While "Gut Feeling" has been a staple on DallasCowboys.com on Saturdays during the regular season, the staff writers thought they would again share their own thoughts for this upcoming game.
Super Bowl 50 is the biggest sporting event in the world and while the Cowboys have long been eliminated from playoff contention, the writers decided to offer up predictions as well.
Rob: This matchup reminds me of two recent and very different Super Bowls. Could the Broncos rally around Peyton Manning in what could be his last rodeo, just as the Ravens upset the 49ers in Ray Lewis' final game? Maybe, if that fierce Denver pass rush can disrupt Cam Newton. Or Sunday could play out more like two years ago when the Seahawks shut down Manning and the Broncos' record-breaking offense in the third-most lopsided Super Bowl ever. I don't expect to see another 35-point Denver defeat, but I've now watched Carolina simply overwhelm three opponents with across-the-board dominance: Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, the Divisional Round against Seattle and the NFC Championship against Arizona. The Panthers get more takeaways than any team in the league and their quarterback is unstoppable when he's at his best. I expect Denver to play inspired football for Manning, but my gut feeling is Carolina will show they're the more complete team over four quarters.
David Helman:There's a lot of reasons to root for the Broncos on Sunday night. Cowboys fans everywhere would be happy to see DeMarcus Ware claim a Super Bowl ring after a long and decorated career in Dallas. It'd also be a nice sight to see Peyton Manning ride off into the sunset with a championship. Ultimately, though, I think the Panthers are an unfavorable matchup in almost every way. Cam Newton is big enough and mobile enough that he can limit the impact of Denver's fearsome pass rush. His ability to extend plays should also present problems for the Denver secondary. On the other side, I don't trust Denver's leaky offensive line to protect Peyton Manning from the likes of Kawann Short and Co. I also don't trust Manning's limited arm strength against a ball hawking secondary. It's not going to be a beatdown, like Carolina's dominating win against Arizona. But the Panthers will seize control in the second half and not let go. Newton will win his first championship and become Super Bowl MVP in a 31-20 Carolina win.
Nick: This will be a contrast with my head and heart. My head says Carolina is too good, too fast, too strong, too young and too ready to lose this game. It has been their year all season long and it would only make sense for them to finish the job. I can see Denver struggling like it did two years ago against the Seahawks. But inside, I really would like to see Peyton Manning go out as a winner. And yes, I think this will be his last game regardless, but to me, I think he's the very best quarterback to ever play. I know others have won more, but if I needed to go win one game, I think he would be the quarterback I choose. I think he deserves to be recognized that way and if he loses Sunday, he'll probably go down as a quarterback who had lots of stats, but didn't always deliver and doesn't even lead his own family in Super Bowl wins. So for that, I'm pulling for him to win, and I would like to see Joe DeCamillis get a ring over there in Denver. I know there are other players and coaches in this game that have been here, but Joe D is the guy I'm pulling for the most. So, whether I even believe it or not, I'm going to say Denver wins this game 27-24 in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. I predict someone like Von Miller or Emmanuel Sanders will be more deserving, but the writers still give Manning the MVP trophy.
Bryan: I am not one of those folks in the media that are getting all teary eyed over Peyton Manning and potentially his last game. It's been a heck of a run for him and with this Denver defense he has a chance of raising another Lombardi Trophy. With that being said, I feel like Carolina can do enough across the offensive line to protect Cam Newton from this Broncos rush. Michael Oher, Ryan Kalil and Trai Turner have been outstanding, not only this season but into the playoffs as well. Even if the Panthers struggle with the protection, Newton's ability to scramble make it difficult for the defense to get off the field. My gut feeling is that Carolina will be able to control this game with their offensive line and the Panthers beat the Broncos 28-17 and claim their first Super Bowl title.