Panthers to meet Cardinals in NFC championship game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will host the NFC championship game for the first time after knocking out the two-time conference champion Seattle Seahawks 31-24 on Sunday.

The top-seeded Panthers (16-1) will host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Cardinals (14-3) beat the Green Bay Packers 26-20 in overtime on Saturday night.

Newton threw a touchdown pass, Luke Kuechly scored on an interception return and the Panthers raced to a 31-0 halftime lead before holding off a second-half surge by the Seahawks.

It is Carolina’s fourth appearance in the NFC title game and first since 2005.

The Panthers and Cardinals have not played this season.

This will be the third time since 2008 the Cardinals have visited the Panthers in a playoff game. In 2008, the Cardinals upset the No. 2-seeded Panthers 33-13 in the divisional playoffs en route to their only Super Bowl appearance.

The Panthers defeated the Cardinals at home 27-16 in the wild card round last season.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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