Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers NFL 2016 NFC Championship Prediction
Panthers host the NFC Championship with top seed strength
Carolina has won a league-best 12 consecutive games at home – a run that includes their 27-16 Wild Card playoff victory over the Cardinals a year ago. The Panthers offense averaged 39.2 points during their final four regular-season home games and the Cats scored 31 points in the first half vs the Seahawks NFL top ranked defense last Sunday. After five years in the system, QB Cam Newton looked comfortable and confident while guiding Carolina to a 15-1 record. Book Newton as the 2015 NFL MVP as he was the first NFL player to toss 35 TD passes and run for another 10 in a single season. The Panthers defense ranked fourth as they held opponents to 88.4 yards per game while limiting opposing pivots to a tiny 73.5 passer rating – the best mark in the NFL. Luke Kuechly was the top ranked middle linebacker against the run and pass with 13 more tackles (118 total) than any other Panthers player – despite missing three games with a concussion. DB Josh Norman had a combined 22 interceptions (4) and passes defended (18) which tied for fourth-most in the NFL and his three forced fumbles was tied for the most among defensive backs this season. The Panthers are a complete team that will give the Cardinals offense and defense a very tough test on Sunday.
Cardinals take their potent aerial attack on the road for an explosive offensive battle
Arizona won it’s only previous NFC Championship game, 32-25 over Philadelphia in 2009, but they are 2-6 on the road during playoff games in the Super Bowl era. For the first time in that same era, the Cardinals led the NFL in total offense with 6533 yards plus their 489 points were the most in team history and second only to the Panthers (500) during the regular season. Coming off his first playoff win, in three tries, QB Carson Palmer had an MVP-caliber season as he set team records with 4,671 pass yards and 35 touchdowns. WR Larry Fitzgerald is coming off another great postseason game as he caught eight of his 12 targets for 176 yards – including all 80 yards and the TD Arizona posted in OT to beat the Packers. The Cardinals will try to exploit certain matchups with Fitzgerald lining up all over the field, John Brown taking the top off the defense, and Michael Floyd imposing his size and will on the Cats secondary. The Cards run game makes it easier to protect Palmer and RB David Johnson has been very effective with 13 scores during his rookie season. Led by three time first-team All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson, but playing on terrible turf, the Cards defense will tested by the Panthers rushing attack as Newton and RB Jonathan Stewart are both game changers.
NFL 2016 NFC Championship Call: Meeting for the first time this season, both teams come into this contest with very tough and aggressive defensive units. The Panthers will aim to contain the Cardinals second ranked aerial attack while Arizona looks to corral Carolina’s second ranked run game – both tasks are easier said than done. This is the NFC’s number one seed vs the number two seed and these teams posted a combined 28 regular season victories. Two Heisman Trophy winning pivots who were both selected first overall in the NFL Draft, Newton out of Auburn and Palmer from USC, are featured here. From deep in the “did you know” file – no quarterback drafted out of USC or Auburn has ever started in a Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Trojans fans - we see the USC trend continuing here. Cruise with Carolina and a five-unit wager on the SportsInteraction money line.
Carolina Panthers vs Arizona Cardinals – SportsInteraction NFL 2016 NFC Championship Odds
Category : ArchivesMore articles...