Five NFL Week 17 matchups to watch: Can Cam Newton knock Falcons out?

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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay H. Jones breaks down the matchups that will determine which teams will reach the postseason.
USA TODAY Sports

With a preseason play to diversify the offense gone by the wayside, the Carolina Panthers’ approach is clear. Now and into the playoffs, this remains Cam Newton’s show.

As Carolina finishes off yet another late-season surge by making a last push for the NFC South title, Newton has reaffirmed his role as the team’s lone offensive engine. In leading the Panthers to a 7-1 mark in their last eight games, he has thrown for 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions while racking up nearly 500 rushing yards and an additional three scores. He also is Carolina’s leading rusher and likely will set new career highs in carries (currently 128) and rushing yards (695).

But Newton’s greatest feat of all Sunday might be delivering a serious blow to the playoff chances of the Atlanta Falcons. If they fall, the defending NFC…

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