Newton tests powers against Cards in NFC title game

Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:47pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who likes to strike a Superman pose after his gridiron feats, will test his powers against the visiting Arizona Cardinals with a Super Bowl berth on the line on Sunday.

The mountain-sized Newton, a dual threat with a bazooka arm and bruising running skills, led Carolina to an NFL-best 15-1 mark in the regular season and is considered the favorite for league MVP honors.

"He is a monster at the quarterback position," Arizona's Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson said ahead of their NFC title game. "Being 6-6, who can run ... being the physical specimen that he is, brings some special challenges.

"And he's truly grown as a passer and a leader."

Arizona has their own top quarterback in veteran Carson Palmer in a match-up of well-balanced powerhouses that will send the winner to Super Bowl 50 against the survivor of the AFC title tilt between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.

The ebullient Newton, who often shows off his dance moves in the end zone after touchdowns, sent the Panthers to the top of the league's scoring charts with the Cardinals and Palmer right behind in averaging over 30 points.

Both teams also feature fierce defenses, ranking in the top six in fewest yards allowed and top eight in points allowed.

Carolina uses a strong running game to open up the field for Newton's play action passes.   Continued...

Jan 17, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates a touchdown by Jonathan Stewart (not pictured in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional round playoff game at Bank of America Stadium. Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports