Panthers beat Seahawks 31-24, reach NFC title game

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Cam Newton and Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers celebrate their win after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 31-24 in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The two best teams in the NFC will play for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Cam Newton, with the help of Jonathan Stewart, led the Carolina Panthers to a huge halftime lead, then hung on for 31-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

The win puts the Panthers (16-1) into the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals (14-3) next Sunday night in Charlotte. (FOX, 6:40 p.m.). The Cardinals beat the Packers 26-20 in overtime on Saturday night.

Newton threw for a touchdown and Stewart ran for two scores as the Panthers raced to a 31-0 lead at the half. But the Seahawks staged a sensational comeback behind Russell Wilson, but Carolina recovered an on-side kick with 1:11 left.

The teams are meeting for the first time the Panthers beat the Cardinals 27-16 in a 2014 wild card game.

Carolina is in the NFC title game for the first time since 2005.

This will be the third time since 2008 the Cardinals have visited the Panthers in a playoff game. In 2008, the Cardinals upset the No. 2-seeded Panthers 33-13 in the divisional playoffs en route to their only Super Bowl appearance.