Cardinals Want to Open Things Up vs. Panthers
By Charles Jay
Many people could tell that the Arizona Cardinals were on the verge of something big. And now maybe they have gotten there. Sure, it wasn’t too long ago that the Cards were in the Super Bowl under the direction of quarterback Kurt Warner and coach Ken Whisenhunt, but this is a new crew now, save for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and they are once again attacking down the field. That is what they have in store for the Carolina Panthers, who they meet up with in the NFC Championship game, with the contest beginning at 6:40 PM ET on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Vietbet customers will get to keep the action going, even after the opening kickoff, as they place wagers on the game in progress through the state-of-the-art software available from Live Betting Extra.
In the reduced juice NFC Championship betting odds posted on this game, courtesy of Vietbet, the Cardinals are getting points:
Carolina Panthers -3 (-110)
Arizona Cardinals +3 (+100)
Over 47.5 points -108
Under 47.5 points -102
There is some similarity to the Cardinal team that lost a thriller to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 43, as a strong-armed quarterback has made a comeback and is having an MVP-caliber season. Back then it was Kurt Warner; now it is Carson Palmer, who was knocked out of the 2014 season with an injury, but has returned to lead the charge for a squad that has scored the second-most points in the league (behind the Panthers). Palmer had 35 touchdown passes during the regular season, just like his counterpart (and fellow Heisman Trophy winner), Cam Newton, and he averaged 8.7 yards per passing attempt, which is a sure-fire indicator of an offense that is getting the ball downfield. And this is all about the philosophy of Bruce Arians, a head coach who doesn’t are all that much about “dinking and dunking” the ball around.
Arizona got pretty lucky at the tail end of training camp when they were able to sign Chris Johnson, a former NFL rushing champion (and member of the 2000-yard club), who had been perceived to be past his “sell-by” date. Johnson had 814 yards for them until getting hurt. He can’t play in this game, although he can return for a Super Bowl game. Still, his presence was critical in giving the Cards the balance they did not have last season.
And Arizona has simply replaced the veteran with another Johnson - this one a rookie named David, a third-round draft pick out of Northern Iowa. He has been invaluable, with over 1000 yards from scrimmage (581 rushing, 457 receiving).
The “air forces” are what really threatens the Carolina secondary, however, and Vietbet patrons have seen those prominently on display. John Brown (1003 yards) has been a pleasant surprise, and then there is Michael Floyd, with a 16.3-yard average. Rookie JJ Nelson may not see a lot of action, but while he is in the game he is going to be extremely dangerous, because he averages over 27 yards a catch.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is the best receiver of all. Larry Fitzgerald has not only set the Cardinal franchise record for most catches in a season (109), but he is also notoriously heroic in the post-season, with a 114-yard average for his career. Last week against Green Bay he was the star in overtime, as he took a Palmer pass and went 75 yards with it, then took a forward pitch into the end zone.
Carolina has several All-Pro performers on defense, and they are going to be all over the field to deal with the guys in red, or else they will be “IN the red” when role call for the Super Bowl takes place.
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