Another exciting week of NFL football is upon us. The Arizona Cardinals are coming off their first loss of the season at the hands of the Detroit Lions as -5.5pt home favorites. The Cards will take their 2-1 record across the country to face the 1-2 Carolina Panthers (1pm ET Sunday live on Fox).
The Panthers were able to get in the win column with an upset over the Chargers on the road and gave rookie head coach Matt Rhule his first career victory in the NFL. The defense impressed and held the Chargers to only 16 points after giving up 34 and 31 respectively. That was their first game of the season that went under.
So what will be the Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers predictions and picks for this preview? Read on.
One of the more important injuries comes in the form of Cardinals’ starting safety Budda Baker. He was able to play in week three with a UCL tear in his thumb but will be undergoing surgery this week and is doubtful to play against Carolina. The 24-year-old All-Pro safety lead the team in week three with eight tackles, all of which were solo. He was also first on the team in tackles through the first three weeks with 28. This is a huge loss to the secondary and could prove crucial in this week four clash.
Baker’s counterpart at safety, Chris Banjo, also may not play. He is questionable with a hamstring injury after leaving last week’s game in the first quarter. The Cardinals may be down two starting safeties and could look to rookie first round pick, Isaiah Simmons, if Banjo is unable to go.
Simmons played some safety at Clemson but this could prove to be quite a tall task against a team that likes to stretch the field in the Carolina Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater ranks 7th in the NFL in passing yards with 871. Starting wide receiver Robby Anderson is 6th in the league with 278 yards and fellow pass catcher DJ Moore is ranked 15th with 239 yards receiving. This team has been able to move the ball through the air and have had to lean more on the passing attack with Christian McCaffrey out with an ankle injury.
McCaffrey is the most notable of injuries but the Panthers were able to overcome his absence and win at the Chargers. They were still able to score 21 points and Bridgewater found some success through the air throwing for 235 yards, one touchdown, and most importantly no interceptions. The Panthers seem capable of scoring without their best weapon, which is an impressive feat.
They are dealing with several key injuries along the front. Starting left tackle Russell Okung and starting left guard Dennis Daley are both questionable. Okung missed week three with a groin injury, as did and Daley with an ankle problem. These are two important injuries to watch against a Cardinals’ defense that ranks fifth in the NFL with 3.7 sacks per game through three weeks.
Panthers also have a key injury on the defensive line. Starting defensive tackle Kawann Short is questionable with a foot issue after missing week three. This would be significant against a strong Cardinals’ rushing attack in running back Kenyan Drake and dual-threat Kyler Murray. The Cardinals rank 7th in the NFL with 149.5 rushing yards per game.
I expect this to be a shootout. Both offenses have proven they can move the ball and are able to score despite the Cardinals being 0-3 to the over thus far. Their lack of points versus the Lions is a bit concerning but also the Lions played their best game of the season with their backs against the wall and 0-3 staring them in the face.
I am confident that Murray and this high-flying offense will bounce back and help to cover this number. They were still able to put up 23, but with a total of 55 it was not quite enough. This total is slightly lower and is currently sitting at over/under 52 with the online USA sports betting sites. We expect both teams to do their part to help cover this number.
The Cards have both a strong rushing and passing attack and the Panthers rank 22nd in the NFL giving up 382.3 total yards per game. While the Arizona defense has proven stronger thus far and ranks 7th in the NFL in total yards per game giving up 334.7 yards, the Carolina offense is able to move the ball down field.
The Panthers are ranked 9th in the league in passing yards with 273.3 yards per game through three games. The Budda Baker injury will be a key loss and the Panthers should be able to spread the field and win the battles deep without the star safety in the lineup.
Our Betting Preview’s Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers Picks & Predictions Verdict
For USAbetting’s Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers predictions, we are going to the over. With two strong offenses and a rather average Carolina defense we expect this to be a relative shootout. Expect both teams to be able to move the ball down the field and ultimately score enough to hit the over of 52 total points.
I expect Drake and Murray to be able to rack up yards on the ground against a defense that ranks 21st in rushing yards allowed per game at 124.0. The total has gone over in six of Carolina’s last seven games at home.
I also think the spread, favoring the Cardinals by 3.5 to 4pts seems a bit low and I would look to the Cards as short road dogs. I expect a 34-21 Arizona victory. So our Cards vs Panthers prediction and betting picks are: