We went over to /AZCardinals and got a few responses. Most of them were similar so here are the overarching themes.
Larry Fitzgerald is the player to watch.
If you couldn't guess already, Larry Fitzgerald is the face of the Cardinals and he has been for years. He stepped up big time against the Packers and plays mostly out of the slot this year. He will be lined up across from Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan has been on a team that faced the Cardinals 5 times in his career. During that time when he was in coverage of Fitzgerald there were 9 balls thrown his way and Fitz picked up 62 yards and 1 TD, there were 2 incompletions. Arizona won 1 game out of the 5 played. Why am I throwing these stats up? Well Fitzgerald will be lining up in the slot and Josh Norman will be lining up on John Brown or Michael Floyd for the majority of the game. This means we will see a heavy dose of Fitzgerald vs Finnegan. Yes, scary thought. Fitzgerald has hands softer than lambs fur and stickier than stick'um. He has been an all time great receiver for awhile now and even though he has aged, he has aged like wine and looked great all season long. As we all saw last week Fitzgerald can take over a game on a single play. The Panthers will have to stick Kuechly on him from time to time just so Finnegan has some time to recover. Usually sticking a linebacker on a receiver is a bad idea but in the particular case it creates a very fun matchup to keep an eye on.
Honey Badger being out for the season is hurting them but they don't have any week to week guys not ready to play.
Honey Badger going down is a blow to their secondary. The good news for Arizona is they have lived through injury plagues before(see last season). They have a lot of players who are limited in practice but will be active on game day. Thanks to their injuries last year a lot of backups have good experience and their team is close to complete. This game will be a healthy battle and there won't be any talk of injuries affecting the outcome.
Carson Palmer's confidence and the fact he was so shaky scare the fan base.
Carson Palmer scared the fan base last week. He didn't look his normal self and went back to poor mechanics and risky throws. Overall the belief is he was nervous never having won a playoff game and that this week he should come in more calm and collected. If he throws errant passes like last week there could be up to 5 interceptions. If he comes in calm and ready to pick apart the zone scheming there could be 5 touchdowns. His receivers are all talented but everything depends on him delivering the ball quickly and accurately. His confidence will play a big part in the game.
Answers were more all over the place on who will impact the game. All of the answers were offensive based though.
Here is the list of potential impact players:
WRs not being covered by Norman.
We already covered Palmer and partially the WRs not covered by Norman so let's jump to David Johnson. David Johnson had 15 carries for 35 yards against the Packers. The whole of the Cardinals offense had 40 yards on 19 carries. Clearly the running game is not going to be that bad again right? Well the Panthers pride themselves on run defense and held Beast Mode to a similar total(20 yards on 6 carries) so the rushing attack will be limited. The Cardinals have nothing to fear though. David Johnson has the added benefit of being great in the passing game, amassing 6 receptions on 9 targets and producing 43 yards out of it against the Packers. Johnson is a spark plug of a player.(not that he is small) At 6'1 224 lbs the rookie is a big back. He is also a quick back who can perform well in all areas of the game. Johnson came on strong as the season progressed and has been known to get things going for the offense when it is slowing down. Containing him will be closer to containing Jamaal Charles than Marshawn Lynch and will be just as important as containing either.
The fact that weather will probably somehow affect the Cardinals (so far, our coldest game was Week 15 @Philadelphia, but it'll be a lot colder in Charlotte this weekend. (East Coast Cardinals Fan, I feel it too.)
Last Thing to Note: The Cardinals passing attack likes to go after the safeties. This means Harper and Coleman will see a lot of deep routes and players flying into or near their zones. Palmer is a good quarterback and Coleman is an aggressive safety. If Coleman becomes a little too aggressive Palmer will find a receiver wide open for either a huge gain or a touchdown. This game will require a significant amount of discipline to combat the high flying scheme shredding offense that is Arizona.
