When: 1pm (4pm est)
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV/Radio: FOX 10/KTAR 620
What’s the deal?: The Arizona Cardinals are coming off their bye week as they head east to face the NFC South’s Carolina Panthers. Carolina is coming off a huge home win last week against the New Orleans Saints, one week removed from being embarrassed by the Tampa Bucs. This it the Cards 2nd trip back east this season.
The Cardinals health is better in some aspects and worse in others, although the Cardinals overall are relatively healthy compared to other NFL teams. Reciever Anquan Boldin will see his first action since being hit hard in New York against the Jets on September 30th. Out this week are tight ends Leonard Pope and Ben Patrick.
As for Carolina, quarterback Jake Delhomme has started calling plays again, leading the Panthers to another strong start to the NFL season. The Panthers will be looking to control not only their own divisional destiny, but in the NFC as well. Both teams view this as important a game as any divisional game because it is within the conference and can help both teams improve their standing in the NFC.
A Cardinals victory would help further their cause in attempting to win their first divisional championship. A loss doesn’t set them back very much at all, however it will continue to feed the critics in that the team still can’t find ways to win on the road. This is a great chance for the Cardinals to continue to silence the critics that remain skeptical about this team turning the corner and eventually being a team to be reckoned with.
The Cardinals must find balance in their offensive attack and also must find a way to contain Panthers receiver Steve Smith. Last week he found ways to get behind the New Orleans secondary and it ended up being a rout. Back Edgerrin James looks to carry the ball more than the 9 times he saw the ball against Dallas two weeks ago. He was not a happy camper this week as evidenced by his comments to the media about his current role.
Overall, it should be a great game. I look for the Cardinals to prevail and put to rest some of negativity surrounding this team when it leaves the confines of the desert. Cardinals win 27-24.