Good Chance For Panthers Against Weakened Cardinals
The Carolina Panthers had an unlikely opportunity to make the NFL playoffs and now they have another to win the first round. The team beat all of their last four opponents to win the weak NFC South division and made the playoffs, despite a losing record. None of those opponents finished the season with a winning record.
Saturday the team faces the weakened Arizona Cardinals in Charlotte. After practice this week coach Ron Rivera said he thinks the team has “clicked” at the right time.
"Knock on wood. We’re about to start the same offensive line six weeks in a row. And we’ve got a good combination in the secondary, and some of the key young players that we’ve brought in the last couple of years, they’re playing for us and they’re playing well," said Rivera.
Arizona has trended in the opposite direction. The Cardinals lost their last two games and four of their last six. The defense has remained one of the league’s best, but both Arizona’s starting and back-up quarterbacks suffered injuries.
For the third straight game, the Cardinals will start third-stringer Ryan Lindley. This season, Lindley has completed less than fifty percent of his passes, while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns.
For the Panthers, this marks the first time the team has made the playoffs in back-to-back years. The 2010 Seahawks are the only other NFL team in league history to enter the playoffs with a losing record. That team beat the Saints in its first game, before losing in the second round.