HISTORY VS ARIZONA CARDINALS
Over the last ten seasons, the Panthers and Cardinals have played a total of 9 games with the Panthers holding a 6-3 record against Arizona. The first time the two teams met in the post season was in the Wild Card round in 2009, the Panthers suffered a crushing loss with Jake Delhomme throwing 5 interceptions and accumulating 6 turnovers. The next time the two met in the post-season was last season, in the wild card round to earn their place in the divisional round. The panthers held the Cardinals to just 78 yards and forced 3 turnovers. However Arizona was down to their 3rd string quarterback with injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton earlier that season. Through the game the Panthers had some mistakes like a muffed punt on special teams, and an interception thrown by Cam, but they remained true and went on to clench a 27-16 victory. Highlights:
4. Why didn't the team score at all in the second half?
Thought they had the game locked down already - 25.5%
Loss of heart - 2%
Ron told them to take their foot off the gas - 19.6%
IDK BUT I WAS PISSED - 52.9%
5. How excited are you that the Panthers are only 1 game away from going to the Super Bowl?
7 - 2%
8 - 9.8%
10 - 80.4%
6. Which Super Bowl matchup would you like to see more?
Panthers vs Broncos - 19.6%
Panthers vs Patriots - 80.4%
7. Who performed better?
McClain - 26%
Finnegan - 74%
8. At which point were you the most scared Seattle would come back?
Halftime - 12.2%
After their first touchdown - 51%
Start of the third quarter - 36.7%
9. How did JStew perform in his first game back?
3 - 2%
4 - 49%
5 - 49%
Players to Watch: Panthers
Anyone wondering how Stewart would look after missing the last 3 games and tacking on a bye week were quickly demystified on the first play of the Divisional Round match against Seattle. Hitting a hole created by some heroic blocking by Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell, and Mike Tolbert, Stewart exploded down the field for 59 yards against the NFL’s top rushing defense. Stewart would score several plays later, run another in on the next series, and finish with 106 yards on the ground. His performance helped the Panthers break the Seahawks 27 game streak of limiting running backs to sub-100 yard games. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen take up a lot of bandwidth with the attention to their performances, but when J-Stew is running at full capacity, he’s the deadliest weapon the Panthers feature. He faces another top-8 running defense this week in Arizona, but fans should recognize that teams like Seattle and Atlanta…who feature solid running defenses and see the Panthers several times every season…have failed to stop the top rushing offense in the NFL. Arizona will have to depend on tape in their efforts to develop a plan to stop the Panthers triple-headed rushing monster, which has surpassed 100 yards in 30 consecutive games…the longest streak in the NFL in 39 years.
The Defensive Ends
The Panthers defensive tackles are a known commodity, the strongest set of tackles the franchise has ever featured. But all eyes are on the rotation of ends that struggled at times this season to create consistent pressure. Jared Allen’s fractured foot is the latest in a long list of injuries that have plagued the Panthers ends this season, beginning with Frank Alexander’s ruptured Achilles in the preseason. His status for Sunday remains uncertain, and fans should expect the Panthers to play coy with definitive answers to the question until inactive reports become mandatory late in the week. If Allen is unavailable, fans should look for several situations to unfold. Foremost, the injury will open the door for Kony Ealy to resume his starting role he relinquished when Charles Johnson returned from IR in November. Prior to his “benching”, Ealy had been playing relatively well. He’s on record stating he feels his performance improves with his snap counts, relying on rhythm to become disruptive and work out weaknesses he can exploit. He’s been relatively quiet in a back-up capacity, not having a registered sack since Dallas in November, but could be a factor if starting Sunday evening. Mario Addison is second on the team with 6.5 sacks as a situational pass rusher, who will also see an increase in duties with Allen’s injury and with the Cardinals’ pass-heavy offense. If Allen can’t play, the Panthers will activate Ryan Delaire and/or Wes Horton (a pass rush and rush defense specialist, respectively) to fill the gaps Allen’s absence will create. Allen has been a tremendous leader for this team, but his age and his playing time this season may be slowing him down, especially late in games. His absence or diminished role may open the door for fresher legs to take over.
