jameis Winston and QB Marcus Mariota. The second-year pro caught 5 passes for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns.

31. (32.) Washington Redskins (0-1)

Thanks to RB Alfred Morris' performance I’m moving up a previously bottom-ranked team despite losing. Morris rushed for 121 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.

32. (31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

Not a single unit left the impression that things are going to get better any time soon. A 0-16 season is a real possibility.