NFL Playoff Preview
Arizona Cardinals (10-7) at Carolina Panthers (12-4)
Saturday, 8:15PM Eastern
Bookmaker.com betting line – Carolina -10, 48.5 O/U
NFC Division Playoff action will kick off primetime Saturday night when the Carolina Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals captured a big home victory last week over the Atlanta Falcons 30-24 and look to keep the momentum going. Carolina closed out the season as strong as any in the NFC winning 8 of their last 10 games and they will try to prove they are the team to beat in the NFC. The game features the biggest spread differential of any playoff game this weekend with the Panthers coming in as heavy 10 point favorites. The Cardinals overcame many expectations last week with and will look to do the same again this Saturday.
Carolina sports a premier running attack lead by two great tailbacks DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart. The two backs combined to be the most effective duo in the NFL for over 2,300 yards and strong 28 touchdowns on the ground this season. The Carolina running game ranks 3rd in the NFL averaging 152 yards per contest. The Panthers will try to establish this running game this weekend and keep a dangerous Arizona offense off the field. The Panthers have scored 25 points on average this season and they will need to put up some points against the high power offense of Arizona. WR Steve Smith is the most valuable Panther on the offensive side of the ball and has the big play capability. Smith has racked up 1,421 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns despite missing the first two games this season. Carolina will look for their playmakers to take control in what many consider to be a fairly high scoring affair.
Arizona posted some of the best offensive numbers in the NFL during the first half of the season. Veteran QB Kurt Warner leads one of the best passing attacks in the NFL averaging a crazy 292 yards per game through the air. The Arizona offense also sports the 3rd best scoring offense in the league with 27 points per contest. The Arizona offense will have to be very effective this weekend considering the defense has struggled all season. The Cardinals scoring defense is among the worse in the NFL allowing 26 points per game. However, Kurt Warner will try to led the high power offense into the promise land and earn a right to battle for the NFC Title. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are big wide receivers that are difficult for any team to defend. Both stars have over a 1,000 yards receiving and combine for 23 scores on the year. Keep an eye on these electrifying playmakers as they will try to make some things happen for the Arizona offense.
What to watch for…
The Carolina running game will be interesting to watch and will provide some big counter affects. If the Panthers run the ball well, it will keep Arizona off the field and play into their advantage. However if Carolina can not establish a ground attack, then it forces the Panthers into a passing war with one of the best air assaults in the NFL. Carolina needs to be effective on offense and keep the time of possession in their favor.
Pick – Panthers defense holds on to win, but Arizona keeps it within 10. Arizona +10
Divisional Playoffs Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Pick
NFL Playoff Preview