The Receiver Patrick Peterson isn’t Covering
Patrick Peterson is a stud. Far and away the best player in the Cardinal’s secondary, Peterson finished the regular season with 2 picks and 7 passes defended. These stats, like Josh Normans, only look pedestrian as a byproduct of of opposing QB’s ignoring his side of the field like the fat girl at the homecoming dance. Also just like Josh Norman, Peterson let a late TD past him last week in the divisional round. Only Peterson’s was allowed on a last minute 45 yd Hail Mary bomb by Aaron Rodgers to Jeff Janis (Jeff Janis!). But these sorts of mistakes are rare for Paterson and he can shut down receivers with the best in the NFL. One chink in the Cardinal’s defensive armor is their allowance of scores and production from team’s #2 and #3 receivers, who’ve scored 15 times this season. The media is underplaying the significance of the Cardinals losing Tyrann Mattieu late in the season to another torn ACL. The Honey Badger’s coverage skills, closing speed, and tackling abilities were a significant component of their feisty secondary and his absence puts a lot of pressure on Justin Bethel & Co. to cover a group of Panthers receivers who don’t put up eye-popping stats…but nevertheless are an efficient “pick your poison” group that keeps the offense humming. The passing game flows through Greg Olsen, but his production isn’t mandatory for the Panthers to be an effective receiving unit. Outside of Olsen, Ted Ginn presents the biggest weapon with his speed, and logic dictates he’ll likely receive most of the evening’s attention from Peterson. This demands that Jericho Cotchery, Devin Funchess, and Philly Brown find ways to get open and make the Cardinals second-guess their focus in coverages. If Greg Olsen starts doing Greg Olsen things (elite TE’s have been effective against a stiff AZ defense), the Cardinals may be forced to work Peterson inside on him. In those situations, anticipate some deep shots to Ginn and Brown to stretch the safeties and create more options up front.
Everyone Not Named Josh Norman in the Secondary
The ensemble of Kurt Coleman, Tre Boston, and Roman Harper has been a mixture of frustration and excitement for most of the season at safety. Outside of another defensive end, safety is the most pressing need for the Panthers moving forward. But these are problems for the draft and free agency. For now, however… It’s not that this unit has been terrible. It is a huge step up from the unit featured in 2014. Kurt Coleman is tied for second in the league with 7 picks and Roman Harper contributed 2 forced fumbles and five passes defended. Combined they have 150 tackles and contribute to the Panther’s defense that ranked #6 overall, as well as led the league with 39 takeaways. The Panther's secondary limited opposing QB’s to a completion percentage just over 60%, converting less than 40% of 3rd down conversions. These stats are key against a stout passing offense in Arizona. Cortland Finnegan and Robert McClain will be asked to play at their absolute best against one of the league’s deadliest 1-2-3 punch in Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and Michael Floyd. They will be picked on all week in the media for their efforts against Seattle, and perhaps deservingly so…although fans should consider some points before sounding the alarm on the Panther’s secondary. One thing to consider is that Robert McClain has only been on the team for three weeks. Finnegan only two months. Each week provides more time for the unit to coalesce and for these guys to fully understand their roles within the defense. Both already have picks this year, so they’ve proven they are capable of playing. Another aspect to consider is scheme. Last week the entire defense had to adjust to prepare for one of the most mobile QB’s in the league, so a large part of their preparation is awareness of Wilson’s position and keeping him from breaking loose for long gains on the ground. This week the secondary’s responsibilities are a little more straightforward and, especially for the safeties, allows them to drop deeper and focus more on coverage than containment near the line of scrimmage. Finally, the Panthers will have much more leverage in this game to unleash Luke and Thomas Davis, each boasting 4-5 picks this season, to run rickshaw over the middle of the field and take away Carson’s options in the slot. With Kuechly helping Finnegan cover the middle of the field, Carson’s options will be pressed a lot to the outside, where Norman and our safeties have proven effective against other hefty passing attacks in Tampa Bay, Indy, Green Bay, Washington and Dallas.
