NFL Betting Preview for December 19, 2010: Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers (-2.5)


NFL PicksBetting Overview:

These games between NFL teams trying to figure out who will be on the roster next season are usually very interesting. The NFL predictions for the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers were not optimistic in the preseason, and the regular season NFL scores have shown both teams to be living down to expectations. This will be a difficult game for NFL betting enthusiasts because you really never know which Arizona Cardinals team will show up. It could be the Cardinals team that has put together a 4-9 record this season, or it could be the Cardinals team that laid a 43-13 beating on the Denver Broncos in week 14.

The Carolina Panthers should be on the hunt for a new head coach after this season is over. Current head coach John Fox did not have the personnel to win this season, but he made some extremely bad moves in an attempt to win. Rather than develop a young team into something that Carolina fans could be excited about, Fox has dismantled his team and shattered the confidence of rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. There will be a lot of pieces for a new coach to pick up in Carolina next season.


The Cardinals are still searching for the answer at quarterback. Right now, the only in-house solution seems to be the young Max Hall. But he has been injured almost all season long and there is no chance of getting him any game play experience this season. Rookie John Skelton did an excellent job of managing the 43-13 win over the Broncos in week 14, but he did not have any major hand in determining the outcome of the game. It is expected that the Cardinals will release quarterback Derek Anderson at the end of the season and try their luck in the draft. Running back Tim Hightower had 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the week 14 win, and he looks to be as potent as ever.

The Carolina Panthers are clueless on offense. The offensive line cannot protect Clausen or block for the run. Head coach John Fox pulled Clausen from the lineup twice in favor of journeyman Matt Moore until Moore finally suffered a concussion. Wide receiver Steve Smith is wasting away in Carolina, and last year’s 1,000 yard rusher Jonathan Stewart will be lucky to get 800 rushing yards this season.


On defense, the Cardinals cannot stop the run or the pass. But they have just enough firepower on defense to shut down a unit like the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals are strongest against the pass, and they will limit Clausen’s ability to throw deep. The Cardinals linebackers will have to determine whether or not Jonathan Stewart has a big game on the ground.

The most frustrating thing for Carolina fans is that their 1-12 record includes stellar performances by the 12th ranked defense in the league. Carolina’s biggest defensive weakness is against the run where they are ranked 25th in the league. There is no passing game in Arizona to shut down, so the Panthers will be able to shift all of their defensive resources to stopping Tim Hightower.

The Bottom Line:

The Panthers are about as well-matched as they can get against the Cardinals. But it is hard to bet for the Panthers because they keep finding new ways to lose games. A team does not get the distinction of being the worst team in football without making critical mistakes at the worst possible times.

BSN Sports Pick: Arizona Cardinals


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