Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/5/13
Ideally bye weeks come in the middle of the season when NFL teams are battered and bruised and need time to get everybody back on the mend. Not the case for the 1-2 Panthers. Their bye came at about the worst time possible — a week after a 38-0 thrashing of the Giants and only four weeks into the season. That momentum may have partially subsided leading up to Carolina's road clash with Arizona (2-2). But the Panthers are still excited to get back on track. "I think [our confidence is] good. I don't think we feel great right now. We're 1-2 and we beat a team who is now 0-4" tight end Greg Olsen said. "So do we feel good that we won? Yeah. Are we ready to crown ourselves as anything more than a 1-2 team that is looking to get better? No." That's the question heading into this game: Who are these Panthers? The team that faced the Giants was dominant at the point of attack when running the ball and had a defensive front four that made New York's offensive line look more like a sift than an obstruction. Even the back four which had been mediocre at best early on was locked in. "We've been confident since the first game. It's just taking the steps necessary to go out there and play successful" linebacker Luke Kuechly said. "We've done well in parts of games and the confidence needs to continue for a whole game." That mojo especially offensively won't be as easy to regain. The Cardinals boast the No. 2 rushing defense in the league and held Doug Martin to just 45 yards on 27 carries last week — behind a stout front three of Calais Campbell Dan Williams and Darnell Dockett. Arizona's passing defense is more vulnerable giving up 242 yards through the air. But the Cardinals still have an array of playmakers in the secondary starting with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Cam Newton lit the Cardinals up for 422 yards in his NFL debut two years ago at University of Phoenix Stadium — a game the Panthers still lost 28-21. Both squads have undergone changes since that September 2011 outing.
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