When the Carolina Panthers met the Arizona Cardinals in week 8 this year, both teams were feeling good about what they had accomplished. The Cardinals were 4-2 when they came into Bank of America Stadium to play the 5-2 Panthers, but left with a tough defeat. Since then Carolina has been the more consistent team, however, Arizona showed something last week against Atlanta. Here are some matchups to watch this Saturday when the teams take the field for the second time this season.
Ken Lucas vs Anquan Boldin
Boldin had just come back from his concussion that kept him out of action for several weeks before the Carolina game in week 8 and still managed 9 receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers continued to improve after he was finally healthy again. Ken Lucas has been a wild disappointment this year. Time and time again he has been torched by non top tier NFL receivers. Granted it doesn’t help a struggling corner to have a rookie safety behind him, but Godfrey has impressed many this season. Lucas will have to bring his “A” game to hold Boldin under these numbers on Saturday.
Prediction: Boldin 7 receptions for 85 yards and a TD. Lucus restores confidence in his play with a tipped pass interception late in the game.
Deangelo Williams vs Cardinals Front 7
Deangelo has certainly been the feel good story of the Panthers this year. After two years having his carries stolen by Deshaun Foster, Williams finally got a chance to be the man in 2008. His 1,515 yards and 20 total TD’s this year have given a normally mediocre Carolina offense a much needed punch. Williams racked up 108 yards in week 8 against the Cardinals. Many people don’t know that Arizona is ranked #1 in the league in total yards given up per game. They are also second in rushing yards given up per game at 60. Deangelo has improved since week 8 but so has the Cardinals defense. Look for a similar day from Deangelo this go round.
Prediction: Williams 121 yards 1 TD
John Kasay vs Neil Rackers
A battle of kickers? Seriously? Yes these two wont make any tackles or throw any passes, but I believe that they will determine the outcome of the game. Apart from the end of the Giants game, no Panthers fan could have asked more out of John Kasay this year. The last original Panther has showed that he still has some juice left in his 39 yard old left leg. He is 28 of 31 this year with a respectable long of 50 yards. Rackers has been equally as accurate, however, boasting a long of 54 yards this year. It may come down to either one of these kickers to end the game or send the game into overtime. Let’s pray that it comes down to Kasay not Rackers to determine the Panthers playoff fate.
Prediction: Kasay 3-3 Long of 47, Rackers 2-3 long 51