It’s hard not to include the league’s MVP in the report each and every week. So we don’t. Cam’s stat line from this past Sunday is not overwhelming, but the game score was 14-0 before he even had to throw a pass. By the time the first series of the second period concluded, Carolina held a 21-0 lead, on the backs of his running mate, J-Stew and Kuechly’s pick-six. Needless to say, he wasn’t asked to do all that much. But his pass to Greg Olsen in the 2nd frame was one of the best passes of his career, a beautiful laser dimed in between two defenders to the outstretched arms of Olsen. Cam ended the day 16-22 in the air, and had his worst statistical outing of the year on the ground at 11 yards. But his efficiency and game-management held on to best his nemesis to advance to the NFC Championship. Unless you’ve been orbiting Mars for the last year, I shouldn’t have to remind you just what Cam means to this team...not just in athletic prowess and game-changing skill set…but in his leadership capabilities and his role as the soul of the franchise. All year Cam has taken an offensive unit no one respected and turned it in to the NFL’s top scoring group. He’s made serious gains in his development as a passer and proven many times over that he’s developed the clutch factor NFL QB’s need to find success in the league. He led the NFL with four come-from-behind victories this season. In eight other occasions this year he’s been able to put games out of reach by the end of the first half. In several instances, he was able to take such a commanding lead up front that four Herculean efforts by Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Eli Manning could not overcome. Cam Newton has overseen all sorts of victories this season, big blowouts, come-from-behind battles, back and forth games, and preventing huge leads from slipping late. Throughout every scenario, Cam has held serve, navigating the Panthers to wins in 20 of their last 22 games. His potential we fans have seen so clearly over the years is finally transitioning in to an elite NFL quarterback. And he’s having more fun than anyone else while doing it. Rest easy, Panther Nation. The quarterback we’ve all dreamed of having one day has finally arrived and is now poised to lead his team to a conference championship and beyond.
Thomas Davis is one of the most popular Panthers and is a sure bet to hit the Ring of Honor after he hangs up his cleats. He needs no introduction to fans, but the need to highlight his impact this year should be praised. Whether it's a late-game INT to take a comeback away from Aaron Rodgers or high-pointing an onsides kick to ice a playoff game, Thomas Davis has found a way to will his team to victory many times this season. Perhaps more than anyone else on the team, Thomas Davis has earned his opportunity at a championship. An icon of perseverance and hard work, Davis has channeled his energy and focus in to leading his team one step away from his first Super Bowl appearance. If anyone is going to step up and make a play that could decide the game this weekend, look no further than TD-58 for placing your bets.
What to Watch:
Panthers Misdirection vs. Cardinals Blitz-Heavy Front
Carolina makes its money up front. Boasting one of the best offensive lines in 2015, Carolina’s game plan has remained the same all year. We’re going to run. We know you know we’re going to run. We’re going to run anyways. The Panthers ran the ball 526 times in 2015, tops in the NFL. They employ the most diverse running attack in the NFL, a deadly blend of power running concepts, read-option and triple option looks, and the unique wrinkle that Carolina brings to the table…the QB power running game. Cam finished the regular season with 10 rushing touchdowns which is second in the NFL…for running backs! Coupled with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert…with dashes of Fozzy Whittaker or Camerona Artis-Payne…the Panthers feature a lot of looks and a lot of possible deployments from those looks. They’ve managed to top 100 yards in 30 consecutive games. When the running game moves, everything falls in to place with Shula’s scheming, allowing the Panthers to force their opponent to stack the box which exposes holes for the receivers and tight ends to work. On the flip side, the Arizona Cardinals feature a 3-4 base defense that blitzes more than any other unit in the NFL. Their identity on defense is speed in the linebacking unit and size in the cornerbacks. Built to cover a lot of distance and speed rush the QB, they come out of the regular season ranked as the #5 unit in the league overall. They finished in the top 8 in most rushing categories, including yards allowed and touchdowns. Calais Campbell, Alex Okafor and company are one of the stiffest groups to run on. The only problem is that Seattle bests Arizona in every category against the run, but even they had little answer for the Carolina rush. With Arizona’s propensity to bring a lot of pressure, it will be interesting to see how they respond to the misdirection Cam employs and if their efforts to get to the quarterback aren’t undone with some run-heavy schemes meant to force hesitation in the defensive line.
