NFC Championship Preview

(Photo via bleacherreport.com)

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals

With a big NFC showdown in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend, Panthers fans are recharging their batteries after their cardiac cats held off  The Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC divisional round.  Up next for the Panthers, is a talented Arizona team that many experts believed was the pre-season favorite to win Super Bowl 50.  Not only does this game have Super Bowl implications, but for the first time in NFL history, the world will see two Heisman Trophy winners square off and try to take their team to San Francisco.

While Cameron Jerrell Newton, 26, might be the younger quarterback, he is indeed the more consistent winner in this match-up.  Carson Palmer, 36, is 1-2 all-time in the playoffs, with just his first win coming over Green Bay this past weekend.  Newton, who is 2-2 all time in the NFL playoffs, has been selected NFL MVP by the Pro Football Writers of America.  “Newton is the 41st MVP honored by the Pro Football Writers and is the first Panthers player to win the award,” said Pro Football Talk.

There are two major keys to the Panthers winning this weekend’s game.  The first is to establish a physical running attack and control the line of scrimmage.  Very cliché, but true!  Green Bay was able to protect Aaron Rodgers and get Eddie Lacy Going.  I truly doubt that any Packers fan believed that Lacy was going to rush for 89 yards with 7.2 yards per carry.  The final key is to stop the slot receiver, Larry Fitzgerald.  Panthers’ secondary and especially nickel corner, Cortland Finnegan, will have their work cut out for them, as they try and stop a prolific passing offence.  Carolina must be able to sustain long drives like Green Bay did and score touchdowns, not field goals.

– J. Tennent

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