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NFC Championship Preview

Updated on January 19, 2016

NFC Championship Preview

Today we take a look at the NFC Championship game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals. This game will be played at 6:40 EST on Sunday, January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, NC at the home of the Panthers. The game will be broadcasted nationally by FOX.

The Panthers enter the game with a 16-1 record, fresh off of a 31-24 win over the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks in last week’s Divisional Round. The Cardinals come in at 14-3 after defeating the Green Bay Packers in overtime by a score of 26-20.

On paper these teams are extremely evenly matched. The betting odds have the Panthers as a 3 point favorite with an over/under of 48. To betting newbies, a point spread of Carolina -3 means the Panthers are expected to win by 3 points. An over/under of 48 means 48 is the projected number of points scored.

Both offenses have been prolific as the Cardinals come in ranked 1st in the NFL in Total Offense, while the Panthers were 11th. The Cardinals were 5th in Total Defense, and the Panthers were 6th. The stat to keep an eye on is the Cardinals have a turnover margin of -1 (they’ve given away one more turnover than they’ve produced) and the Panthers have a margin of +11 (they’ve forced 11 more than they’ve given).

Injuries could be an issue for Carolina as they are likely to be without veteran defensive end Jared Allen. He is expected to be replaced by 2nd year player Kony Ealy. The Panthers expect wide receiver Ted Ginn,Jr. to return as well as veteran defensive back Charles Tillman. Injuries shouldn’t be a factor for the Cardinals coming into this game.

Football in general is a game of turnovers, especially when you’re this late in the Playoffs and the teams are this good. Expect turnovers and home field advantage to be the difference in this game. The Cardinals actually lost the turnover battle last week and still won. Early turnovers forced by Carolina turned out to be the difference in their game. This game will follow the same script, and the Panthers will walk away with a 27-24 victory to propel them to the Super Bowl.

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