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The Panthers were nobody's preseason Super Bowl 50 pick

Only a handful of experts thought the Broncos would play in Super Bowl 50, but no one thought the Panthers would.

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 seeds of the AFC and NFC will meet in Super Bowl 50, but before the regular season began in September, a matchup of the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos in February is one that none of the major experts predicted.

Of the 64 predictions compiled from just before the beginning of the regular season, only three experts picked the Broncos to make it to Super Bowl 50 and all three picked them to lose. But not a single expert predicted the Panthers would make it to the NFL's biggest stage after losing Kelvin Benjamin in training camp.

Some of the most popular teams picked to go to the Super Bowl were the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay PackersSeattle Seahawks and even the Philadelphia Eagles, who were picked by nine experts to win it all. We weren't any better here at SB Nation, pegging the Packers to beat the Colts.

Name Site Super Bowl winner Super Bowl loser
Eric Allen ESPN Seahawks Dolphins
Josina Anderson ESPN Ravens Seahawks
Joe Banner ESPN Eagles Ravens
Judy Battista Packers Colts
Michelle Beisner ESPN Colts Packers
Jarrett Bell ESPN Colts Packers
Stephania Bell ESPN Packers Broncos
Matthew Berry ESPN Packers Colts
Chris Berman ESPN Seahawks Ravens
Jerome Bettis ESPN Colts Seahawks
Brian Billick Ravens Seahawks
Andrew Brandt ESPN Eagles Colts
Gil Brandt Packers Patriots
Bucky Brooks Seahawks Colts
Mark Brunell ESPN Packers Steelers
Tedy Bruschi ESPN Packers Ravens
Frank Caliendo ESPN Packers Patriots
Adam Caplan ESPN Ravens Seahawks
Cris Carter ESPN Packers Patriots
Charley Casserly Eagles Colts
Jeffri Chadiha Colts Seahawks
Ryan Clark ESPN Packers Colts
John Clayton ESPN Seahawks Broncos
Nate Davis USA Today Seahawks Colts
Dave Dameshek Seahawks Chiefs
Brian Dawkins ESPN Eagles Patriots
Trent Dilfer ESPN Cowboys Chiefs
Mike Ditka ESPN Packers Patriots
Mark Dominik ESPN Colts Packers
Herm Edwards ESPN Packers Colts
Robert Flores ESPN Packers Ravens
Ashley Fox ESPN Eagles Ravens
Dan Graziano ESPN Patriots Cowboys
Jon Gruden ESPN Packers Colts
Elliot Harrison Packers Colts
Tim Hasselbeck ESPN Seahawks Colts
Merril Hoge ESPN Steelers Cardinals
Tom Jackson ESPN Packers Ravens
Ron Jaworski ESPN Packers Colts
Keyshawn Johnson ESPN Patriots Cowboys
Peter King Sports Illustrated Packers Ravens
Suzy Kolber ESPN Packers Patriots
Chris Mortensen ESPN Ravens Packers
Wendi Nix ESPN Colts Cowboys
Sal Paolantonio ESPN Eagles Chiefs
Antonio Pierce ESPN Colts Seahawks
Pete Prisco CBS Sports Packers Patriots
Rick Reilly ESPN Patriots Packers
Louis Riddick ESPN Eagles Broncos
Phil Savage ESPN Packers Colts
Adam Schefter ESPN Eagles Ravens
Adam Schein Packers Colts
Mark Schlereth ESPN Packers Patriots
Marc Sessler Eagles Colts
Michael Silver Packers Colts
Jim Trotter ESPN Packers Colts
Ed Werder ESPN Seahawks Ravens
Trey Wingo ESPN Packers Colts
Colleen Wolfe Colts Packers
Darren Woodson ESPN Seahawks Colts
Damien Woody ESPN Cowboys Patriots
Steve Wyche Seahawks Steelers
Field Yates ESPN Seahawks Patriots
Steve Young ESPN Packers Ravens

The "point and laugh" award probably goes to ESPN's Ashley Fox, Joe Banner and Adam Schefter, who all picked the Eagles to beat the Baltimore Ravens. They were three of the nine experts to pick the Eagles to win the Super Bowl and three of the 14 to pick the Ravens to win the AFC, but the only ones to project two teams that finished with losing records.

The moral of the story is that the only safe prediction in the NFL is that it is always wildly unpredictable.