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NFL Carolina Panthers

Can Cam Newton Lead the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XLVIII?

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers sealed their place in the 2013 NFL Playoffs with a huge win over their NFC South rivals the New Orleans Saints and earned the No. 2 seed after a big win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17. A lot of speculation surrounds whether or not the Panthers can make it to the Super Bowl, but the consensus is that their chances rely on the play of quarterback Cam Newton.

When you look at Newton’s stats on paper he looks like an average NFL quarterback. He’s 15th in the NFL in passing yards (3379), 12th in number of interceptions (13), has around a 60 percent completion rating and is 12th in total number of touchdowns (24). However, he leads NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Newton can make some bad decisions at times, but he’s a competitor that knows what it takes to push his team to victory with the game on the line.

Carolina and Newton can relax a bit knowing no matter what happens in the NFC Wild Card games they will not face their NFC South rivals New Orleans in their first playoff game. But that doesn’t mean that they are going to have it easy. Newton will have to be at his best because they could face the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles or Green Bay Packers in their first game.

Even with Newton at his best, the Panthers are not an elite NFL team like the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks or AFC’s Denver Broncos. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make it to the Super Bowl. They continue to get better every game on both defense and offense and fight hard in every game to pull out the win. The Panthers are an all-around talented team that could get hot and pull off a string of upsets to make it to the Super Bowl.

So can Newton lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl? Probably not. He isn’t a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady type quarterback that can carry his team for all four quarters. However, he is the type of quarterback that makes big plays when they are necessary. Newton can’t make it to the Super Bowl for Carolina, but Carolina can make it to the Super Bowl with Newton.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google