Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Saturday. A full Sports Digest will be sent at about 3 p.m. All times EST:
-CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Cam Newton looks to give the Panthers (7-8-1) their first playoff win since 1995 against the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) in an NFC wild-card game. The Panthers have won four straight, while the Cardinals have lost four of the last six.
– PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without star running back Le’Veon Bell on Saturday night when they host Baltimore in the AFC wild-card round. The teams split the season series. Pittsburgh is 3-0 in the playoffs against their rivals.
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– INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton have similar achievements listed on their resumes– and similar glaring holes. On Sunday, the two promising young quarterbacks will get another to start filling in some of the gaps when the Colts and Bengals meet in a high-stakes wild-card round game.
– ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo’s first playoff game in five years Sunday is a second chance for the quarterback on the other side, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. The Cowboys have one playoff win going back almost 20 years, same total as the Lions since the Super Bowl era after Stafford lost in his only other try three years ago.
-MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama once again fell just short of a national title shot with a defeat. Now comes the challenge of replacing quarterback Blake Sims and possibly highly rated NFL prospects like juniors Amari Cooper, Landon Collins and T.J. Yeldon.
– BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – Florida takes on East Carolina’s profilic passing game with new coach Jim McElwain in a spectator role at the Birmingham Bowl.
-GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Connecticut and Florida play in a Final Four rematch Saturday, with both teams looking to turn around disappointing seasons. The defending national champion Huskies (6-5) have dropped five of eight, and the Gators (7-5) have lost every quality matchup on their schedule.