Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Date and Time: Sunday, January 3rd at 4:35pm (EST) on FOX
Game Line: Carolina -7 (from WagerWeb)
Sunday NFL Football Analysis: The Arizona Cardinals take on the Carolina Panthers to kick off Wildcard weekend for the 2014-15 NFL Playoffs.
The Panthers are coming off a 34-3 road victory over Atlanta last Sunday, clinching the #4 seed and the NFC South division championship. Carolina looks to be peaking at the right time, winning four games in a row with 2 of those wins coming on the road and by a margin of 31 points. The defense has returned to last years form, and have only allowed more than 300 yards of offense only once in the past 5 games. Cam Newton finally looks healthy, and they are running the ball with great success. The Panthers are averaging 199 yards rushing per game in their last 4 outings.
The Cardinals come in to Saturdays contest on a bit of a skid. For a better part of the season, the Cardinals looked like the class of the NFC, but since week 12 they’ve struggled losing 4 out of their last 6 games. Their defense has been carrying this team throughout the season, and they’ve had issues at quarterback. Ryan Lindley will once again get the start for the Cardinals. Lindley has not been effective this season, as he’s completed just 48% of his passes for 562 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Lindley hampers this offense greatly, and with the multiple injuries on offense, this team has struggled to put up points consistently.
As good of a story as Arizona has been this year, I have to lay the points with Carolina here. Carolina is looking like the team we saw last year. They’re running the ball with success, and their defense is really gelling at the right time. Not only that, this Carolina team is finally healthy, unlike Arizona whose injury list is rather full. Arizona’s defense is stout, but if the Cardinals offense can’t sustain long drives, eventually the Cardinals defense will get tired and break. I like the Panthers here in a very low scoring contest.
Saturday NFL Wildcard Free Pick: Carolina -7, Under 37.5
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Score Prediction: Carolina 21 – Arizona 10