I just had to bring up the Panther Swipe again. Go here if you missed it yesterday.
Even though the Buzzsaw are apparently changing hearts, saving lives, they still have no shot according to most prognosticators. But what if the Arizona Cardinals do miraculously make their way to the NFC Championship game? If that happens, well, expect an Emeritus explosion all over the internet.
• "The Cardinals played well on defense while beating the Falcons in a first-round playoff game last weekend, highlighted by CB Antrel Rolle's fumble return for a touchdown. But Arizona ranked only 19th in the NFL in total defense during the regular season. That was only one spot behind the Panthers, however. . . . Carolina surrendered 381 passing yards to Warner when the Panthers beat the Cardinals in Week 8 of the regular season, but limited Arizona to 50 rushing yards, with only 20 of them from running backs." [WaPo]
•"I couldn't help but start this thread a little early as game day has finally arrived yet we still have to wait ALL DAY. For me tonights game is about making a statement that the Panthers are truly one of the best four teams in the NFL. If they win tonight then the rest is all gravy." [Cat Scratch Reader]
• "I’ve chronicled my thoughts this week about how the Cardinals continue to not gain any respect throughout the country. I won’t say much more on that subject. However, the only way the Cardinals are going to be able to erase doubters is to go and win. Playing them close will quiet some, but it won’t be enough. Now the Cardinals may come out and play their best and that won’t be enough either to win this game. Time will tell." [Raising Zona]
• "Stewart likes the “Double Trouble” moniker, though, because it treats the two as equals. “It's more focused on unity than anything,” Stewart said. “Whether DeAngelo or me is in, the defense has trouble on its hands.” [Charlotte Observer]
• "Few beyond the team, its rabid fans, lovers of the red crested finch and Vatican-philes expect this team to win. The skepticism is well founded but history has demonstrated Dewey doesn't always beat Truman and predictions mean zilch when the unexpected interferes. An inspired defense, a nervous kicker or a surprising weather pattern can change everything." [Arizona Republic]
• "Many experts think that this matchup will turn into a lopsided affair in Carolina's favor, but the game will be much closer than anticipated. The Panthers had a tough time slowing the Cardinals down during the first meeting, and Whisenhunt may opt to use the no-huddle earlier to get his team into a flow early. However, the Panthers' defense will eventually force Warner into costly mistakes, and the power running game will eventually wear down the Cardinals in the second half. Look for the Panthers to pull away late. Panthers win 31-21." [SI]