Carolina (1-2, 0-1 away) at Arizona (2-2, 1-0 home)
Time: 4:05pm ET, October 6, 2013
Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
The Arizona Cardinals enjoyed a sloppy 13-10 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The Cardinals scored 10 points in the final three minutes to make the comeback, ending their nine-game road losing streak. The Cards hope to keep their success going as they host the Carolina Panthers who are fresh off a bye week. Prior to their week off, the Panthers were 0-2 in their fist two games but recovered in a dominating fashion with a 38-0 shutout versus the New York Giants in week 3.
A matchup to look for is the Panthers’ run offense against the Cardinals’ run defense. Last week the Red Birds’ defense held Buccaneers’ running back Doug Martin to 45 yards on 27 carries. The Dirty Birds rank second in the league holding their opponents to 75 rushing yards per game. On the other hand the Panthers’ are ranked third for rushing yards averaging 151.
Former Oregon running backs Kenjon Barner and Jonathan Stewart are battling injuries. Barner, a rookie, is expected to make his NFL debut after spraining his foot in preseason while Stewart remains out for the season recovering from ankle surgery. DeAngelo Williams is leading the Panthers in rushing yards with 291 yards on 62 attempts.
The Panthers’ shutout of the Giants was the first for Carolina since 2008. They allowed 150 total yards after giving up 806 in their first two contests. Eli Manning was sacked seven times and forced three turnovers. The Cardinals offensive line has to protect Carson Palmer unless they want to end up like Manning and the Giants did.
Palmer was injured in his last meeting with the Panthers. In 2012, while was playing for the Oakland Raiders, he suffered a rib injury after a punishing sack from defensive end Greg Hardy. Palmer has been sacked 10 times this year, hopefully that number won’t get much higher as the Cardinals traded struggling offensive tackle Levi Brown. In last week’s win over Tampa, Palmer completed 21 of 38 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Patrick Peterson played a huge role in the Cardinals comeback win over the Bucs recording two interceptions and two tackles. Daryl Washington will return to the Cards’ defense after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
The Bird Gang defense will look to slow down Cam Newton who had 223 yards passing, 45 yards rushing and four touchdowns (three through the air and one on the ground). This will be Newton’s fist meeting with the Cardinals since his NFL debut in 2011 when he went 24 of 37 for 422 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Despite Newton’s record performance, the Cardinals won that game 28-21.