The Panthers hold all the keys to the NFL Draft as they will pick first after a 2-14 record last season.
This game in particular holds some relevance as it is pegged to be the debut of that first overall selection. One hopes it will be Cam Newton and is a great match up to start off with as the Cardinals aren't exactly the team in the lime light at this point and could even debut a rookie QB of their own, depending on how draft day goes. Should be a lock though, quarterbacks have been chosen first overall in eight of the last 10 drafts (Long in '08 and Mario Williams in '06).
Lets take a look at first overall picks of the past 4 years and how they did in their first NFL game (and let the speculation continue).
2010: Sam Bradford (QB) and the Rams squared off against the Cardinals. He was 32-55 for 253 yards and threw a TD. The downside was that he also threw three interceptions en route to a 17-13 loss.
2009: Matt Stafford (QB) and the Lions took on the New Orleans Saints. Stafford went 16-37 for 205 yards and threw three interceptions. He ran for a TD but it wasn't enough as the Saints won 45-27.
2008: Jake Long (OT) and the Dolphins took on the New York Jets. It was also Brett Favre's debut for the club he spent one season with. Long started the season at the top of the depth chart. Chad Pennington threw two touchdowns. He was also sacked three times and threw an interception and the Dolphins lost 20-14.
2007: JaMarcus Russell (QB) came into a game in the second quarter as a member of the Oakland Raiders against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. Russell was 4-7 for 56 yards in that game but the bulk of the work was already done as the Raiders came away with a 34-20 victory. Certainly a high spot in an otherwise bleak career thus far.