On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals will host the Carolina Panthers in the season opening game for both teams. Both teams play out of the NFC, and both appear to be heading towards a long season. The Cardinals play out of the NFC West, where they finished at the bottom a season ago. Carolina also finished in last place in their division; they play in the NFC South with Atlanta, Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Both teams having many new additions including a new quarterback for the Cardinals, and a new head coach for the Carolina Panthers.
Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
Kevin Kolb has taken over the role as the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Kolb, the former Eagles back-up was sent to Arizona in a huge deal during the pre-season. Kolb is taking over for Derek Anderson, who struggled through most of last season. Arizona was one of the worst passing teams in all of the league last season. Arizona boasts one of the top receivers in all of the game. Larry Fitzgerald was given a contract extension, and it was well deserved. Last season, Fitzgerald caught 90 passes for 1,137 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Cardinals won their final game of the pre-season by winning in Denver. After this home game, the Cardinals will head out on the road for back-to-back games at Washington and Seattle.
Carolina Panthers (+6.5)
A new era has started for the Carolina Panthers. Out is Jake Delhomme at quarterback and John Fox as head coach. The Panthers have turned to rookie Cam Newton behind center, and former Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera as head coach. Newton was up and down during the pre-season, and is just a few months removed from his national title with the Auburn Tigers. The Panthers were the worst team in all of the National Football League last year, and acquired the top overall pick in the draft. The Panthers are hopeful the running back combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have a better season; as they combined for just a handful of touchdowns last season. Carolina will host Green Bay and Jacksonville in their next two games.
So we’ve got two teams that are not predicted to get to the postseason going after each other in the first week of the season. We have a guy that is making his first start with his new team, against a guy making his first ever start. Kevin Kolb when on the money has been a nice quarterback in his short career. Look for the rookie Newton to struggle a bit, and have a long day, despite just an average Arizona defense. Look for this game to be pretty slow, as Carolina will have a tough time score. In the end, Arizona comes away with a double digit win. We are betting the Arizona Cardinals -6.5 over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.