The Carolina Panthers (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) will be looking to win two in a row for the first time in over a year when they host the slumping Arizona Cardinals (1-2, 1-2) on Sunday in NFL Week 4 action. The Panthers tallied a 22-14 win over New Orleans last weekend to put the brakes on a nine-game slide straight up and against the spread. The Cardinals hit the road looking for answers after dropping a 20-12 decision to the division rival Los Angeles Rams.
Cardinals vs Panthers Opening Odds
The Cardinals have faded slightly since opening as 3-point favorites, dipping to their current position as 2-point chalk on the NFL Week 4 odds. The total has also been in steady decline, tumbling to 43.5 after opening at a relatively lofty 46.5. Sunday’s matchup marks the fourth meeting between these teams in as many seasons.
The Panthers romped to a 34-10 victory as 7-point underdogs when they visited the desert in Week 10 last season, which also represented Carolina’s last win before embarking on their recent nine-game skid. Overall, the Panthers have won and covered in six straight dates with the Cardinals. Carolina has dominated over that stretch, with each of those victories coming by double digits, and an average margin of 17.8 points.
With the Panthers regularly running up the score, the OVER currently enjoys a 5-0-1 run when these teams meet.
Cardinals Off To Frustrating Start
The Cardinals are coming off a date with another team that has dominated them in recent meetings. Arizona surrendered points early and often, and despite the best efforts of Kyler Murray, the offense failed to generate momentum in last Sunday’s loss to the Rams.
The Cardinals quarterback was prolific, attempting 58 passes and completing 37 for 314 yards. Despite keeping busy, Murray was unable to find the end zone against a stout Rams defense that was happy to let him connect on short passes, but effectively shut down any chances of a big play.
Those woes extended a frustrating start to the season for Murray, who has connected on just one scoring pass over the last two games, and has seen two of his three touchdown passes come in garbage time. The troubles have been complicated by injuries to the Arizona receiving corps, as well as DeAndre Hopkins’ ongoing suspension. AJ Green became the latest Cards wideout to visit the clinic after suffering a knee injury on Sunday that will sideline him indefinitely.
Panthers Hope To Get To .500
The Carolina Panthers took advantage of their opportunities and seized on the Saints’ mistakes on their way to last weekend’s 22-14 victory. After falling to defeat by a combined margin of just five points in two losses to open the season, the Panthers enjoyed a rare fast start, jumping out to an early 13-0 lead that they would not relinquish.
The Panthers received contributions from across the lineup. Defensive end Marquis Haynes Sr. got the party started late in the first quarter by returning an Alvin Kamara fumble 44 yards for the opening score. New addition Laviska Shenault Jr. also made his presence felt in his Panthers debut, making two catches, including a 67-yard scoring catch early in the fourth to put things out of reach.
The victory was a relief for Baker Mayfield. However, it was far from a stellar outing for the Carolina pivot, who connected on just 12 of 25 pass attempts for 170 yards. Mayfield once again received spotty protection from his offensive line, which allowed him to be sacked three times on Sunday, bringing his season total to nine.
Cardinals: Keys To Victory
With injuries piling up, the pressure on Kyler Murray to do it all himself is building. In addition to losing Green and Hopkins, Murray has also had to do without Rondale Moore in two of three outings this season. That means greater emphasis on the ground game against the Panthers’ 22nd-ranked rush defense.
And where the Cards come up short on offense, they must make up for it with a better performance by the pass defense, which currently ranks near the bottom of the league in touchdowns and yards per game allowed.
Panthers: Keys To Victory
Baker Mayfield stated that last weekend’s win, his first in a Panthers uniform, was a weight lifted off his shoulders. That said, Mayfield needs to be far better than he has been through his first three weeks, completing just 51.9 percent of his passes and averaging just 183 passing yards.
The addition of Shenault is welcome news. However, like the Rams last week, it may fall on the shoulders of the Panthers’ 13th-ranked pass defense to earn this team a second straight win.