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Why Russell Wilson is poised to outduel Cam Newton

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What do you see in Cam Newton? (2:13)

Is Cam Newton a charismatic star and role model, or a villainous character with a fake smile and a sketchy background? When it comes to perception, Newton must play by a different set of rules. Tim Keown reports. (2:13)

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs features its share of elite quarterback matchups, including Peyton Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer vs. Aaron Rodgers.

As compelling as those battles are, the best quarterback matchup of the weekend has to be Cam Newton vs. Russell Wilson. They are so central to the success of their respective clubs that whoever wins this positional battle is almost certain to lead his team to victory.

At first glance, it might seem that MVP front-runner Newton has the edge. The Panthers lost leading receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a season-ending injury before the 2015 season began, yet Newton piloted the Panthers to become only the 18th team since 1978 (the beginning of the 16-game schedule) to score 500 or more points.

Newton led all quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns (10) and was tied for second in passing touchdowns (35), becoming the only player in league history to rack up at least 30 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Despite those impressive achievements, after breaking down the game tapes and metrics, it is clear that Wilson is the better overall quarterback now and in some ways is vastly superior to Newton.

This case revolves around a number of elements.