No. 2 Arizona (14-3) at No. 1 Carolina (16-1)

5:40 p.m. (Ch. 9)

The skinny: This will be the third time since 2008 the Cardinals have visited the Panthers for 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. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 27-16 in the wild-card round last season.

Line: Panthers by 3.

Last meeting: The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 27-16 in a wild-card playoff game on Jan. 3, 2015.

Injury news: Carolina DE Jared Allen will not play after breaking a bone in his foot last Sunday. Arizona All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu suffered a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 20.

Weather: Mid-20s but no precipitation.

Cardinals update: The Cardinals are 7-1 on the road this season. … WR Larry Fitzgerald has 10 TD catches in eight career playoff games. … QB Carson Palmer set franchise records this season in yards passing (4,671), TD passes (35) and passer rating (104.6.).

Panthers update: The Panthers are playing in their fourth NFC Championship Game but their first at home. …They have won 12 straight at home, including two playoff games. … Coach Ron Rivera is 19-5 in games played in December and January since taking over as coach in 2011.

When the Cardinals have the ball: Few teams have as versatile or deep a front seven as the Panthers (they had five sacks against Seattle last week), so Palmer will have to be at his best. All-Pro CB Josh Norman is likely to get most of the coverage assignments against Fitzgerald.

When the Panthers have the ball: Arizona LBs Deone Bucannon and Kevin Minter will be in charge of neutralizing Panthers QB Cam Newton. Carolina is expected to rely heavily on RB Jonathan Stewart, particularly if wintry weather conditions persist in the Charlotte area. The Panthers' best receiving threat is TE Greg Olsen, and Ryan Kalil is an All-Pro at center.

Associated Press