(Reuters) - Five players who could have a game-changing impact in Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback Newton has dominated the headlines all season and has not shrunk from the spotlight in the run-up to Super Bowl 50. At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Newton is the game’s most powerful dual threat weapon and will force the Denver defense to decide whether to focus on his passing or running lanes. Nicknamed Superman, Newton’s big-play ability, and demonstrative celebrations, can quickly swing momentum for the Panthers and their fans.
When the Denver Broncos reached the Super Bowl two years ago, Pro Bowl linebacker Miller was sidelined with a torn ACL. He will get his chance to make up for lost time as he is tasked with harassing Newton on Sunday. Miller is one of the best in the NFL at getting to the quarterback and one of the faces of a top-rated defense that has already made mincemeat of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger this season. Newton, however will provide a different kind of challenge for Miller and the Broncos.
The Panthers linebacker will be locked in a chess match with Denver QB Peyton Manning all day. Kuechly is a tackling machine who coordinates Carolina’s defense up front. With Manning’s penchant for changing plays on the fly Kuechly will need to be at his most alert. Carolina has an opportunistic ‘D’ capable of turning a game around and Kuechly has a pair of interception returns for touchdowns during this postseason run.
After a disappointing start to the season that saw him lose his starting job, running back Anderson has found consistency and teams with Ronnie Hillman to form a critical ground attack. An aging Manning is no longer the thrower he once was, and the Broncos would like nothing more than to control the clock and keep Carolina’s top-scoring offense off the field by running the ball well. Anderson is a compact rusher with power who may need to find the end zone if Denver is to succeed in their game plan.
Olsen is Newton’s favorite passing target and a dependable safety valve at the tight end position when his quarterback is in trouble. With 12 receptions and a touchdown during these playoffs, Olsen has built upon his strong campaign. For all of their prowess, Denver have allowed solid efforts to opposing tight ends so look for Olsen to leave his mark on the game.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue