Friday, January 2, 2015

Panthers to edge Cardinals on a memorable Saturday

When you are sitting in the rain and the football stadium where you are sitting doesn't allow umbrellas, it's all a matter of perspective.

Carolina Panther fans will almost certainly have that experience Saturday, as rain looms over the forecast. It will be cold, it will be wet and it could be very nasty -- if the Panthers are losing.

If the Panthers are winning, on the other hand, this will turn into one of those "I'll Never Forget When...." sort of games. Panther fans who sat through the monsoon in December 2013 in Charlotte when the Panthers faced New Orleans were rewarded with a last-second touchdown catch to win the game by Domenik Hixon (shown above). Making it through that game is now worn as a badge of honor among Carolina supporters.

This one could be the same way. Panther fans haven't seen their team win a playoff game in nine years. A little rain would only get them singin' in the rain if that happens. But if Arizona wins and it pours, everyone in blue will just seem as miserable as a soaked cat.

-- Although Arizona is on the road for this game in Charlotte, both teams' dream is to return to Phoenix 29 days from the kickoff. The Cardinals' home stadium hosts the Super Bowl on Feb.1.

-- It wasn't that long ago that the Cardinals were vilified as one of the worst franchises in sports, but that has changed. The Cardinals have played seven playoff games in the past seven seasons. In the previous 74 years combined, they also played in seven total playoff games.

-- A wet field would slightly work to the Panthers' advantage, since they are a far better running team than Arizona. Then again the Cardinals have the best deep threat on the field -- Michael Floyd -- and one slip by the Carolina secondary could change things in a hurry.

-- Why are the Panthers wearing white jerseys in January for this game when they usually wear black once the weather gets cold? I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact Carolina has been more successful in white uniforms than in any other color during the playoffs.

-- Prediction time: I am 10-5-1 picking the Panthers' outcomes this season. I don't think either team will score much more than 20 points in this one.

Arizona has held 13 of 16 opponents to 20 or under this season (best in the league in that category).

Carolina has allowed only 43 total points in the last four games, which is two points less than it allowed in November to a Philadelphia team that ultimately didn't even make the playoffs.

The difference? It will come down to the quarterbacks and their offensive lines. Carolina's Cam Newton should and absolutely has to outplay Ryan Lindley in this one. Newton can't pull a "Jake Delhomme six years ago" Saturday. The Panthers have been handed a tremendous break due to the fact that Arizona must start its third-string quarterback. I think they will take advantage of it.

My prediction: Carolina 17, Arizona 12.


SantNPeppa said...

It will not rain much if any. is a great tool if used. It's less than a 50% chance now.

Anonymous said...

Scott, rumor is we're wearing white jerseys for this game. WHY?

dcboy60 said...

This game is not going to be close. The Panthers are going to shut down the Cardinals and win decisively.

Anonymous said...

We should be winning by 2 touchdowns, we have to stop with the mistakes and make plays , stick with what works.

Anonymous said...

If it had not been for Luke we would have never got anywhere and back to the conservative play where your sure to lose. Rivera is making the same stupid mistakes over and over. Defense and Stewart and Whitaker