The Carolina Panthers are entering the Super Bowl, a six-point underdog. But I believe they’ll win. They are simply just clicking on all cylinders.
They’ve defeated the number one ranked defense in the Dallas Cowboys, the number one ranked offense in the St. Louis Rams and the overall top team in the National Football Conference, the Philadelphia Eagles. They are clearly the best team in their conference and will dominate their night on the world stage. The Patriots, frankly, just aren’t ready.
Head coach John Fox will stress the running game. And For those of you who call for balance guess what? The undefeated 72′ Dolphins ran the football 618 times and passed the ball only 295 times for the year.
This former expansion team reminds me of, surprisingly enough, the 2002 world champion New England Patriots. The Patriots went into that Super Bowl against the offensive juggernaut St. Louis Rams an underdog but came out victorious in a nail bitter.
The Panthers come into this game with quarterback Jake Delhomme, who has led them to seven come from behind victories this season, all on the last possession of the game.
The Panthers also have a luxury at running back with a two headed-dragon in Stephen Davis and Deshaun Foster. Davis ranks seventh in the National Football League in rushing with 1,444 yards and also contributed eight touchdowns to the Panther’s cause.
The emergence of second year running back Deshaun Foster has proven vital to the Carolina offense. Foster came into his own in week five against the Colts, breaking out for 85 yards on 16 carries. In three playoff games, Davis and Foster have combined for a total of 421 yards and have averaged of 140.3 yards per game.
In addition, the Panthers defense allowed only 295 total yards and just 19 points per game during the regular season. The Panthers will depend on their defensive line to apply pressure to rattle Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady. This unit has 32.5 of the team’s 40 sacks.
Even in the common opponent the Panthers and Patriots share, the Washington Redskins, Carolina has shown they are the better team. Carolina defeated Washington on November 16th by a score of 20-17. On the other hand, the Patriots lost to Washington 20-17 in their meeting last year. What?! You mean to tell me the Patriots can’t beat a team that went 5-11 and was coached by Steve ” Fun and Gun” Spurrier.
I can talk all day, but I must say this game will not be won on paper. Super Bowl XXXVIII will be won on the field Sunday night. I’ll just close with this; I feel a Panther victory is as inevitable as Dan Marino making the Hall of Fame.
Serge Beaubrun is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Miami. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.