A Betting Overview of the Arizona Cardinals Offense
It’s easy to find positive press about the Carolina Panthers’ offense. After all, Cam Newton is a rock-star sensation who has had a terrific season this year, rolling along to a 15-1 regular season record and dynamiting the Seattle Seahawks 31-0 in the first half of the divisional round of the playoffs last week. So the Arizona Cardinals keep plugging along, just under the radar, with numbers that are very similar to those of the Panthers (489 points on the season, as opposed to 500 for the Panthers), despite the fact that the Cardinals play in a much more difficult division (the NFC West, also the home of the Seahawks and the surprisingly feisty Rams).
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 19, 2016
Is Carson Palmer really a big-time quarterback?
It’s easy to dismiss Palmer as well. He was 0-2 in the postseason before the Cardinals’ unbelievable overtime win over the Packers, having spent his early career in the playoff purgatory that is Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium. He threw a couple of picks in the Green Bay game that showed poor decision making, including one in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and while people praised Aaron Rodgers for leading his team down the field with two huge bombs late to tie the score, if Palmer had not thrown that pick but the Cards had scored instead, Rodgers wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to tie the game. The late touchdown that Palmer did throw bounced off a Packer defender, swatting it away from a receiver, only to carom to another one. So if you want to argue that Palmer is not ready for this sort of showdown, you’ll have a lot of people listening to you.
Look to the teams, not the individual players.
While Palmer and Newton are both stellar talents, the Cardinals’ offensive talent will help them carry the day. Yes, the Panthers have Ted Ginn Jr., but he is no match for Larry Fitzgerald, who gained 176 receiving yards on Saturday to set a career best. In eight playoff games, he has averaged 114 receiving yards and has ten total touchdown catches. There’s no one on the Panthers’ side with those sorts of playoff skins on the wall. The Cardinals do not have much of a power rushing game, but their line has been solid enough to allow them to build a credible play-action threat that the Panthers will have to watch. While the Panthers have Newton to throw the ball, they don’t have the elite receiving corps to make the Cardinals pay, and the Cardinals have a solid defensive front that will limit the opportunities that the Panthers have.