CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others, and Carolina’s big-play defense stifled Arizona’s top-ranked offense in a 49-15 romp Sunday for the NFC championship.
The NFL’s new top man at quarterback – Newton is an All-Pro this season – will lead the Panthers against five-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in two weeks.
It will be the first Super Bowl for Newton and the second trip to the big game for the Panthers (17-1), who lost to New England 12 years ago. Denver, of course, has made a habit of going to Super Bowls, reaching it for a record-tying eighth time.
Carolina’s D was destructive. It forced six turnovers by Carson Palmer – special teams got one – as the Cardinals (13-4) allowed their most points this season.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Carolina Panthers will be favored to beat the Denver Broncos and win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
Oddsmakers didn’t even wait until the Panthers finished off the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday to install them as favorites in the game two weeks from now. At most books in this gambling city, the Panthers were a 4-point pick, though the early line varied.
Bettors couldn’t wait to get early action on the game at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, which posted a line as the third quarter of the Cardinals-Panthers game was winding down. The initial line favored Carolina by 5 ½ points, and was quickly bet down to 4 points.
The over/under on the game was settling in at 45 points in early betting.