Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers – NFC Championship Game

carolina-panthers-arizona-cardinalsPanthers host the Cardinals in NFC championship game

The Carolina Panthers held on to beat the Seattle Seahawks 31-24 on Sunday with their 12th straight home win. Now they’ll host the NFC championship game for the first time in franchise history. The Arizona Cardinals beat the Green Bay Packers 26-20 in a wild overtime game on Saturday night to advance. The Panthers and Cardinals have not played this season but this game has a potential to be high scoring. The Panthers averaged more than 31 points this season and the Cardinals were a close second at 30.5. These two teams couldn’t be much closer to one another and home field advantage is the only thing separating them. The NFC Championship Game  between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers is scheduled for Sunday, January 24, 2016, at 6:40 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium. The matchup will be broadcast on FOX.

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 349 yards and three TDs with two picks during their win against the Packers. Palmer had issues hitting his receivers and one of his touchdowns was of a fluke pass that was intended for a different receiver and landed in the hands of Michael Floyd. The other touchdown was a big catch and run by Larry Fitzgerald. The Arizona receivers Floyd, Fitzgerald and John Brown are all very good, and are sure to have a big impact in this game also. For the second game in a row, the Cardinals had trouble running the ball, gaining just 40 yards on 19 attempts.

The Carolina Panthers defense wore down last week after going up 31-0 over Seattle, and had to recover an onside kick to pull out a 31-24 victory. Carolina has a very talented defense however they don’t have a particularly deep unit. Arizona could take advantage of this if they can stay on the field for a majority of the time. The Panthers are going to rely on quarterback Cam Newton during this NFC championship game. Against Seattle, Newton completed 16 of 22 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart was able to run over 100 yards on the ground against Seattle, who has the league’s best rush defense.

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Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, Week 17

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The Seahawks vs Cardinals finale may not be meaningless

The Seattle Seahawks lost to the St. Louis Rams at home last Sunday for the first time in 10 years which ended their 5 game winning streak. The Seahawks don’t want to go into the postseason playing like they did against the Rams, so they’ll be looking to put up a strong performance. The Arizona Cardinals back on November 15 went on the road and beat the Seattle Seahawks and haven’t lost a game since.  A Arizona Cardinals win combined with a Panthers loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week will give Arizona home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Week 17 game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals is scheduled for Sunday, January 3, 2016 at 4:25 p.m. ET at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will be broadcast on FOX.

The Seattle Seahawks must rely on quarterback Russell Wilson or the Seahawks aren’t moving the football. Wilson is a man completing 68.1 percent of his passes and averaging 8.4 yards per pass attempt. Running back Marshawn Lynch is still very likely out, and the ground game without both he and Thomas Rawls is virtually not there. The Seahawks offense need to be able to hold off the relentless Arizona Cardinals defense long enough to give Wilson a chance to get set. The Cardinals defense picked up nine sacks on Aaron Rodgers last week and that scheme may not be changing. 15 different players have sacks for Arizona this season. If the Seahawks offensive line problems continue, it could be a long day for them.

The NFL has scheduled both the Seahawks-Cardinals and Panthers-Bucs for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, so the Cardinals won’t know ahead of time if they have something to play for. The Arizona Cardinals is very likely to start and pull out their starters, if the Panthers start to blow out the Buccaneers. The first player the Cardinals will likely pull is quarterback Carson Palmer, and the second is wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. If those two men are out and the Seattle defense is playing up to par, the Cardinals will have a hard time scoring any more points.

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Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals, Week 16

Green+Bay+Packers+Arizona+CardinalsPackers travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals

The 12-2  Arizona Cardinals have already laid claim to the NFC West title and one more win would earn them a first round bye. A win for the 10-4 Green Bay Packers would keep their hopes for the No. 2 playoff seed alive entering the final weekend of the regular season. This should be a great matchup between two teams that could easily face one another again in the postseason. The matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals is scheduled for Sunday, December 27, 2015, at 4:25 p.m. ET at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will be televised on FOX.

