Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers: Preview, prediction
By Scott Allen
Oct 6, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) sets up for a play against Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas (22) during the fourth quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals beat the Panthers 22-6. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
As for the offense, they did wake up in the first half last week but couldn’t maintain a 17-13 lead. They did nothing in the second half against the Niners. At quarterback again this week will be Ryan Lindley. Drew Stanton has once again been ruled out. Logan Thomas will be the backup to Lindley.
Lindley was awful against the Seahawks two weeks ago. He went 18-44 for 216 yards and an interception. There were times it appeared Lindley didn’t know where to throw the ball. Last week he looked better though he still made mistakes. He did finally throw his first two career touchdowns but also had three interceptions against the Niners.
The key to offensive success against a Panthers defense that has only given up 43 points over its last four games is balance. In the two losses to the Seahawks and Niners, the Cardinals threw the ball 45 times and only ran it 15 times. Against the Niners it was 40/25. In the previous two games against the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs both games were exactly the same in victory, 30 rushes and 33 passes.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he actually fears Panthers quarterback Cam Newton more than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick because of Newton’s ability to throw from the pocket in addition to being able to scramble. No doubt, the Cardinals have a big job in front of them Saturday afternoon.
Moneyline: Arizona +248, Carolina -280
I’ve stood behind the Cardinals all season even when there was doubt. This week has been no exception. Yes, I’m nervous about the job Lindley can do on the road in a playoff game. The Cardinals have relied too heavily on the defense though and the defense has not looked the past couple of weeks they did in the first three months. That being said, I’m going against the grain. The Cardinals pull off the win. Cardinals 26 Carolina 17