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Cardinals vs. Panthers - 1/3/15 NFL Wild Card Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)

NFL Football: Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 4:35 pm (Bank of America Stadium)

The Line: Carolina Panthers -5.5 -- Over/Under: 37.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers play Saturday in the wild card playoffs.

The Arizona Cardinals have lost four of their last six games and hope to figure out their quarterback situation. Drew Stanton is questionable with a knee injury but hopes to get the nod by the time the game begins. Stanton is completing 55 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns while the Cardinals have 58 passing plays of 20 or more yards. Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald have combined for more than 1,600 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while John Brown has seven receptions in his last two games. The Cardinals ground game is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, as Andre Ellington leads the way with 660 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, the Arizona Cardinals are allowing 18.7 points, 368.2 yards, and they’ve forced 35 sacks and 25 turnovers. Rashad Johnson leads Arizona with 93 tackles and Calais Campbell has seven sacks.

Cardinals vs. Panthers - 1/3/15 NFL Wild Card Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers have won four straight games and make the playoffs with a losing record. Cam Newton is completing 58.5 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Newton has four total touchdowns and one pick in his last two games, and the Panthers have 43 passing plays of 20 or more yards. Greg Olson and Kelvin Benjamin have combined for more than 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns while Jerricho Cotchery has eight receptions in his last two games. The Panthers ground game is averaging 4.3 yards per carry, as Jonathan Stewart leads the way with 809 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, the Carolina Panthers are allowing 23.4 points, 339.8 yards, and they’ve forced 40 sacks and 26 turnovers. Luke Kuechly leads Carolina with 153 tackles and Charles Johnson has 8.5 sacks.

The Cardinals are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 playoff games and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games. The Panthers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in January and 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 Saturday games. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings. 

I don't trust the Cardinals quarterback situation. Meanwhile, the Panthers are one of the hotter teams entering the playoffs and seem to be playing the way they were last year. Newton is hard to prepare for in a week and Carolina's defense is starting to click. I like the Panthers by a touchdown. 

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Carolina Panthers -5.5

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