While Green Bay Packers offense isn’t as high-octane as it has been in past seasons, it has been getting the job done and the defense is playing well recently, allowing only 16.4 points per game over the team’s last six games. The Packers rank 26th in the league in average yards allowed per rush at 4.45 and have given up at least 100 yards on the ground in four straight. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers ranks No. 2 in the NFL with seven games this season with two-plus touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Cornerback Sam Shields, who likely would be assigned to cover Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday, may miss his second straight game. Shields has yet to clear the concussion protocol and is in danger of missing his second straight game.

The Arizona Cardinals remains one of the most complete teams in the NFL this season behind a high-powered offense that is ranked No. 2  in the league with 31.8 points and a  defense that is allowing only 19.2 points a game. Last Sunday against the Eagles, rookie running back David Johnson went off with 187 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 29 carries to add more to the Cardinals offensive attack. The game showed what strength Arizona has on both sides of the ball. They scored over 30 points for the fourth time in the last seven weeks and holding their opponent to under 21 points for the fourth straight game. The team that wins the ground battle will probably win this game, and that team is more likely to be Arizona.

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Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, Week 15

Larry+Fitzgerald+Arizona+Cardinals+v+Philadelphia+EaglesEagles In For Big Challenge Against Cardinals Sunday Night

The Arizona Cardinals will roll into Philadelphia with the best record in the NFC. The Cardinals are 11-2 and looking to lock in a first-round bye week in the upcoming NFC Playoffs. With the last two wins over New England and Buffalo, Philadelphia is still battling for the NFC East crown. The matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles is scheduled for Sunday, December 20, 2015, at 8:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field. The game will be televised on NBC.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a difficult matchup in the Cardinals, the only team ranked in the top four on both offense and defense. The Eagles would like to build on their back-to-back victories and prove they can compete with the class of the NFC. Quarterback Sam Bradford returns to the lineup and the Eagles rattle of wins over the Patriots and Bills. Sam Bradford has played well recently, but he hasn’t been nearly as good as Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. The Eagles top two outside receivers Riley Cooper and Josh Huff, have combined for 41 catches and 557 yards this year. The Eagles special teams and defense has come up big in assisting their recent victories.

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season. Palmer ranks 12th in completion percentage, first in yards per attempt, second in touchdowns, and second overall in passer rating. The Cardinals are the No. 1 offense in the league and are the only team in the NFL to have three receivers with 40-plus catches and 650-plus yards. The Cardinals have three good receivers who are very different. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, was one of the best outside receivers in the league, and now has become one of the league’s best slot receivers. Through 12 games, Fitzgerald  has 96 catches for 1,088 yards and seven touchdowns. The Cardinals two outside receivers have been very good too. Michael Floyd has 69 catches for 652 yards and six touchdowns. Floyd at 6-3, 225 pounds, is a big-bodied, physical target. Also, John Brown is a deep threat and has 55 catches for 895 yards and five touchdowns. The Cardinals outside receivers have different styles and because of that the Eagles cornerbacks will have their hands full.

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Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks, Week 10

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers, top, breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Arizona Cardinals in control but Seahawks have chance to catch up

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a bye and enter a very critical matchup against the NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals, who are 6-2. Their key offensive players will have to be at the top of their games after some time off. Seattle may be just 4-4, but can win the NFC West by winning out. The matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks is scheduled for Sunday, November 15, 2015, at 8:30 p.m. ET at CenturyLink Field. The game will be televised on NBC.

The Arizona Cardinals offense is very good and may be the most well-rounded in the NFL. The Cardinals rank in the Top 10 in the rush and in the pass, and they’re doing all of this with a running back Chris Johnson and the quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer can be hot or cold though. Palmer’s history working with head coach Bruce Arians is excellent, as he now has 33 TDs against just nine picks in 14 games under center in this offense The raw numbers for Palmer are better across the board and he’s doing all of this thanks to the his  outstanding receivers headlined by future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and an oncoming Michael Floyd.

