Cam Newton leads the Carolina Panthers to first playoff win in nine years

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Cam Newton led the Panthers to their first playoffs win in more than nine years with a 27-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Newton went 18-of-32 for 198 yards and two touchdowns adding five rushes for 35 yards. Running back Jonathan Stewart helped on the ground rushing for 123 yards and a score. The Cardinals, led by third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley, looked lost at times. The Arizona offense was only able to muster 78 total yards in defeat, but were kept in the game by defense and special teams plays which included recovering a muffed punt and picking off Newton once.

Carolina will move on to the divisional round to the play the Seattle Seahawks if the Dallas Cowboys win, or will play the Green Bay Packers if the Detriot Lions win.

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Predictions for all NFL Wildcard games via Fansided

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No. 6 Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

Both teams’ antennas will be up even more since this is a rivalry game and bragging rights are on the line. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a 16-13 or 20-16 type game, however this one will come down to Flacco and Ben and giving how each has played this season, I’m siding with Ben on this occasion – plus he’s got the home-field working in his favor too.
Pick: Steelers 34-24

No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (11-5)

Luck (led league with 40 TD passes) is obviously the best player on the field and having that guy on your team should alone make the Colts the slight favorite, although he can’t single-handily carry the Colts to a championship. Yet, I’m a big believer in “Sooner or later this team is going to get over the hump and get the job done after always being in the playoffs and suffering loss after loss” that applies to the Bengals losing three straight years in the Wild Card game. The Bengals are due to win at least one playoff game this year being that this is their fourth year in a row in the playoffs. No, I don’t think the Bengals are going all the way but I think they will find a way to win this game – no matter how sloppy and ugly it might be.
Pick: Bengals 27-23

No. 6 Detroit Lions (11-5) at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4)

his game will be a battle of who can control the line of scrimmage and even with Suh in the lineup; I can’t vision a scenario where the Lions front four will have success slowing down Dallas’ well-oiled running machine with the league’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray. The Lions passing game isn’t as scary as in year’s past but is still more than capable of making the Cowboys defensive backs sweat some, but to what extent. This game is all about Dallas in my opinion. Their focused, in a zone, and are just a more complete football team that can hurt you in more ways than the Lions can. I applaud the Lions for overachieving this season but the Cowboys are playing like a team on a mission and a team that is looking to erase the “Will find a way to choke in a Big Game” stigma that has been following this team the last five years. This is a different Cowboys team folks and there out to show that in the playoffs.
Pick: Cowboys 41-20

No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at No. 4 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)

While Arizona has the more talented secondary (Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Tyrann Mathieu), Carolina possesses the better front seven led by 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly. The question I’m asking myself is, “Who’s playing better going into this game?” and the answer is Carolina. They’ve won four in a row and Arizona has lost the last two games. You can only go but so far with a third-string quarterback at the helm and I think the Cardinals will reach their breaking point in this game. They don’t generate enough points and the Panthers defense has played as good as anyone the last month. Cam will put up just enough points at home to win this game. Arizona’s luck will run out.
Pick: Panthers 21-16

Read the whole slideshow on Fansided

Is anyone giving the Arizona Cardinals a chance to beat the Carolina Panthers on Wildcard Weekend? Bruce Arians is.

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TEMPE, Ariz. — All things being equal, a team would rather enter the postseason riding a winning streak.

It’s called “peaking at the right time,” and generally leads to confidence that a team could make a deep playoff run.

The Arizona Cardinals, having lost their last two games and four of their last six, seem to be trending in the opposite direction.

Cause for concern?

“I would think you’d say that, but I don’t think there’s any concern because we’re in the playoffs and it don’t matter, We’re all 0-0” coach Bruce Arians said Monday.

Read more on ArizonaSports.com

NFL playoff picks and analysis for Wild Card Weekend via the Washington Post

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NFC: No. 6 Lions at No. 3 Cowboys (Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET)

The Cowboys went only 4-4 at home this season, compared to 8-0 on the road. The Lions certainly have the offensive capabilities to give the Dallas defense trouble. But it feels like the Lions had their chance Sunday in Green Bay to set themselves up for greater postseason success, when Rodgers exited the game for the NFC North title before returning later, and squandered it.

