Thirty teams have finished their seasons, and there's only one game remaining: Super Bowl 50. David Newton and Jeff Legwold look ahead to what Friday has in store for the Panthers and Broncos.
Storyline to watch: It'll be "no holds barred" for quarterback Cam Newton in terms of how much he runs against the Broncos, coach Ron Rivera said. There is no plan to hold Newton back for fear he could be injured against the league's No. 1 defense. "It's situational football now, from here on out. It's no holds barred. There really is no next game. The approach has to be we're willing to do things we need to do.'' Newton averaged 10.5 carries in Carolina's two playoff wins. Don't be surprised if he gets closer to 15 against the Broncos, who haven't faced a running quarterback like him.
Injuries to monitor: None. Defensive end Jared Allen (foot) has been the only question mark, and he was a full participant in Thursday's practice. He said there is absolutely no way he won't play.
Stat of the day: Newton is the fourth quarterback in Super Bowl history to enter the game with 50 combined passing and rushing touchdowns, along with Peyton Manning (SB XLVIII), Tom Brady (SB XLII) and Dan Marino (SB XIX). The three previous quarterbacks to have at least 50 combined passing and rushing touchdowns entering their Super Bowl start all lost the game, by a combined 60 points. -- David Newton
Storyline to watch: The guys to watch in the Broncos' defense on Sunday may be the guys who didn't get a chance to play in the team's Super Bowl appearance two seasons ago because of injuries. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr., linebacker Von Miller and defensive end Derek Wolfe -- all starters on the league's No. 1 defense this season -- were on injured reserve when the Broncos were defeated, 43-8, by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. All have had prominent roles in the Broncos' defense this time around and all three have said they are determined to not let this opportunity slip away. For his part, Miller is coming off his best big-game performance with 2.5 sacks and an interception in the Broncos' win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Injuries to monitor: The Broncos reached a milestone of sorts with Thursday's practice as every player on the roster participated fully in the workouts at Stanford Stadium. That included three players -- safety T.J. Ward (left ankle), safety Darian Stewart (right knee) and guard Louis Vasquez (knee) -- who were limited in Wednesday's practice. It means, as coach Gary Kubiak has said, all three players should be ready to play in Sunday's game.
Stat of the day: When Peyton Manning was removed from the Broncos' Nov. 15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs because of his left foot injury, he led the league in interceptions with 17 in those nine starts. Manning has not thrown in an interception since he was reinserted into the Broncos' lineup with just more than reight minutes remaining in the third quarter of the regular-season finale. Only one quarterback who threw a pass against the Carolina Panthers' defense this season did not throw an interception: Matt Cassel, who had 17 attempts against the Panthers. -- Jeff Legwold