The battle for the 2016 NFC championship game is on. Two top-ranked teams will face each other on Sunday to earn their ticket for the upcoming Super Bowl. Arizona's veteran Carson Palmer will test the abilities of Carolina's MVP candidate Cam Newton. Let's see who will emerge victorious.
Here's what you need to know about the Sunday's game:
Date and Time: 25 January, 1:05 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV coverage: Fox
Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
Both of these teams are packed with talented playmakers, so it's interesting to see the keys to victory for both sides. Let's who has the edge in terms of offense.
The Arizona Cardinals know their strength lies in the effective passing games. The team led the league in blitz frequency, blitzing opponents on 44.5 percent of pass plays. Moreover, for player like Carson Palmer who passes at the rate of 110.9, the Cardinals have a huge advantage.
The team is also filled with reliable players. John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald were both rated in the top 25 by Pro Football Focus. The 32-year-old Fitzgerald is producing the ninth-most yards per route run (2.19). Michael Floyd and Brown are also perfect targets for Palmer, making the Cardinals as one of the three NFL teams who can stretch the field with two receivers.
On other hand, Carolina Panthers led the NFL in scoring. The team loves to run the ball, and the coaching staff trusts quarterback Cam Newton to lead them. The quarterback carried his team to a 15-1 record in the regular season and was as much a threat with his arm (3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns) .
According to an article from Washington Post, sports analysts were impressed by his performance. Newton is now the third-best player for the quarterback position.
Also don't forget Tight end Greg Olsen is the bigger challenge for the Cardinals. Sports analysts say the Arizona will use a variety of defenders on him, including Bucannon and safety Tony Jefferson. Olsen is the Carolina's most-targeted player overall (129) and in the red zone (21).
In addition, the Panthers need a big game from defensive tackle Calais Campbell, who is capable of delivering good plays to the team. The 300-pound player has become an excellent run defender over the past few seasons. It is expected that he will spend some time in the Panther's backfield.