Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning
I love how Manning was completely written off up until week 17 and is now proving everyone wrong. I really want to pick him right here. Unfortunately, there's no question. Newton's the MVP and best quarterback on the planet right now.
Jonathan Stewart vs. C.J. Anderson
Neither of these teams boast superstar running backs. That said, this one is particularly close either. Stewart has over 200 more rushing yards overall and 30 per game than his Denver counterpart, not to mention five more years of experience.
Carolina has an underrated group of wideouts, particularly Ted Ginn, who has really stepped up recently in the passing and special teams game. But nobody in their corps can compete with Denver's two-headed monster of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. The pair combined for 181 receptions and 2439 yards last year.
Greg Olsen vs. Vernon Davis
There wouldn't have been any question about this two years ago, when Davis had one of the best seasons of his career, grabbing 52 catches for 850 yards. But since then his production has slipped, most notably after coming to Denver earlier this year from San Francisco. In six games he's only had 18 receptions for 194 yards and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Olsen's flourished this year, becoming one of Cam Newton's favorite targets. The Miami product set a career high in yards with 1104.
Easy one to say here Panthers have one of the top offensive lines in the league.
Both of these lines were ranked in the top five of the NFL. You can't go wrong either way.
While the Panthers have the best overall LB in Luke Keuchley, the Broncos combination of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware give them the edge.
Josh Norman leads a Panthers secondary that led the NFL with 24 interceptions last year. Much like the linebackers, the Broncos don't have an individual player who can compete with Norman, their unit is a bit more balanced, featuring T.J. Ward and Aquib Talib among others.
The former Vikings quarterback/receiver is on the Panthers' roster. He is not on the Broncos' roster.
Stats point to the Panthers, but the roll Manning and the Broncos have been on is too weird for me to pick against them. They have too much karma going for them right now, I'll say Broncos 27, Panthers 20.