Last week when the Panthers steamrolled their way to a 31-0 halftime lead over the two-time defending NFC champs, it was pretty jaw-dropping.
It was equally shocking to see them nearly let it all slip away by going scoreless in the second half and letting Seattle get within a failed late onside kick of coming back to tie the game.
That wasn't happening again on Sunday after the Panthers built a 17-0 first-quarter lead on the Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game — not even close. The Panthers rolled to a 49-15 win over the Cardinals to go into the Super Bowl in two weeks riding all kinds of momentum using a dominant defense and the NFL's best player this year, quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton and the Panthers opened as 4-point favorites against the Broncos, and while Denver's defense is fresh off a masterful performance against Tom Brady & Co., you have to realize the Panthers have a running game in the form of Jonathan Stewart and even Newton when he gets loose. Just imagine what would be happening right now if Newton actually had a star receiver (he lost his No. 1 threat Kelvin Benjamin in training camp to a torn ACL)?
We'll see if Denver can slow down the Carolina train, but at this point it's hard to see anyone doing that.