Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is proving this postseason he deserves to be the NFL MVP. In two wins, he's thrown for 496 yards and three touchdowns while adding another 50 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Now, he and the Panthers will face off with the AFC champion Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7. Denver boasts the No. 1 defense in the league, and Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib is a big reason why. But he knows facing Newton is no easy task, per Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post.
"He's probably the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL right now," Talib said Monday.
That statement's pretty hard to argue with when you look at a stat like this one, per SportsCenter:
Cam Newton has accounted for 50 touchdowns, including playoffs, this season (38 Pass TD, 12 Rush TD). https://t.co/5XeHYk1PVc2016-1-25 03:10:09
Still, it's noteworthy coming from a supremely talented player in Talib who is not known for handing out praise.
After his team shut down a high-powered New England Patriots offense in a 20-18 AFC Championship Game victory on Sunday, Talib seemed to insinuate Denver's game plan was to do the opposite of what the Kansas City Chiefs attempted the week before, calling the AFC West rivals "sorry," per Sam Mellinger the Kansas City Star.
Denver head coach Gary Kubiak didn't insult the Chiefs, but he did talk about the difficulty of attempting to contain a player of Newton's caliber, per Wolfe.
"It will very much be a different type of look," Kubiak said. "We could definitely use the extra time defensively."
While the Panthers offense is a concern of Kubiak's, he knows their defense is nothing to overlook, per Wolfe.
"Boy, they are really good on defense, [linebacker Luke] Kuechly runs the show. He's just an amazing player," Kubiak said. "What I see is a big physical, fast football team."
He also called the Panthers "dominant in all phases," which is true. The Panthers put up a league-high 500 points this year and another 80 in two postseason games. And they not only led the NFL in takeaways with 39, but their plus-20 turnover margin also was tops in the league.
Denver, who will have 39-year-old Peyton Manning under center, is more of a one-dimensional team, relying heavily on a defense that allowed just 18.5 points per game.
At times players may praise their foes as a sign of respect or to keep from showing their true feelings, but in this case, it's pretty clear Talib and Kubiak are being genuine with their words.