Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers 1/24/16 Preview & Picks
- At 6:40 pm, the 15-1 Panthers will host the 13-3 Arizona Cardinals in a contest of two true powerhouses.
How can we not be excited? This will be the very first time two Heisman-winning quarterbacks face each other in an NFL playoff game. Cameron Newton, as he likes to be called from time-to-time won it along with a National Championship while at Auburn and the veteran Carson Palmer claimed his trophy while starring at USC over a decade ago.
Both Qbs have been monsters this season and have heavy MVP consideration. Newton may be the favorite as his brash style gets the media all giddy, but Palmer is the better thrower. His aerial distribution has been so impressive, as all four WRs have had moments in the sun.
Larry Fitzgerald leads that group, though he’s been “old and washed-up” for a couple of years now…right. He was an animal on that 75-yard catch and run in OT last week and should get his fair share of chances again today. Josh Norman usually stays on his side and still has Michael Floyd, John Brown and occasionally J.J. Nelson to worry about.
Floyd was a beast himself, scoring a pair of touchdown last week. His size and speed will be VERY hard for guys like Cortland Finnegan or Robert McClain to handle. They are weak nickel backs at this point in their careers, and if Floyd played a full season he would have been among the league leaders at his position.
John Brown gets alot of hype for his flash, but his toughness is so impressive for a smaller receiver and he should eat up his matchup as well.
Rookie sensation RB David Johnson is a little banged up, but he is a tank and should pound out some hard yards against this stout Panthers D. As a former WR, his hands and ability in the open field make him a dangerous weapon, so watch for at least five targets with him coming out of the backfield as they will want to avoid that D-Line,
Tedd Ginn Jr has been fantastic all season for Carolina, but he has been dealing with a knee issue since Week 16 and a matchup with Patrick Peterson may be too much for the smaller Ginn to handle.
Greg Olsen always gets his fair share of targets from Cam Newton. The TE is probably how the Panthers want to attack this All-Star Cardinals D squad as their outside coverage will be tight. Five catches for just under 100 yards and a score is my guess.
Jonathan Stewart (foot, ankle) had himself a day last week against the Seahawks. 19 carries for 106 yards and two TDs versus that defense is no joke, but neither is this Cardinals front-seven. Stewart is pretty consistent and has that big-game ceiling.
Advice: This will be a hard fought game, but Michael Floyd is in line to be the X-factor with 120 yards and another pair of scores over various Panthers DBs. Larry Fitzgerald is Mr. Playoffs but he could see alot of Josh Norman which may limit his yardage. At RB even as a rookie, David Johnson has been my money man all season.