Pick: Cowboys

NFC: No. 5 Cardinals at No. 4 Panthers (Saturday, 4:35 p.m.)

The chances of Drew Stanton returning for the playoffs probably were eliminated when he was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery for an infection in his injured knee. So while the Cardinals are a solid all-around team with a superb coach, it’s difficult to rely on a quarterback with two career touchdown passes and 11 interceptions — Lindley’s regular season totals — to win a playoff game.

Pick: Panthers

AFC: No. 6 Ravens at No. 3 Steelers (Saturday, 8:15 p.m.)

The key could be Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. The former Super Bowl MVP struggled mightily in the first three quarters against the Browns on the heels of a miserable outing a week earlier at Houston. But he threw two touchdown passes and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the fourth quarter Sunday against Cleveland.

Pick: Ravens

AFC: No. 5 Bengals at No. 4 Colts (Sunday, 1:05 p.m.)

Quarterback Andy Dalton makes his fourth playoff appearance for the Bengals and seek his first postseason triumph. His top wide receiver, A.J. Green, exited the game Sunday night in Pittsburgh and now is subject to the NFL’s concussion protocol, meaning that he must be cleared by an independent neurologist to practice and play.

Pick: Colts

Read the whole article at Washington Post

FoxSports takes a look at how the red-hot Carolina Panthers could beat the Arizona Cardinals and have a shot at the Superbowl

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As a result, the fourth-seeded Panthers (7-8-1) will host the fifth-seeded Arizona Cardinals on Wild Card Weekend (Saturday). And who knows, Carolina might even be favored to advance to Round 2 of the NFC playoffs.
Carolina enters the playoffs on a four-game winning streak, while Arizona has dropped two straight and four of its last six.
More importantly, though, is the state of their quarterback situation: Will the Cardinals ride third-stringer Ryan Lindley, fourth-stringer/rookie Logan Thomas or No. 2 QB Drew Stanton, who recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to fight an infection?
Odds are it won’t be Stanton … and Lindley just threw his first-ever touchdown pass on Sunday (against the 49ers).
Frankly, it might not matter to a surging Panthers defense that held a formidable Falcons offense to three points and 288 total yards. Oh, and the Carolina defense also tallied two pick-sixes off Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan — with Roman Harper (31 yards) and Tre Boston (84 yards) netting the return TDs.

To read the full story check out FoxSports

The Panthers are favorites to beat the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday

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Panthers QB Cam Newton and Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have one thing in common; they don’t care about records. Vegas is making this clear as they have listed the Panthers as five-point favorites over the Cardinals. Check out the odds below.

(Saturday 1:30pm) Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers -5
Over/Under 38 total points

Full NFL Wildcard weekend schedule with exact times, days and channels

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UPDATED:

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Saturday, Jan. 10

AFC Divisional Game 1
(1) New England Patriots vs. (6) Baltimore Ravens, 4:35 p.m. CBS

NFC Divisional Game 1
(1) Seattle Seahawks vs. (4) Carolina Panthers, 8:15 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Jan. 11

NFC Divisional Game 2
(2) Green Bay Packers vs. (3) Dallas Cowboys, 1:05 p.m. FOX

AFC Divisional Game 2
(2) Denver Broncos vs. (4) Indianapolis Colts, 4:40 p.m. NBC

Championship round

Sunday, January 18

NFC: FOX, 3:05 p.m.

AFC: CBS, 6:40 p.m.

Super Bowl XLIX

Sunday, February 1

NFC champion versus AFC champion (FOX, 4:30 p.m.)

NOTE: Above game times are Pacific(west coast), game times below are Eastern(east coast)

NFL Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, Jan. 3
NFC: 4:35 PM (ET) Arizona at Carolina (ESPN)

AFC: 8:15 PM (ET) Baltimore at Pittsburgh (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 4
AFC: 1:05 PM (ET) Cincinnati at Indianapolis (CBS)

NFC: 4:40 PM (ET) Detroit at Dallas (FOX)