NFL Picks Week 1: Why Arizona Cardinals Will Run Over Carolina Panthers
The Arizona Cardinals are looking to start the season strong against the Carolina Panthers. Kevin Kolb and the revamped offense face off against a porous Panther secondary and should have good day throwing the ball.
Entering this game, the Cards have several question marks but, it always helps to play last year's worst team in their first game.
The Cards need this game to build confidence and Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt will likely look to be aggressive in his play calling. Look for the Cards to have a success early and often in their successful home opener.
Read on for three reasons why the Cardinals will smash the Panthers and show the league they are back.
Kevin Kolb Has More Experience
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Say what you will about Kevin Kolb having less touchdowns than interceptions and what not but he has one thing Carolina Starter Cam Newton does not have, experience.
Kolb has played in 19 NFL games and knows the ropes of being an NFL quarterback. It will be much easier for Kolb to start out effectively than it will be for Newton.
Sure Newton has played pre-season games but regular season games are a whole new game. Newton has never played a full game against a starting NFL defensive unit and the Cards will certainly bring it to him.
New defensive coordinator Ray Horton wants to bring the heat and a rookie quarterback will only increase the amount of blitz packages.
The new offensive line should give Kolb enough time to make smart decisions but it wouldn't surprise me to see him making plays outside the pocket. LG Daryn Colledge is a huge addition since he loves to push people around and really wreak havoc in the trenches.
Rookie Quarterbacks Rarely Perform Well in Their First Game
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Since 2007, rookie NFL quarterbacks drafted in the first round have struggled in their first NFL Start. Players like Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, and Joe Flacco had trouble in their first start but rebounded after.
None of the above mentioned quarterbacks play like Newton though. So I'm going to compare Newton to the other mobile quarterback taken in the first round since 2007, Tim Tebow. Tebow was 8-of-16 for 138 yards and one touchdown but had 78 yards rushing with a rushing touchdown in a loss to the Raiders.
Let's say Cam has a similar first start but with more passing yards and less rushing yards, will that make the Panthers competitive? I would have to say no. They simply don't have the receiving threats to beat the Cards.
The Game Is in Arizona
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During the Ken Whisenhunt era, Arizona has gone 12-24 away and 20-12 at home. Simply put, the Cards play better at home. It is no surprise why Arizona had played better at home considering how most of their road games are at tough venues.
The team always seems to draw off the crowd's energy and some truly exhilarating plays have occurred in their stadium.
It might not look like a huge advantage, but when your team is that much better at home, it most definitely helps the team out. I wouldn't surprise me if this game turned ugly for the Panthers if Arizona can find a way to manufacture points early.
Plus, once the fans get involved, it's over.