NFC Conference championship keys to the game
As many of us know by now, the Patriots have won against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Divisional round, 27-20 victory. This means that the Patriots have advanced and will now be playing against the Denver Broncos in Mile High. It’s easy to get caught up in that AFC title playoff, but there is another side that also deserves some big attention; the NFC title playoff.
The NFC game will be played by the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals. This is a major game because when Cam Newton became the quarterback on the Carolina Panthers, his first NFL touchdown was actually against the Arizona Cardinals. This game will determine who will be representing the NFC when it comes time to play in Super Bowl 50.
Both the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals have quarterbacks that can cause serious trouble for the opposing team’s defense when they play well. Cam Newton and Carson Palmer were both number one draft picks for their respective teams. Cam Newton is coming off the best season of his career so far and the best season for the franchise of the Panthers, and it seems that not even the tough defense of the Seattle Seahawks could stop Cam Newton and the rest. If Arizona is looking to make a trip to historic super bowl 50, they will need to focus on some key points to win.
Pressure the QB: Cam Newton is a very dangerous QB if you give him enough time to find a receiver. The Cardinals are going to need to put a lot of pressure on Cam and make him throw the ball before he is ready if they want to win.
Stop the run: Typically, when I talk about stopping the run, I’m talking about getting to the running back and stopping him from making a deep run. But right here I’m talking about the running quarterback in Cam Newton. If he can’t find an open receiver, he will take it upon himself to make some yards. Now if you have been keeping up with the Panthers one loss season, Newton often likes to run out of the pocket and run like Forrest Gump. The problem is he is a very fast quarterback when he runs and what may be 1st and 10 might be 2nd and four after a run from him or he could even make it for another first down. Cardinals will be expecting this and will be sure to close the gaps and pressure him to throw it.
Cover Greg Olson: He is having a great season and is considered to have had one of the best performances from a tight end this season (Don’t worry, our monster Gronk is still up there, too). Olson is one of Cam’s favorite targets and his a major threat in the red zone. If the Cardinals really want to put up a fight they will have to make sure Olson is well covered.
Josh Norman: A defensive player who was able to shut down one of the top receivers in the NFL like Odell Beckham Jr. will create any trouble for any team’s receivers. Expect the Cardinals to keep the ball away from him by any means.
On the hand of this, we have the Arizona Cardinals. A team that ended the regular season with an embarrassing 36-6 loss to the Seahawks at home. They certainly didn’t look like a playoff ready team but they changed that when they won against the Green Bay Packers in overtime with a 26-20 win. Let’s take a look and see what the Panthers will have to do to make their trip to Super Bowl 50.
Different receivers, different game: Larry Fitzgerald. Just the name says it all. For the first half of the season, Fitzgerald was a game-changing wide receiver who just couldn’t be stopped. However, it seems that after their week six bye, things have changed for the Cardinals. Other receivers have now stepped up and become a prominent role in the Cardinals defense. John Brown and Michael Floyd will be some big names to look out for, and that means that some of the best defenders on the Panthers (Josh Norman as one) will be all over them, and the Panthers will have to be on their toes and watch everyone.
The run must be stopped: David Johnson is a powerful running back that has come out of the woodwork. The Panthers are going to have make sure to stop the run and make sure he can’t make the big plays he is known for.
Hold the line: The Panthers defense is one to be reckoned with. And the Cardinals know this for sure. As long as the Panthers keep up the defense they have been showing all season long, they should be able to put an end to the Cardinals season.
Both the NFC and AFC title games are sure to be very tough games for any team. A lot is on the line for all teams here, because this is a milestone super bowl event. They will all play to the best of their ability and make playoff games that no one will forget.