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James Jones: I truly believe Panthers' D has the edge


Wade Phillips' top-ranked Denver defense is understandably drawing rave reviews after swarming Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game.

To hear Packers wide receiver James Jones tell it, though, the Broncos defense won't even be the best on the field in Super Bowl 50.

"From playing both the teams, we're talking about two defenses that are unbelievable. Everybody's talking about Denver's defense," Jones told NFL Media's Alex Flanagan on Wednesday. "I truly believe that Carolina has the advantage on defense. Like I said before, they're all on a string. They know where they're supposed to be. The fastest defense I've probably played against in my nine years in the National Football League.

"The craziest thing about them is the confidence of that football team right now. It's hard to match that. Beyond the talent that they have, it's hard to match the confidence that they got right now. I feel like their defense is going to get after Peyton (Manning) a little bit."

That's high praise from Jones, considering he and the Green Bay offense were thoroughly stifled by Denver's defense in a 29-10 one-sided affair at midseason.

While the Broncos led the NFL in total defense, the Panthers paced the league with an astounding 39 takeaways -- a byproduct of the uncanny speed referenced by Jones.

Ron Rivera's defense is built up the middle, with pocket-pushing defensive tackles Kawann Shortt and Star Lotulelei and the league's rangiest linebacker trio in Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson.

"The beautiful thing of watching Thomas and Luke work together ... it reminds me of so much of the great guys I've been around," Rivera raved this week. "Whether it's been Mike Singletary and Wilber Marshall. Or Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Now, to see these two guys in person, that's pretty special."

The Broncos have a special linebacking corps of their own, with sideline-to-sideline tacklers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan complementing disruptive edge rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

We'll have to wait until Sunday evening to see if Jones' analysis proves correct regarded Carolina's alleged advantage.


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