Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction: Slumping Panthers Look To Upset Cardinals

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals prediction and pick for Week 10's game. Handicapper Mike Spector gives us his pick when these two teams meet.
Mike Spector
Thu, November 11, 12:48 PM EST

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction: Slumping Panthers Look To Upset Cardinals

While Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are largely responsible for the Arizona Cardinals owning the best record in the league entering this week, neither of their services were needed in last week’s divisional road win at San Francisco. The Carolina Panthers are dealing with injury concerns of their own, as quarterback Sam Darnold is likely out multiple weeks with a shoulder injury. So which team will best overcome their injuries and emerge victorious in this NFC clash?

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals Injury Report

CAROLINA

Questionable: CB Stanley Thomas-Oliver III, G Pat Elfein, CB Rashaan Melvin, DE Brian Burns

Out: QB Sam Darnold, OT Cameron Erving, C Matt Paradis

ARIZONA

Questionable: QB Kyler Murray, WR DeAndre Hopkins, S James Wiggins, RB Jonathan Ward, G Justin Pugh, TE David Wells

DOUBTFUL: RB Chase Edmonds, G Max Garcia

Panthers vs. Cardinals odds

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction

The Carolina Panthers have lost five of their last six games after starting the season 3-0. A big reason for their struggles is Sam Darnold’s inability to take care of the football. Darnold threw ten interceptions over the last six games, and his 11 interceptions are tied with Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow for the most in the NFL. Head coach Matt Rhule will demand backup P.J. Walker protect the football better and not put his defense in precarious situations with short fields.

Though the Arizona Cardinals entered last week with a 7-1 record, it was considered an upset that they beat the 49ers on the road, as the team announced on gameday that Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were ruled out. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy filled in admirably, completing 84.6% of his passes for 249 yards. However, running back James Conner emerged as the team’s most dynamic playmaker, as he finished with 173 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. Arizona will need more games like that from Conner, as fellow running back Chase Edmonds suffered an ankle injury and is expected to miss several weeks.

With Sam Darnold ruled out for several weeks with an incomplete fracture of his right shoulder blade, P.J. Walker makes his second NFL start. Last year, the Panthers won Walker’s only game as a starter, shutting out the Lions 20-0 at home. In that game, Walker was 24-for-34 for 258 yards and one touchdown but also threw two interceptions. He benefited from being backed by a dominant defense, which likely allowed him to settle into the game more quickly. However, Arizona’s offense presents many different issues, as they average the fifth-most yards per game (398.4) and second-most points per game (30.8) in the league.

As of this writing, Kyler Murray is still dealing with a sprained ankle, and DeAndre Hopkins is still considered day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Those two players were two of 12 who missed practice on Wednesday, as the team is hoping to get back other players like wide receiver A.J. Green, who also missed last week’s game.

Even if Murray is cleared to play, he will likely not be given any designed run plays and will look to play more from the pocket instead of relying on his instinct to escape pressure. That helps Carolina’s defense tremendously, as they would not have to commit an extra defender to spy Murray when he drops back to pass. In addition, the loss of Chase Edmonds will hurt Arizona’s offense more than one might imagine. Edmonds is a more explosive back than Conner, averaging 5.7 yards per carry to Conner’s 3.9. However, his biggest impact is a pass-catcher out of the backfield, as he has 30 receptions for 211 yards on the season.

P.J. Walker has thrown five interceptions in 71 career attempts, so there is concern that his turnover issues could lead directly to points for Arizona. However, we look for Matt Rhule to ease the burden off Walker by heavily featuring Christian McCaffrey, who was thrown to the fire with 18 touches in his first game back from injury. That should lead to longer possessions and more sustained drives in an attempt to keep Arizona’s explosive offense off the field.

The Panthers have been one of the most profitable under teams in the league, as it has cashed in ten of their last 12 games. In addition, the under is 4-0 in Arizona’s last four games as a favorite. Thus, we suspect this game will be another defensive struggle, especially given all the injury concerns.

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals Picks

Mike Spector
MikeSpector01
Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest
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