On the Line: Cardinals at Panthers

C3 On the Line series bets the Carolina Panthers line and discusses the stakes of the game in the context of the Panthers season. CarolinaCatChronicles.com On the Line is not betting advice, but a means for football discussion. 

 On the Line

Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Panthers -6.5 (38 O/U)

Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) host the Arizona Cardinals at 4:25 pm on Saturday.   The Panthers are big favorites, despite the strange circumstances of their pairing and season records. 

Here’s a look at what’s On the Line for the Carolina Panthers.

All Bets Are In:

Professor’s Bet: Panthers -6.5  (Taking Under) 

I’d never advise messing with this spread under normal circumstances, a touchdown is a lot. Playoff game, teams battling for it all, you never know how the cookie crumbles.  The Panthers, however, happen to be better than the Arizona Cardinals at this point in the season.  It’s unfortunately that simple.  Had these teams played in Week 6, no way I’d take the Panthers.  But our boys are hot at the right time! As Mick Jagger said, “I see a red bird, and I want to paint it black.”

Panthers 20-13 

Commish’s Bet: Panthers -6.5 (Taking the Under)

Signs for Panthers and the fans are pretty much all looking up...Cam is healthy and has an even higher drive now after his soul-shaking car crash. Stewie is healthy and productive. The O-line is finally playing as a unit. The rookies in the defensive backfield are starting to show their upside. D-Will’s hand aside, the team is relatively healthy. AND they’re playing their best football of the year. Folks, toss the record out the damned window and see who the HOT team in the NFC is right now. Carolina is on a 4-game winning streak and the Cardinals are struggling to find a QB without acne and an RB that tips the scales with a 2-handle. That said, Bruce Arians is one coach that I am extremely impressed with and if anyone can get his decimated units to give the Panthers a game, he can do it and probably will. Simply put, however, I think the Cards lack the punch on offense to keep pace. The Panthers defense is top-ten again this year and after a very long, slow start, which means they’re playing as well as anyone right now. Nobody wants to be the team that lost in the playoffs to a “losing team,” but I guarantee that’s one of several big reasons that nobody wants to play us. We’re dealing with the hot hand.

Panthers 31-17

Justin Raymond’s Bet: Panthers -6.5  (Taking the Under)

Both teams have struggled this season. Arizona finished with a record of 11-5, and the Panthers went 7-8-1. At one point Arizona was the hottest team in the NFL, but their season has been filled with injuries. The Cardinals had trouble scoring after injuries to their key players. The Cardinals rely on their talented defense to force opportunities for their offense.

The Carolina Panthers started out as one of the worst teams in the NFL, but they turned their season around. They are now THE hottest team going into the playoffs. Cam Newton is healthy, they can run the ball, and their defense is playing at a high level. The Panthers can win this game as long as they play smart, and mistake-free football.

Panthers 24 Cardinals 13

Mel Mayock: Panthers -6.5 (taking the over 38)

The last time Panther Nation felt this confident about a playoff game, we were playing the Cardinals and it was 2008.  Even I felt like we would roll past the struggling Cardinals.  But they rolled us.  On Jake Delhomme’s 34th birthday, he proceeded to have the worst game of his career.  And a year ago in week 3, Cam played his worst game.  I was at that game, and he threw three interceptions and was sacked seven times.  Steve Smith dropped a sure TD too.  So what’s my point?  That is the only way we lose this game.  We will have to beat ourselves.  We would have to turn the ball over, or give up blocked punts or give up big plays to their Special Teams.  I do think our Secondary will be tested as their Offensive Line is playing lights out in Pass-Protection and they do have three really good WRs (in Fitzgerald, Floyd and Brown).  But I do think if we play like we did these last four weeks, that we should end up winning this one.  But don’t get too comfortable Panther Nation.  Any given Sunday (or Saturday), as we learned in 2008.

Panthers 31 Cardinals 14

Freak’n Puerto Rican: Panthers -6.5 (Taking the Under) 

This is just great. The Panthers match up against the Cardinals provides the team with a chance to ease the pain from a 2009 defeat in Charlotte by these Cardinals. That is the Jake Delhomme implosion game. Yes I am still bitter from that loss. And yes I will feel great satisfaction with a Panthers win. But what’s really On the Line is a chance for Cam Newton and the Panthers to get their first playoff win since January 15, 2005 (a 29-21 win at Chicago). This team has a chance to do something in these playoffs, the defense is playing at a high level right now and the offense has been firing on all cylinders since the offensive line situation was stabilized with the additions of Remmers and Norwell. I am excited about this game and expect to see the Panthers come out victorious.

Panthers 24 Cardinals 10