The Carolina Panthers are coming off a bye week, giving them plenty of time to rest up and prepare for their next opponents. This Sunday, the Panthers have a late afternoon game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have a better start to the NFL in 2013 with one more win than the Panthers. Arizona has already faced two divisional opponents of the Panthers. The Cardinals are coming off a tough Week 4, having lost against the Saint Louis Rams, and are looking to bounce back and secure another win at home. However, the Panthers are looking to keep the momentum they had in Week 3 when they annihilated the New York Giants, 38-0.
After an amazing victory in Week 3, the Panthers had their bye week. This early break in the season could prove to be costly since the Panthers may have lost their momentum. The biggest asset for the Panthers in Week 3 was the defensive front seven who took control and sacked the quarterback seven times. The rest of the team played off of the hype, and the offense started to click. The biggest key to beating the Cardinals is to pressure the quarterback. Carson Palmer isn’t known for being a mobile quarterback, and he has played many seasons in the league. The two games the Cardinals lost, Palmer was sacked four times. In the two games the Cardinals won, Palmer was only sacked once.
Another reason for the Panthers to bring the pressure is because Palmer has thrown at least one interception every game. With Palmer’s inability to scramble, he is forced to get rid of the ball sooner. This can potentially lead to a poorly thrown ball and then the Panthers’ defense need to be on their heels to go up and snag an interception. In Week 3, the Panthers held the Giants’ offense to under 200 total yards. The Giants have two of the best receivers in the league with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The Panthers’ secondary, although mostly young, played a great game and contained the two star receivers to fewer than 30 yards. The Cardinals have another top league receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is known for his reliable hands and ability to make fantastic diving catches. He can beat anybody in a jump ball situation. The Panthers need to play close to Fitzgerald and bump him on the line, but give the cornerbacks support over the top with help from the safeties. If the Panthers can dominate the field on the defense, expect them to take home victory and improve to 2-2.