Panthers vs. Cardinals: A Battle of Contenders
The Panthers (5-2) and Cardinals (4-2) have become contenders by going a combined 7-0 at home this season, giving host Carolina the edge as the two teams meet Sunday in an unlikely showdown of NFC division leaders, thus positioning themselves to end playoff droughts.
Arizona carries a 1-2 road mark to Carolina, which is no longer the place that visiting teams go to get well. John Fox’s Carolina Panthers have played better on the road than at home for most of his tenure. This year, the Bank of America Stadium is suddenly an intimidating place. Buoyed by Delhomme's return from elbow surgery and a dominant defense, Carolina is 4-0 at home, winning the last three games by a combined 88-16.
The Panthers enter the weekend tied with Tampa Bay for the NFC South, trying to end a two-year absence from the postseason. The NFC West-leading Cardinals, who haven't reached the playoffs since 1998, were off last week following a thrilling 30-24 home win over Dallas on Oct. 12. After blowing a late lead, Arizona became the first NFL team to win a regular season overtime game on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, improving to 3-0 at home.
The Silver Fox Forecast: Panthers 30, Cardinals 24
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