Cardinals’ game vs. Panthers named a top game to watch
Ahead of the NFL season, a group of 10 NFL analysts took a look at all things football.
From coaches to referees to traditions, every facet of the game was taken into account as the group ranked the top 10 of each category.
Tasked with the top 10 games to watch in 2019, ESPN’s Trey Wingo went down the list, selecting the most intriguing matchups of the season.
Wedged between the New Orleans Saints’ revenge game in Week 2 and Khalil Mack’s return to Oakland in Week 5, were the Arizona Cardinals, who take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.
It doesn’t seem like much on paper, but this game could tell us a lot. How is Cam Newton’s shoulder? What is Christian McCaffrey’s workload looking like? And how is the Kyler Murray-KIiff Kingsbury offense working in its third game?
It may not be his shoulder, but Cam Newton doesn’t look like he’s 100%, and missing practice Tuesday after aggravating a foot injury only heightens the questions surrounding the team.
Especially in the passing days, as the Panthers continue to get hit in the mouth this season.
After losing by a field goal to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, Carolina fell short to division foe Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Thursday Night Football.
In both contests, Newton’s looked like a shell of himself.
The QB has yet to throw a touchdown while recording an interception in the process.
He’s also not looked like the mobile signal-caller that he’s made his name on. Through two games, Newton has rushed just five times for -2 yards, coughing up the football twice.
And as for running back Christian McCaffrey? He balled out in Week 1, rushing for 128 yards and two scores on 19 carries to go along with 81 yards on 10 catches.
But Week 2 saw an uncharacteristic game from McCaffrey, as he rushed for just 37 yards on 16 touches while adding 16 yards on two receptions.
His ability is unquestioned, but with Newton dealing with an injury, McCaffrey’s production could be greatly affected.
For the Cardinals, the team is sitting at 0-1-1, but the offense has had its moments as the season progresses.
One issue to keep an eye on is the QB’s sack numbers. Heading into Week 3, Murray has been sacked eight times, tied for third in the NFL among starting quarterbacks.
Another focuses in on the run game, specifically David Johnson.
He’s added a score on the ground and through the air in two games, but hasn’t had the success many thought he would have this season. Johnson has rushed for 96 yards and a score on 25 carries, averaging 3.8 yards a carry, while catching seven balls for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Adding to the early-season woes, the running back suffered a wrist injury against the Ravens. He would return to action, but wasn’t used much, finishing the game with just seven carries for 14 yards.
Can he get back to his 2016 form?
And if so, what tweaks need to made to the offense moving forward to properly utilize RB?