The Arizona Cardinals have an opportunity to get back on track as they fly to the east coast to take on the Carolina Panthers.
The Arizona Cardinals can even their record at 2-2 this week and keep pace in the NFC West as the playoff races begin to take hold this month. However, the Cardinals have not played the Panthers well, so recent history is not on their side.
However, recent history also isn’t on Carolina’s incumbent quarterback’s side against the Cardinals, giving this game all the makings of a classic toss up. So how good are the Carolina Panthers this year? Keep reading for more information.
Inside look at the Arizona Cardinals Week 4 opponent: Passing offense
Baker Mayfield is among the poorest quarterbacks in the NFL in nearly every statistical category. He completed just 51.9% of his pass attempts, by far the lowest of his career, and he is averaging 183.3 yards per game.
Mayfield has also been sacked nine times this season, but it’s not necessarily from poor pass blocking; he holds onto the ball far too long. This could bode well for the Arizona Cardinals pass rush, who has had trouble getting to the quarterback thus far in 2022.
While the Panthers have talent in the receiving unit, they will only go as far as Mayfield takes them. Look for the Cardinals to take advantage of the former number one pick’s hesitancy.
Christian McCaffrey is the lifeblood of the Panthers rushing offense, and he appears to be back on form after playing in just 10 of 33 possible regular season games in 2020 and 2021. Because of McCaffrey, the Panthers rank 15th in total rushing offense.
However, no one else in Carolina has over 40 rushing yards, with Mayfield snagging the honor. This shows you just how good McCaffrey is, despite missing over two-thirds of the past two seasons. If the Cardinals stop him, they have a much better chance of winning this one.
The Panthers rank 13th in passing defense, which may not bode well for an Arizona Cardinals offense struggling to gain traction through the air. They may get some help though, with Rondale Moore slated to return.
Despite Moore’s probability to play this week, the Cardinals are still three solid weeks from seeing DeAndre Hopkins return. As has been the case since last season, the offense is a mess when their star receiver is not in the lineup.
More bad news for the Cardinals is that quarterback Kyler Murray is averaging just 5.6 yards per pass attempt. The Panthers passing defense is currently eighth in the league, allowing that very same number over their first three games.
The Panthers sit at #21 in rushing defense, however, and that could play into the Arizona Cardinals hands. While running back James Conner has stumbled his way to just 3.0 yards per carry, Darrel Williams has looked good when the Cardinals put the ball in his hands.
The Cardinals can also utilize Kyler Murray and even go with Eno Benjamin to provide a sensational rushing attack heading into Sunday’s game. If the Cardinals control the ball early, they could indeed pull this one out on what is a trying Panthers rushing defense.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)