The Panthers enter the playoffs at #4, right where they ended the season:
2013 NFL Power Rankings, final edition: New Year's resolutions - SBNation.com
4. Carolina Panthers NFC No. 2 seed (NFC South champ) The Panthers proved that they're much more than overgrown kitty cats this season, but that didn't prevent them from playing with their food and nearly squandering a first-round bye against the lowly Falcons. Cam and company took care of business, but a scant 21 points against Atlanta's pitiful D was a reminder that Carolina's offense isn't replete with weapons. Luke Kuechly and his mates can bring it as strong as any D in the league, but they may come up one possession short if they face the 49ers in the divisional round. (Last week: 4)
He makes a good point about the offense but Panther fans know that can change on a dime with Cam Newton at the helm. Plus we already knew the offense would miss Steve Smith. I fully expect Smith to return to the field next weekend.
Beyond the Panthers the power rankings continue to favor the NFC over the AFC:
The 49ers continue to get a lot of love and I think for good reason. But they have a tough row to hoe needing to win first in Green Bay and then most likely in Seattle. I don;t see that as such a tough road warrior hence I still think it will be the Panthers in Seattle for the conference championship. A 49er upset would be awesome though as that would set up a Panther home game for the right to go to the Super Bowl. Damn I'm finding it hard not to get excited about that prospect.