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Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware vs. Michael Oher and Mike Remmers
While the Broncos are deep with quality front-seven pass-rushers, the two who make the unit dominant are Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. They made Tom Brady look like a shell of himself as they continually dominated the Patriots blockers. If Newton is going to have a chance at producing in the Super Bowl, the Panthers must keep him somewhat clean.
Offensive tackles Michael Oher and Mike Remmers were better than expected in 2015. Part of the reason is the design of Carolina's offense. Also, defenses don't always rush hard off the edge to help contain Newton. Nevertheless, this is a more functional pairing than what the Patriots were working with.
If Miller and Ware end up in the Panthers backfield as much as they did against New England during the conference championship game, the Broncos offense won't be under nearly as much pressure to score as it potentially could.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. the Carolina Secondary
One big key for the Broncos offense to succeed is the play of Emmanuel Sanders. While Demaryius Thomas may get more publicity and have a better reputation, Sanders is dangerous and vital for this unit. He led the Broncos in receptions and yards against New England, including an incredible 34-yard reception in the first quarter.
Sanders gets moved all around the formation, but he will likely see Panthers cornerback Josh Norman for at least some of the Super Bowl. Norman has been one of the NFL's top shutdown cornerbacks over the last two seasons, logging six interceptions and erasing top-tier receivers regularly.
The Panthers help Norman in their Cover 2 defensive scheme with safety help over the top, and they’ll need to continue that trend this game, as Sanders is explosive enough to take the top off any defense. Since the Broncos don't have a consistent rushing attack, Carolina must take away their most consistent producer, Sanders.
Ted Ginn Jr. vs. Bradley Roby
The Broncos secondary has seen more individually talented receivers than Carolina has, but the Panthers continue to make their unheralded group work. Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. will face fellow former Ohio State Buckeye, Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby, in a critical matchup.
Both players are lightning fast and able to make a game-changing play at any second. While Ginn struggles with drops, he was able to snag 10 touchdown grabs during the 2015 regular season. He is a dangerous weapon for the Panthers and must not be allowed to get behind the safety.
Roby is a great cornerback in his own right. He doesn't get much publicity, but he's as athletic as any corner in the NFL and has the ability to play outside or the slot. Newton must be wary of his pre-snap location every play.
Greg Olsen vs. T.J. Ward
At 30 years old, tight end Greg Olsen put together his best season as a pro in 2015. He led the Panthers with 77 receptions and 1,104 yards and added seven touchdowns. Despite being the obvious top receiver for the team, he continues to shred defenses weekly.
Olsen will have to be a huge factor for the Panthers. Denver has a bevy of defenders to throw at him but is vulnerable to a great tight end. While Rob Gronkowski is a top-three overall player in the NFL and better than Olsen, his eight receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown during the AFC title game may have given Carolina a roadmap to success against Denver's top-tier defense.
The most likely candidate to cover Olsen for stretches is strong safety T.J. Ward. Carolina should work to get Ward on Olsen as much as possible. If Ward can respond with great coverage or even a turnover, the Panthers may be forced to work through other receivers. That would be a major positive for the Broncos.