Calvin Johnson

Few contenders, more pretenders in NFC

The last four teams to play for the NFC championship have the same goal: Super Bowl or bust.

Carolina, Arizona, Seattle and Green Bay are still the class of a conference that has far more pretenders than contenders. It's a smart bet one of the four teams will be in Houston playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February.

Reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton led the Panthers to a 17-1 record before Von Miller and the Broncos stifled them in the Super Bowl. Carolina returns the bulk of its roster except All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, now in Washington. The offense should be even better because star receiver Kelvin Benjamin is back after a knee injury forced him to miss last...