The Slot and The Linebackers
The slot is where Larry Fitzgerald has found new life in his stellar NFL career. Last year, when his stats suffered and questions arose as to what his future in AZ would look like, the Cardinals made a deft move and transitioned Fitz in to the slot receiver role in place of his accustomed X receiver spot he’d dominated at for the last decade. The move worked wonders and the Cardinals were able to retool with two other standout receivers starting outside, meahwhile maintaining their future Hall of Famer for a significant role demanding more of his elusiveness and old man strength and less of his diminished breakaway speed. The payoff was amazing and Fitz went from a sub-800 yd, 2 score season in 2014, to reigning in almost 1,300 yards and 9 TD’s in 2015. In many ways, the Cardinals passing game runs through Fitzgerald just as Olsen is the fulcrum for what the Panthers do on the other side. He’s one of the most intelligent players on the field and his competitive spirit is fire that feeds the rest of his offense. In order to contain Larry, the Panthers will hope to have Luke Kuechly…as well as his wingmen, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson…in better position to focus on coverage this weekend. Both Davis and Kuechly rank in the top tier of linebackers in coverage, with amazing sideline-to-sideline speed and ability to tackle in space. Combined, they represent 11 INT’s and 6 forced fumbles. Without a true duel-threat QB to watch for 60 minutes, they will have more time to cover lanes and create pressure on blitzes. Expect to see Kuechly sticking with Fitzgerald when he lines up inside to help Cortland Finnegan in the middle of the field. He’s made a season out of chasing down WR’s and this weekend will most likely be no different.
The Panthers Front Four v. The Cardinals O-Line and David Johnson
Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. Stop the run. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. The plan to stop the Cardinals is simple on paper. Get to the quarterback and stop the run. The two teams the Cardinals faced prior to this match-up provided an excellent blueprint in how to stop Carson Palmer and his band of deadly receivers. Make him uncomfortable. Carson Palmer’s passer rating dives when he’s forced out of position. The Packers were able to sack Palmer 3 times last week and were a constant presence in his face. The pass rush led to 2 INT’s and several potential picks that were dropped by Green Bay’s secondary. One of Palmer’s TD’s was a tip drill catch that actually bounced off of Sam Shields’ arm into the waiting lap of Michael Floyd. In the last game of the regular season, the Cardinals faced a Seahawks team in Arizona that was able to create havoc up front all game, resulting in a 36-6 shellacking at the hands of their divisional rival. The Panthers feature a better pass rush than either the Packers or the Seahawks and it all starts up front with KK Short and Star Lotulelei. The Cardinals feature the weakest offensive line left in the playoffs. PFF ranks the unit #17 overall and #28 in pass blocking. The Panthers played nine games against teams with offensive lines ranked higher overall than the Cardinals this season and produced 29 sacks in those contests (3+ per game). It will be imperative for our line to get to Palmer early and often to interfere with the rhythm this offense can find in the air. The other big key to the Packers' and Seahawks' recent success in containing the Cardinals offense came from stopping their stud running back, David Johnson. Once third on the depth charts, Johnson came in mid-season in relief of the other Johnson (Chris)..who himself was having a standout year. D. Johnson blew up initially, posting 370+ yards and 3 TD’s in his first three games as a starter…but he’s cooled off dramatically since then. Against the Seahawks and Packers, both Johnson and Andre Ellington combined for 67 yards and zero scores. Now this struggling group must try to make something happen against the #4 rushing defense in the NFL. If not, the Panthers will be free to drop seven in coverage all night long. Carolina Panthers Injury Report
Update 4:00PM on 1/20, per Ron Rivera during his press conference, Fozzy is on track to play Sunday. If he is active, expect Cameron Artis-Payne to be inactive.
