Coming off a tie game at home last week, the Cardinals will look to adjust to an early start time and get back on track vs. a disappointing Carolina Panthers squad.
In an ideal world, you’d think both Arizona and Carolina would be further along in the standings. The Cardinals have had ample opportunity to sport a better record, but are currently just a .500 group. Meanwhile, it’s been an awful start for Carolina, entering this pivotal Week 8 game with a dismal 1-5 record. Cam Newton has played hurt all season, and the defending NFC champs look lost on defence without Josh Norman. This is a big game for them if they still want to challenge in a relatively wide open NFC South division, but it won’t be easy going against a solidly built Cardinals squad. Though Arizona might be a tad tired playing an entire extra quarter late into Sunday evening, their expectations to win every game remain the same.
This promises to be a very intriguing game to kick off an exciting round of early starts during the Week 8 slate. Both teams want to get the win for eventual playoff positioning in the always competitive NFC. Can the Panthers overcome their defence and finally get back on track? Or will the Cardinals be too tired following last week’s gruelling tie game? Read on below for all the details, game breakdown and analysis, and an official betting selection to pad your Week 8 bankroll!
Cardinals vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Arizona Cardinals +3 (-105)
@ Carolina Panthers -3 (-115)
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Cardinals vs. Panthers Pick:
This is a big game for the Panthers as they’re coming off of their bye week, and simply need a victory. They are likely a better team than their 1-5 record would indicate, but let’s not forget about the fact that they have some serious holes, especially within their defence. Without Josh Norman in their secondary, they’ve been getting torched through the air, and that’s definitely not a good thing with the Cardinals looming.
One big concern entering this contest has to be Newton’s protection. His offensive line has been decimated and it remains to be seen how he’s going to deal with all the pressure the Cardinals typically bring. Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones live in backfields and they’ll be able to get to Newton on Sunday. Patrick Peterson will blanket Kelvin Benjamin in the secondary, and I don’t foresee all that much success from the other bit pieces of Carolina. Looking at this team you really wonder how they went 15-1 just last season. Expect the Cardinals outstanding stop unit to be ready for the challenge of facing the former league MVP and stifle him offensively.
On the other side of the football, the Cardinals quarterback hasn’t been all that great either this season. Carson Palmer is old, yes, but he’s still decent enough to realize that he isn’t at his best so far. One big thing that should get him going is this pathetic Panthers’ secondary. They provide virtually zero resistance, and the duo of Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown should put up big numbers on Sunday. Maybe even Michael Floyd will get going facing Carolina! Of course all this doesn’t even mention the talented David Johnson coming out of the backfield. Johnson is an elusive and dynamic runner, and after being bottled up by the Seahawks in Week 7, he’ll be raring to put up some big numbers again in Carolina.
Despite this being an early game for the Cards, and one that follows a five-quarter slugfest against the Seahawks, they are still a better team than a rested Panthers squad. Carolina has huge issues defensively, and they’re not the type of problems that can be remedied with an extra week off. Arizona boasts an electric passing attack and this should pose massive problems for the Panthers. They enter this game as underdogs, and I’d expect them to win outright.
PICK = Cardinals +3 (-105)