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Official Madden sim predicts Carolina will win Super Bowl 50 but our test tips Denver

Carolina Panthers will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in the franchise's 21-year history on Sunday – at least if EA's official simulation of Super Bowl 50 is to be believed.

The mega-publisher let the Madden NFL 16 AI play out the biggest match in all of American sports, and got the result that matches most expert predictions: a narrow win for Carolina over the Denver Broncos, with quarterback Cam Newton picking up the MVP trophy.

Last year, astonishingly, it got both the result and final score of Super Bowl 49 correct.

This time around, EA predicts the Panthers go into half-time with a 17-0 lead, and survive a spirited second half fightback from Peyton Manning and company to secure a 24-20 victory.

As an experiment, I let the same match play out at GamesRadar Towers, and got… an entirely different result. One team did lead 17-0 at half-time, but – shockingly – it was Denver. (Hence the screenshot above.) Here's a five-minute highlights package:

In our game, Peyton Manning threw two beautiful touchdown passes, while the impenetrable Broncos D largely shut Newton down save for a late consolation score to Greg Olsen.

Conclusion: Video games are almost entirely arbitrary when it comes to predicting legitimate sporting contests. Unless the Broncos do in fact win, in which case I'm totally claiming all credit.

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I'm GamesRadar+'s sports editor, obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB – and very occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym. Namely: Bill Bryson, Pitch Perfect, and the Streets Of Rage series. I have two kids who aren't quite old enough to play Madden yet. Soon, though…