The NFC Championship Game is usually one of the best playoff games each year, and Sunday’s contest between the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals should be no different. The Panthers are just three-point home favorites in a contest that has a good chance to come down to the wire.
Carolina and Arizona have been the two best NFL teams all year long. As the No.1 seed in the NFC, the Panthers led the league with a 15-1 regular-season record, winning 14 straight games to start the 2015 season. The Cardinals won 13 of their first 15 games until losing a meaningless contest in Week 17. Both teams won more games than any AFC team, and Sunday’s matchup appears to be even.
The three-point betting line indicates that the point spread would be a pick’em on a neutral field, and it hasn’t moved all week. The over/under has moved back and forth between 47 and 48 points.
Seemingly every NFC title game has gone down to the wire in recent years. Last season, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers in one of the most memorable games in NFL history. It marked the eighth straight year that the NFC Championship Game was decided by one score.
Both teams played close games in the divisional playoffs. Arizona needed overtime to beat Green Bay after allowing a Hail Mary to tie the contest at the end of regulation. Carolina took a 31-24 lead into halftime against Seattle, but they barely held on to win, 31-24.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer might be the two top MVP candidates. Newton leads the No.1 scoring team in the NFL, while Palmer leads an offense that racked up more yards than any other.
The 2016 NFC Championship will be the final postseason game before Super Bowl 50. With an approximate start time of 6:40 p.m. ET, it’ll kick off after the New England Patriots visit the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game. FOX will have the broadcast on TV.