Predictions: Arizona Cardinals look to improve to 9-1 in matchup vs. Panthers

Cardinals 49ers Football
Posted at 7:16 PM, Nov 13, 2021

GLENDALE, AZ — With a win Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals would improve to 9-1 and match the best start in franchise history through 10 games (2014, 1948). The way they have done it has been the most impressive.

Without key players, even MVP-caliber quarterback Kyler Murray last week, the Cardinals have not only beaten some really good teams in the first half of the season, but they have demolished them.

The Cardinals' average margin of victory is more than two touchdowns, and they are just the fourth team in NFL history to score 30+ points in each of their first five road games.

Of course, that doesn't apply this week back at home with Carolina in town.

We know the Panthers will start backup quarterback PJ Walker, but we still don't know if Kyler Murray will return. Considering how well Colt McCoy played in San Francisco, I'd be shocked if the Cardinals sent Murray out there, even if he's much healthier than a week ago.

Why risk it? McCoy showed they could win with a backup QB, and now they play a worse opponent. Not only that, but the Cardinals visit Seattle next week and then have their bye week. The more time for Murray to get close to 100%, the better.

It's not like it takes much to outscore the Carolina Panthers these days.

Obviously, you always must account for Christian McCaffery, but the reality with this Panthers offense is they have been held under 20 points in four of their last five games and scored just one touchdown in the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals defense has excelled at keeping teams under 20 points, doing so seven times this season, the most in the NFL.

What doesn't bode well for Walker and the Panthers is the Cardinals' ability to get after the quarterback. Three times this season they have recorded 5+ sacks and 3+ takeaways, no other team has more than one. In fact, the rest of the NFL has combined for five such games.

My gut feeling: Colt McCoy starts at QB, and the Cardinals defense keeps the Panthers' offense on ice to move to 9-1.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, Panthers 13