PANTHERS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Mike Remmers, Offensive tackle
Starts on right side and is a good run blocker, but has been shaky in pass protection. He’ll be charged with neutralizing linebacker Von Miller. That’s not an enviable task, even with the elusiveness of quarterback Cam Newton.
Shaq Thompson, linebacker
The rookie would step in for Thomas Davis if that veteran linebacker has more problems with his broken arm. Thompson was particularly effective in the conference title game in disrupting Larry Fitzgerald.
Gano is experienced and can make pressure kicks, but five of his kicks have been blocked this season, including four field-goal tries. That’s scary.
BRONCOS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Bennie Fowler, receiver
In his second year out of Michigan State, Fowler has good size (6-1, 212 pounds) and uncommon speed. He made a huge third-down catch in the playoff win over Pittsburgh. He’s a dangerous weapon in the slot.
Brandon Marshall, linebacker
If he’s not the best inside linebacker in football, Marshall is at least in the conversation. Not only did he play the entire season with a screw in his foot, the screw was broken. He likely would have led the team in tackles but sat out the finale.
Matt Paridas, center
Has been an ever-improving anchor after spending last season on the practice squad. To play keep-away from Cam Newton, Paradis needs to have a big game.
PANTHERS WHO MUST COME THROUGH
Cam Newton, quarterback
Newton, the NFL’s 2015 most valuable player, is the league’s most dangerous pass-run threat. This is his first time on the NFL’s biggest stage, but so far he hasn’t shown a tendency to shrink in the spotlight.
Luke Kuechly, linebacker
The 2013 NFL defensive player of the year, Kuechly is the glue that holds together the spectacular Panthers defense. On top of being as good a tackler as there is in the game, he’s has had pick-six touchdowns in the last two games.
Ted Ginn Jr., receiver
Thanks in part to offensive coordinator Mike Shula, the speedy Ginn has emerged as the kind of threat lots of people anticipated he’d be. He scored 10 touchdowns this season after scoring 11 in his last eight seasons combined.
BRONCOS WHO MUST COME THROUGH
Peyton Manning, quarterback
Von Miller, linebacker
Miller was a wrecking ball against the Patriots, proving to be nearly unblockable, sacking Tom Brady 2 1/2 times, and hitting him a bunch more. If he can get to Newton and force him into mistakes, the scale will tilt in favor of Denver.
Chris Harris, cornerback
Played injured against Pittsburgh, then against the Patriots had the clinching interception of Brady’s two-point conversion pass. The Panthers have so many offensive weapons, this will be the biggest test for this secondary.