Despite finishing the season below .500, the Carolina Panthers won their division and are hosting a playoff game after winning their final four games of the regular season. Meanwhile, despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC the majority of the season, they find themselves with a third string quarterback (Ryan Lindley) and the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Sometimes, the NFL just isn't fair.
Arizona prides themselves on defense, and there is a chance that unit could take over this game. Since Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton went down with injuries, though, the Cardinals haven't been able to bring the proper "punch" necessary to win in the postseason. It doesn't help Arizona's offense that Carolina's defense has finally started to show signs of the elite group they were a year ago. I like Cam Newton to continue the Panthers' hot streak in the opening round. Panthers 21, Cardinals 17
Game: Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers
Date/Time: Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 4:35 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, North Carolina
Television: ESPN - Jon Gruden & Mike Tirco
NFL Odds: Panthers by 6