The Carolina Panthers (1-2) hope to keep their momentum going as the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) pay a visit on Sunday. Both offenses have floundered thanks to various problems. In Week 3, Carolina’s defense paved the way in its 22-14 win over the New Orleans Saints, and Arizona’s offensive struggles continued in a 20-12 loss against the Los Angeles Rams. Will either offense make progress this week? We’ve plenty of NFL predictions for you to consider.
Slow starts are plaguing the Cardinals. In the 44-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona was down 14-0 in the first quarter. A week later, the Cardinals trailed 20-0 against the Las Vegas Raiders but won 29-23 following a dramatic comeback. Last week, the Los Angeles Rams took an early 13-0 lead. Arizona is constantly putting itself in big holes.
Through three games, the offense has thrown the ball on 68.02% of plays (3rd). Early deficits are the main cause of the one-sided play-calling. This has made running back James Conner virtually ineffective, with only 90 rushing yards, and with quarterback Kyler Murray’s inconsistent play, the Cardinals should look to run more often. Wide receiver Marquise Brown — who comes off a 140-yard performance — has been one of the few positives.
It’s Hollywood Brown time! pic.twitter.com/y8FLijXBNh
— PHNX Cardinals (@PHNX_Cardinals) September 25, 2022
The Arizona Cardinals must get out to faster starts, especially with its poor defense. The Cardinals are 31st in the league with only three sacks. Defensive tackle J.J. Watt (two sacks) has been the only reliable pass rusher. All-Pro safety Budda Baker has been great, but Arizona needs others to step up in the secondary.
Carolina is experiencing the Baker Mayfield problem, just like the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield has an 80.8 passer rating and has consistently missed open targets down the field. In addition, the Carolina Panthers have poorly utilized their best player, running back Christian McCaffrey. He has played well (4.9 yards per run) despite a poor offensive line, but Carolina rarely uses McCaffrey in the passing game.
Like last year, the defense must fuel wins. It did so against the Saints with three takeaways and a defensive touchdown. Linebacker Frankie Luvu continued his good play with a forced fumble, leading to a scoop and score. The defensive front stopped the run and generated six QB hits. According to PFF, cornerback Jaycee Horn has the league’s lowest passer rating allowed.
While the defense is playing well, the offense must improve. This formula did not work last year, and it won’t this season.
Cardinals vs Panthers Injury Report
Cardinals vs Panthers Head-to-Head
Since 2015, Carolina has dominated this matchup with six consecutive wins. Last year, the Cardinals lost 34-10 to the Panthers.
Cardinals vs Panthers Game Information
- Date: Sunday, Oct. 2nd
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
- How to watch Cardinals vs Panthers? ESPN
Cardinals vs Panthers Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
Cardinals vs Panthers Betting Lines
Cardinals vs Panthers Prediction
Arizona’s pass defense has been its biggest weakness. The Cardinals are 30th in passing yards allowed per game (281), and a weak pass rush adds to the issue. However, the Panthers are not equipped to take advantage. Mayfield has struggled with accuracy, and the offensive line has played poorly. Moreover, Carolina’s secondary is banged up, which helps Arizona’s pass-heavy approach.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.