Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Division Showdowns: Arizona at Carolina

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers- Saturday 8:15 PM ET on FOX

These two teams squared off in week 8 of the 2008 season. In that game, the Cardinals jumped out to a 17-3 lead. However, the Panthers would put up 21 points in the third quarter, as well as a field goal in the fourth quarter, to defeat the Cardinals 27-23.

Kurt Warner and his trio of receivers (Boldin, Fitzgerald and Breaston) dominated the passing attack for the Cardinals. Warner threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers never gave up more passing yards then in the game against the Cardinals.

It seems unlikely that the Cards will have the same kind of success. It seems harder knowing that the Panthers will focus much of their defense on the passing attack. However, the Falcons couldn't stop the Cardinals, so anything is possible.

The key for the Panthers is the running game. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are a true 1-2 combo punch. Williams and Stewart represent 2351 of the 2437 rushing yards for the Panthers this season. The Panthers ran for 30 touchdowns this season, best in the NFL.

The Cardinals are in the middle of the pack when it comes to giving up rushing yards. However, the Cardinals managed to shut down the Michael Turner attack, holding him to only 42 yards.

My Pick: The Cardinals have had their great deal of road woes this season. They're 3-5 on the road. So I don't think they could pull it off. I'm picking the Panthers.

Tomorrow, I'll profile the NFC match-up.

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