THE LATEST: Newton excited for Super matchup against Manning

World News

By The Associated Press

The Latest from the NFL conference championship games Sunday. (All times EST)

10:25 p.m.

The Carolina Panthers are one happy group of football players heading to the Super Bowl.

With chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP!’ ringing in his ears, all Cam Newton could do was let out a scream and raise his arms as he spoke into the microphone.

“I’m excited! I’m excited!” an elated Newton said after dabbing his way for two touchdown runs and two scoring passes in leading the Panthers to a 49-15 rout of Arizona Cardinals in the NFC championship game.

Considered a front-runner for NFL MVP honors, Newton will lead his team against five-time MVP winner Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

“We’re not done yet,” Newton said on the podium on the field as he and teammates smiled and took in the cheers of the hometown fans in accepting the conference title trophy.

The Panthers forced the Cardinals into seven turnovers, six by Carson Palmer, including four interceptions. Now comes the test against Manning, considered one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

“We’ve just got to try to get some pressure on him,” Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “That’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to try and get after them early and our guys do a great with that and we’ll have a good play ready to go.”

Oddsmakers are now posting the Panthers as early 4-point favorites for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

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9:57 p.m.

PANTHERS 49, CARDINALS 15

Bring on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are ready for the Super Bowl, too.

Newton is headed to his first Super Bowl after an MVP-like performance, running and passing the Panthers to a 49-15 rout of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC championship game on Sunday night.

In the AFC title game, 39-year-old Peyton Manning threw two TD passes and Denver’s defense pounded Tom Brady all day as the Broncos beat the New England Patriots 20-18 after intercepting a potential game-tying 2-point conversion pass by Brady with 12 seconds left.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Panthers came up with seven turnovers, including Luke Kuechly returning an interception 22 yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes left in the game. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw four interceptions.

Chants of “Super Bowl! Super Bowl” rang out in the final minutes of the game

Newton had a stellar day completing 19 of 28 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 47 yards and two scores in dabbing his way to the NFL title game.

The Panthers, with the best record in the NFL at 17-1, will be playing in their second Super Bowl. The Broncos (14-4) are set for their eighth title game. The 39-year-old Manning, who could be playing in his final game, is set for his fourth Super Bowl — two with Indianapolis and now his second in four years with the Broncos.

The Super Bowl is Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

In early Super Bowl odds posted in the final minutes of the Panthers’ win, Carolina is listed as a 3 1/2-point favorite

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

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9:15 p.m.

PANTHERS 34, CARDINALS 15

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers can’t celebrate quite yet.

The Arizona Cardinals are looking to mount a fourth quarter comeback against Carolina — and they are off to a good start.

They’ve cut Carolina’s lead to 34-15 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to tight end Darren Fells and a 2-point conversion run by J.J. Nelson. The Cardinals have the ball back after forcing a Carolina punt, but Palmer ended up throwing an interception in the end zone, Arizona’s fifth turnover of the game.

The Panthers have struggled maintaining leads in the past against Indianapolis, Green Bay, the New York Giants and Seattle. Carolina talked about keeping their foot on the gas and now will be an interesting time to see if they follow through on the declaration.

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

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9:06 p.m.

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