The Arizona Cardinals appeared to be ready to take the next step as a team and become a top-line NFC championship contender. Then they ran into a trap in Week 3 and have to regroup. The Carolina Panthers started their season very poorly but kept hope alive for their season in Week 3. Can one team bounce back, and can another team continue to move in the right direction? Those are the main questions surrounding Cardinals-Panthers this upcoming Sunday, as the NFL moves into October.
- Opening Line: Arizona -3.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
- Current Line: Arizona -3.5
- Over/Under: 52
- Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
- Last Meeting: Panthers 38 vs. Cardinals 20 (9/22/19)
The Arizona Cardinals defeated the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers on the road in Week 1. They crushed the Washington Football Team in Week 2. Arizona had the look of an elite team early in the season. Therefore, when the Cardinals hosted the 0-2 Detroit Lions in Week 3, it seemed they were on their way to a 3-0 record and had a matchup that played right into their hands. The Cardinals learned how far away they are from becoming a top team in the NFL. They’re still a good team, but they’re not a great team. They took a step back in a loss to the Lions.
The main problem for Arizona was at quarterback, where Kyler Murray threw three interceptions and had problems figuring out the Detroit defense. Murray was confused by the Lions’ coverages and was overanxious instead of poised. In this game against Carolina, Murray will try to get back on track. His defense remains solid. The Cardinals have not given up more than two touchdowns in any of their first three games. Arizona has been great at protecting its own third of the field, and at shutting down especially long plays from opposing offenses. The defense just needs the offense to do its job, and to at least avoid crushing turnovers.
The Carolina Panthers might be finding their footing. They allowed 34 points in Week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders. They were outplayed by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. In Week 3, with an 0-2 record, the Panthers went up against the strong defense of the Los Angeles Chargers, which made Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs look relatively ordinary the week before. The Panthers managed just 302 yards of offense against the Chargers. They were outgained by more than 130 yards. Carolina was just 3 of 12 on third downs, while Los Angeles converted 10 of 15 third downs.
Yet, the Panthers won. How did they do it? Simple: They took the ball away. The Panthers grabbed four takeaways from the Chargers – three fumble recoveries plus an interception. The Panthers didn’t commit a turnover.
The Cardinals lost due to turnovers. The Panthers won due to their ability to generate turnovers. That’s the backdrop to Week 4 this coming Sunday.
- Arizona is 3-0-2 ATS in its last five road games.
- Arizona is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against an opponent with a losing record.
- Carolina is 5-1 ATS in its last six games after allowing more than 350 yards in its previous game.
The Cardinals’ offense could not have played much worse in Week 3. The Panthers’ defense didn’t play great on third down, but it was excellent at gathering turnovers. These two trends will have to continue for the Panthers to win this game. The odds suggest that Arizona’s offense will play better and that Carolina won’t take away the ball four times, or even three. Given these likelihoods, the Cardinals should win.
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