By Sam Bush

The snow is coming, and Sunday’s NFC title game in Charlotte may be affected.

As the entire East Coast braces for a what is expected to be a severe mix of ice and snow beginning Friday morning, the Carolina Panthers are planning to adjust their practice schedule accordingly, while the Arizona Cardinals remain scheduled to leave Phoenix late Saturday morning.

Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in North Carolina on Thursday. The city of Charlotte could see up to a half-inch of ice and more than 2½ inches of snow with the storm that it is expected to last through at least Saturday.

The Panthers will host the Cardinals in Sunday’s NFC championship game at Bank of America Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET.

“We could play in this type of weather on Sunday,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Thursday. “If the front, from my understanding, slows down and lingers, there’s a chance it could end up being around for game time. We have got to prepare for it. If we have to go out and practice in it, we will practice in it.”

Rivera said the team got the bulk of its preparation in the Wednesday and Thursday practices. He added that Friday serves as a “refinement day with a couple little adjustments that will be tweaked.”

The coach and his team are staying flexible.

“We will adjust to it,” Rivera said of Friday’s practice schedule.

“As we get in and we see what’s happening, we can move things up or move things back.”

Scott Paul, the Panthers’ executive director of stadium operations, said he is confident the field at Bank of America Stadium will hold up despite the weather.

“I think we are comfortable where it is right now,” he said. “You’ve got to have the right cleats on and go play football.”

The condition of the field was an issue during last week’s divisional-round game against Seattle. Paul said that on Sunday night “we rolled it, we hand filled the larger divots and top dressed it this week and painted the field.”

As this storm approaches and hits the Charlotte area, tarps will remain on the field until precipitation stops.

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