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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE * MIN at SD * SEA at SF
* ATL at CHI * DAL at NYJ * NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
* BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL * NE at MIA (mon)
*updated CAR at ARI * IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

Prediction: CAR 14, ARI 24

Players to Watch: Cam Newton, Kevin Kolb, Greg Olsen

The Cardinals lost 12-19 in Carolina last year but at home should have no such problem. With an upgrade at quarterback alone this team will be much better and the Panthers have cleaned house on coaches and are installing all new schemes and starting the top rookie quarterback. That should be enough going on for one week to ensure a Cardinal win.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI - 10 TEN -
2 GB - 11 @DET -
3 JAC - 12 @IND -
4 @CHI - 13 @TB -
5 NO - 14 ATL -
6 @ATL - 15 @HOU -
7 WAS - 16 TB -
8 MIN - 17 @NO -
9 Bye -      
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA at ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 - 110
RB DeAngelo Williams 70,1 10 -
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 - -
TE Greg Olsen - 30 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 20 -
WR Steve Smith - 40 -
PK Olindo Mare 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: This is a rebuilding year for Carolina with all new coaches and the top quarterback in the NFL draft. The lockout was no help since the Panthers wanted Newton to take the helm from the first week. The ground game remains strong with the re-signing of DeAngelo Williams and this offense is going to look very different with a running quarterback as well.

QUARTERBACK: The Panthers are opting to start Cam Newton for week one and he'll get the lesson on the difference between preseason defenses and regular season defenses. Newton has not passed much or that well in the preseason but has shown occasional flashes. He is also making a difference by running the ball and that is where he will do damage from the start. This is not a good thing for anyone hoping Steve Smith would come to life, but it makes the Panthers harder to defend.

Clausen passed for 141 yards and one touchdown against the visiting Cardinals last year.

RUNNING BACKS: The Panthers coughed up $43 million over five years to keep DeAngelo Williams on the roster and that ensures that the tandem backfield still exists even in the new offense. There is conjecture that they may end up with a true 50/50 split but Williams is getting the big money for now and Jonathan Stewart re-aggravated his Achilles tendon that has been a problem for years. He'll play in pain if needed but it is disappointing since he had said he was completely healthy prior to camp.

Stewart took the whole load in week 15 when he gained 137 yards on 27 runs when the Cards came to Carolina last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Steve Smith agreed to remain in Carolina but the prospects for fantasy value here are pretty slim. Newton will learn as he goes but he hasn't been the pinpoint passer yet and the 32-year old Smith has been declining for the last couple of years. He only managed a career worst 46 catches for 554 yards and two scores last year. Brandon LaFell gets the start opposite Smith but until there is proven production, neither of these receivers are worth any fantasy consideration.

No wideout gained more than 33 yards against the Cardinals last season.

TIGHT ENDS: The Panthers brought over Greg Olsen from the Bears and it is an intriguing fit. The OC Rob Chudzinski comes from San Diego where tight ends are legend and Olsen is a good receiver who did not fit into Mike Martz scheme. It bears watching to see if the typically rookie QB/tight end connection happens. A running quarterback often does not use tight ends though - witness Michael Vick. Jeremy Shockey also is on the roster but Olsen is the better bet if anything is to happen with a tight end.

Jeff King scored on his only catch against the Cards last year.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 32 19 31 29 30 25
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 11 31 15 24 32 29

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR - 10 @PHI -
2 @WAS - 11 @SF -
3 @SEA - 12 @STL -
4 NYG - 13 DAL -
5 @MIN - 14 SF -
6 Bye - 15 CLE -
7 PIT - 16 @CIN -
8 @BAL - 17 SEA -
9 STL - - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Kevin Kolb - - 240,1
RB Beanie Wells 100,1 10 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 120,1 -
WR Andre Roberts - 50 -
WR Early Doucet - 30 -
PK Jay Feely 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: While he may not be the second coming of Kurt Warner, the Cardinals get an obvious upgrade with the switch to Kevin Kolb and besides - he has not been given much time to start. Maybe he could be that good? Kolb is a pocket passer with a premier wideout at his disposal and this first game may be as easy as it gets all year.

I like a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Kevin Kolb should at least be better than the crew that has been starting for the Cardinals since Kurt Warner left and in Philly he was the heir apparent to Donovan McNabb until Michael Vick showed up with Prisonality. It is questionable if there are any great weapons outside of Larry Fitzgerald but just maximizing him is enough to win many games.

The Cardinals started John Skelton in Carolina last year and he passed for 196 yards and no scores.

RUNNING BACKS: Suddenly it is all Beanie. The Cards allowed Tim Hightower to jet to Washington and they drafted Ryan Williams with their 2.06 pick but he's already on injured reserve. The team added Chester Taylor but the 32-year old back has only had minimal work since 2007 and won't be a factor here. It is all up to Beanie Wells who was hampered with a knee injury all of 2010 and averaged only 3.4 yards per carry. He had 4.5 as a rookie and that is where the Cards hope he returns. This opening week should make it look like a good choice against a weak Panthers defense on the road. This may be the best that Wells runs all year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Larry Fitzgerald gained 125 yards on nine receptions in Carolina last year and back at home with an upgrade for quarterback he should be no less productive. Expect a nice opening game here but Andre Roberts and Early Doucet have yet to inspire much confidence. Roberts is the #2 and should have better numbers but in this early week only Fitzgerald is worthy of a fantasy start. Roberts is worth watching in future weeks.

TIGHT ENDS: Only one catch against the Panthers last year.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 32 16 32 26 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 6 27 4 27 26 32

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

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