During his first few months at the helm, first-year head coach Matt Rhule‘s experience has been filled with ups and downs. While the Carolina Panthers franchise is still recovering after releasing or parting ways with many key players this past off-season, Sunday’s Week 3 win versus the Los Angeles Chargers is one of the “ups” for Rhule and company. In today’s NFL, winning cures everything. Rhule and his staff are hoping to keep the good times rolling in Week 4, when the Panthers face off against the Arizona Cardinals.
Carolina Panthers Looking for Statement Win Versus Arizona Cardinals
After struggling against the Chargers in Week 3, the Carolina Panthers offensive unit will look to get back on track against the Cardinals. With Christian McCaffrey still sidelined, Mike Davis and company will need to continue to fill the hole left by his absence, similar to their performance last week. This leaves the passing game in question. The Cardinals defense currently allows the eighth-fewest passing yards per game (approximately 224). That’s not great news for the Panthers, who need to get their passing game back on track after a sloppy showing in Week 3.
While Robby Anderson has impressed early on, wideout DJ Moore has to be more involved in the offense moving forward. After going nearly the entire first half of last week’s game without a catch, it is clear the Panthers will need to get Moore going if they expect to remain competitive. If Moore can bounce back in Week 4 against a tough Cardinals defense, the Panthers will finally have their one-two punch at wide receiver that was so hyped up during the off-season.
Teddy Bridgewater must play well against the Cardinals this week. After struggling with turnover issues in the first two weeks, Bridgewater seemed to keep that aspect of his game under control against the Chargers. With that being said, the Panthers will be hoping Bridgewater can keep the turnovers at bay once again in Week 4. If they can do that, the Panthers offense has a decent chance to succeed against Arizona. The Cardinals defense isn’t exactly at world beater status, with the team’s loss versus the Detroit Lions last week being an example of that. If the Panthers offense can get into a rhythm early and often against the Cardinals, they may just come out on top.
The Panthers defense will have their hands full in Week 4.
After showing flashes of improvement in their win versus the Chargers, Phil Snow and company will be anxious to see how Carolina’s defense fares versus a strong Cardinals offense. One player the defense will need to key in on is DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is absolutely one of the best receivers in the NFL and him paired with the rest of the Cardinals receiving corps is a scary sight for opposing defenses. If the Panthers want to remain competitive on Sunday, they’ll need to keep Hopkins under control.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his offense have elected to take a more balanced approach his season. Their pace is slower than average, which could cause problems for the Panthers defense. The Panthers have struggled to get off the field on third-downs, an area the Cardinals offense has excelled at this season. The Cardinals slow pace also means they tend to eat up quite a bit of clock. On the flip side, the Panthers offense operates even slower. This means that the game could be a close contest. The Panthers will need to tighten up their defensive unit if they hope to stay competitive in this matchup. A win here isn’t out of the question whatsoever, but, the Panthers will need to play really well on defense if they hope to slow down the Cardinals red-hot offense.
The Carolina Panthers performed exceptionally on special teams in Week 3. From an athletic opposite endzone save to mark the Chargers offense down near the one yard line to a near-perfect day for kicker Joey Slye, the Panthers special teams unit had a nice day in Week 3. Slye nailed five field goals during Sunday’s win versus the Chargers. While he did miss an extra-point try early in the game, Slye’s performance was good enough to help push the Panthers past the Chargers. The Panthers could possibly need Slye to have another big day during their matchup versus the Cardinals.
With all things considered, the Carolina Panthers have a decent chance to pull off a win versus the Cardinals at home. If their offense can get back on track and show the Cardinals defense a balanced offensive attack, the Panthers offense could be in for a big day. On the flip side, the Panthers defense will have their hands full in this one. All in all, it should be a very interesting game. While questions still loom over Matt Rhule and the Panthers, a win in Week 4 would be huge for the organization’s confidence moving forward.