The Seattle Seahawks have had a full bye week to try to draw up schemes to allow Russell Wilson plenty of time to throw the football. This year, the lack of time Wilson has had in the pocket has forced him into more bad throws than he usually makes. This ground game looks merely above average with Marshawn Lynch this year, and Wilson has been sacked 31 times this year. The Seahawks passing game ranks just No. 28 in the league this year. The good news for Seattle is that the Arizona’s pass rushers aren’t particularly great. If the Seahawks didn’t fix their offensive line problems in their bye week, they may have some trouble against a Arizona defense, which is keeping teams down to 312.8 yards and 19.1 points per game.

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Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6

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Cardinals’ High Performance Will Challenge Steelers

The Arizona Cardinals dominated the Detroit Lions on Sunday with a 42-17 win. After that game they got onto a plane for West Virginia where they met with and signed outside linebacker Dwight Freeney on Tuesday and set up practices. The Cardinals will spend the week at a resort in West Virginia, where they will both stay and practice leading up to Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. The game between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers is scheduled for Sunday, October 18, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET at Heinz Field. The game will be broadcast regionally on FOX.

The Arizona Cardinals has proved to be a high powered offensive team this season. They have scored 42 points or more in three of the past four games and are averaging 38 points per game overall. Quarterback Carson Palmer completed 96 of 148 passes for 1,316 yards and 13 touchdowns with only three interceptions and seven sacks through week five. The Cardinal’s offensive line and a strong running game has given Palmer the time to be consistent in his play.  Running back, Chris Johnson has rushed 79 times for 405 yards and two touchdowns.  Running back, Andre Ellington returned on Sunday after suffering a knee sprain in week one and rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns.. Both Johnson and Ellington have the ability to break long runs, with Ellington breaking away for a 63 yard touchdown run against Detroit. Wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald has 35 receptions for 490 yards and six touchdowns. Also, wide receiver John Brown has 23 receptions for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Palmer has plenty of targets which has led the a balanced offense. The Cardinals have 13 passing touchdowns so far this season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers is nowhere near the same offensive club without Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have struggled to protect Michael Vick in the pocket. They will need to focus on containing the Arizona’s defensive line.  Michael Vick can make the occasional big play but he doesn’t have the ability to throw the ball downfield consistently. The Steelers are one dimensional offensively and almost totally dependent on running back Le’Veon Bell. Arizona’s success in this game will come down to how the defense contains him. The Cards are a nightmare to defend and the Steelers will have more trouble stopping them than they did San Diego. Pittsburgh is tough at home and will pose a formidable challenge to the Cards. Arizona has many weapons on offense, a potent running game and Carson Palmer at quarterback. The Cards will be hard to defend and the Steelers will have more trouble stopping them than they did San Diego. Pittsburgh is tough at home and will pose a formidable challenge to the Cards.

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Super Bowl XLIII – Steelers vs Cardinals

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Super Bowl XLIII –  Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Super Bowl XLIII was full of electrifying plays made by James Harrison, Larry Fitzgerald, and Santonio Holmes. The Steelers had a 10-7 lead with time running out in the first half and the Cardinals had the ball on their 1  yard line. Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner thought he saw an opening over the middle to his receiver.  That’s when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison stepped in front of the receiver and intercepted the pass. He took the ball 100 yards weaving his way downfield avoids being tackled by Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald as he tumbled into the end zone on his head with no time left on the clock for a touchdown. This interception goes down as the longest in Super Bowl history.

Kurt Warner and his team did not give up after that spectacular play by James Harrison. All World receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the resurgent Cardinals took the lead 23-20 for the first time with 2 minutes and 37 seconds left in the game.

All the pressure rested on the Steelers and Roethlisberger to rally Pittsburgh in the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger repeatedly threw bullets to Santonio Holmes, third year player from Ohio State. With 35 seconds left, Holmes ran into the far back right corner of the end zone and Roethlisberger lofted a pass over 3 defenders. Holmes leaped up caught the ball in both hands and made sure both his feet were in bounds before he fell down. This most excellent play gave the Steelers a touchdown and a 27-23 Super Bowl win. Holmes, who caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown was named Super Bowl MVP.

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