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The Carolina Panthers will win Super Bowl 50, says Madden NFL 16

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Panthers get out to a three-score lead, then have to come back against Broncos

The Carolina Panthers will defeat the Denver Broncos 24-20 in Super Bowl 50, Madden NFL 16 predicts.

Characteristic of earlier games against Seattle and New York this year, Carolina will take a 17-0 lead into the half before Denver rips off 20 unanswered points to seize a fourth-quarter lead. Madden 16 says the game will come down to the final play, a run by Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

If that sounds a little too convenient, remember that last year Madden NFL 15 picked the exact score of Super Bowl XLIX (Patriots 28, Seahawks 24) and the deciding touchdown (Julian Edelman, catching a pass from Tom Brady). Madden NFL 15 also came within a whisker of predicting the passing and receiving yardage totals for both players, too.

Newton, the favorite to be named league MVP on Saturday, will be the Super Bowl 50 MVP according to Madden NFL 16, passing for 216 yards and one touchdown. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, in what may be the swan song for his hall-of-fame career, will throw for 241 yards and two touchdowns, says the video game.

Last year, Madden predicted the exact score of the Super Bowl

Since its introduction in 2004 with Super Bowl XXVIII, EA Sports' simulation has correctly picked the Super Bowl winner in 9 out of 12 contests. Moreover, it's been solid against both the point spread and over/under lines Vegas bookmakers have set for the game. Madden is 8-4 against the spread, and has won against the over/under the past four years straight.

After opening as 3.5-point favorites, Carolina is now giving up anywhere from 5.5 to six points at the major sports books. The over/under is 45 or 45.5 points. So for those interested in such things, take the under and the Broncos to cover.

This simulation is admittedly unscientific, the computer controlling both teams in a game run just once on Pro difficulty. But EA Sports is justifiably proud of how well its marquee game has done predicting the Super Bowl. (And it is literally impossible to outdo last year's call.) Other than last year's perfecto, Madden also came up big calling victories in 2013 for Baltimore, then a 4.5-point underdog to San Francisco, and in 2010 for New Orleans, a 5-point dog to Indianapolis.

Other games have taken a shot at calling Sunday's championship. A mod of Tecmo Super Bowl, done by TecmoBowl.org, also called a Panthers' victory, 17 to 7.

Last week, Madden NFL 16 was added to the EA Access "vault" of free games available to Xbox One subscribers.