Ted Ginn Jr
Full Participant on 1/21
Ginn missed Week 17 with a vague “leg” or “knee” injury, depending on the source. He seemed fine during the Divisional Round vsSEA, in which gameplan and flow had more to do with his lack of production.
Reminder to not go into the Saints or Cardinals subreddit after the game on Sunday.
Last Thing. I Swear: Please welcome ncleon2010. He is the latest member of the analysis team that has seen some serious growth over the last month or so. He got picked up thanks to the great injury report he produced. Great content is always encouraged so go out there and make great things! Thanks to the team!
Mauro Beting está de casa nova. Nesta segunda-feira, o comentarista esportivo anunciou que deixou a Fox Sports por razões familiares: ao saber que a emissora fecharia sua sede em São Paulo e O blog fala, vê, ouve, conta, canta, comenta, corneta, critica, sorri, chora, come, bebe, sofre, sua e vive o nosso futebol. Quem vive de passado é quem tem história para contar. Ele tem a pretensão de dar reload no que ouvi e li e vi e fazer a tabelinha entre passado e presente para dar um toque no futuro.|Blog do Mauro Beting|UOL Mauro Beting, o Mauro Alexandre Zioni Beting, irmão de Gianfranco, filho de Lucila e Joelmir Beting e pai (por enquanto) de Luca e Gabriel Beting - todos são-paulinos, nasceu em São Paulo (SP), foi "produzido" em Tambaú (SP), sonhava em ser seminarista, coroinha, fabricante de hóstia, sacristão, padre, pároco, vigário, frei, frade, bispo, arcebispo ou Monsenhor. All jokes aside, boys and girls, but Bono is currently priced at odds of +5000 with MyBookie to become the next pope of the Catholic Church. Ireland’s greatest egomaniac might be a little surprised to learn that the odds are stacked against him replacing Pope Francis, who is set to turn 83 in December 2019. Blog do Mauro Beting. Eu acredito em Papai Noel. Eu acredito em Papai Noel. 25/12/2019 09h51. Perdeu, mas jogando. Liverpool 1 x 0 Flamengo. 21/12/2019 18h25. Vai ter jogo no sábado. Muito jogo. De tanto jogar tanta bola com a corda esticada, ela está afrouxando no Flamengo. Os sinais são claros antes de...
O comentarista Mauro Beting, da Rádio Jovem Pan, exaltou Lionel Messi, que classificou a seleção argentina após fazer três gols contra o Equador, em Quito. Acompanhe nosso site: https://blogdomauro.com.br Siga o Blog do Mauro nas redes sociais: Instagram: @blogdomauro Twitter: @blogmauro Facebook: www.facebook.c... Comentário do dia. Mauro Camargo no Blog do Mauro. Lunch music Jazz & BossaNova Special MIX【For Work / Study】Restaurants BGM, Lounge Music, shop BGM. Mauro Beting se revoltou com o analista de arbitragem de vídeo da CBF e FPF Márcio Tragante, que provocou Palmeiras e Flamengo nas redes sociais após as eliminações dos times na Copa do Brasil. Um palestrino apaixonado por futebol que comenta no rádio, na internet e na TV. Mauro Betting foi o convidado especial do Parada dos Esportes com o repórter Valtencir Vicente.