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Game of the Week: Week 2
By Kurt Ison
Special to rzl-football.com

GAME OF THE WEEK
(0-1) CAROLINA PANTHERS V ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-0)



History:
Played 8
Panthers 3 - 5 Cardinals

Recent Form:
Panthers: --L
Cardinals: --W

The 2021 season is underway, the fans rejoice and the players get to showcase their skills. Teams were surprised and some disappointed. Injuries struck teams early and hard, shaping the season up as yet another exciting chapter in the RZL. Plenty of games to be played and plenty of teams are still finding their feet.

The champions of last season were shocked last week when they were run down by a Moore-less Saints outfit in New Orleans. It's not the start they needed, in a strong division they wanted to make a statement early that last year was no fluke. Arizona had a tough fight against Minnesota, after dominating the first half they took their foot off the pedal and almost suffered the same fate as Carolina. Both teams have a lot of improvements to make and they will need to them quickly.

Team Leaders
Passing:
CAR - QB D.Stanton - 19/40, 226 YDS, 0 TD's, 3 INT's = 34.0 RAT
ARI - QB H.Cantwell - 14/17, 236 YDS, 2 TD's, 0 INT's = 158.0 RAT

Rushing:
CAR - HB Q.Bowlinger - 17 CAR's, 68 YDS, 4.00 AVG, 1 TD
ARI - HB D.Mayer - 21 CAR's, 59 YDS, 2.81 AVG, 0 TD's

Receiving:
CAR - WR R.Richardson - 4 REC, 71 YDS, 0 TD's
ARI - WR R.Hall - 7 REC, 161 YDS, 1 TD

Tackles:
CAR - LB B.Carter - 6 TAK's
ARI - CB R.Correa, LB M.Angre, SS M.Russell - 6 TAK's

Sacks:
CAR - DE G.O'Hara - 3 SCK's
ARI - LB M.Angre - 2 SCK's

Interceptions:
CAR - Nil.
ARI - Nil.

Injury Report:
Panthers - SS Todd Brooks 3 Weeks.
Carolina lost Brooks in last weeks loss to the Saints. Brooks is a former first and is a valuable member of the defence, rookie Travis Allen will likely fill the role and will have a key role in shutting down Arizona's passing game.

Cardinals - CB Zane Trudeau 8 Weeks / HB Joe McKnight 5 Weeks / WR Lennox Harrison Out for the Season.
The Cardinals were already thin at corner with a healthy lineup, losing Trudeau in the pre-season has left them with three healthy corners. It's the biggest concern for them, the loss of McKnight and Harrison won't affect them.

Key Match-up:
Panthers Glenn O'Hara V Cardinals Jake Long
Two exceptional veterans will clash at the line of scrimmage in this one. O'Hara is coming off a three sack game and will be testing Long who had no trouble handling his opposition in week one. Cantwell showed he can be rattled, O'Hara will be on a mission to get to him and put him down hard. Arizona has their best lineman on the task and Long will make it extremely difficult. If O'Hara hits his target, the momentum could be swung.

Watch out Cardinals!
Drew Stanton was awful in week one, New Orleans made him look like a rookie. The thirty-six year old who is possibly in his last season won't want his championship diminished by continued poor play. He will be looking to put up numbers this week, he has a good chance against a shallow backfield in Arizona. We are sure he hasn't forgotten that the Cardinals traded him back in week eight of 2007 either.

Watch out Panthers!
Rookie second round pick, linebacker Mike Angre proved he is ready for the RZL. Recording six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble he was all over the Vikings in week one. At 6'2" and 261lbs he is a imposing sight, he will be looking to make a name for himself by hitting Quinton "Bollingball" Bowlinger who is one of the bigger backs in the league. Watch the rookie to try and pull off more big plays this week.

What they said..
Carolina Panthers GM - Keith Van Wagner
"The Cardinals are an elite team that always presents problems for us. We are 3-5 lifetime against Arizona and know how potent their offense and defense is. It will be a battle next Sunday."

Arizona Cardinals GM - Tyler Richardson
"KVWs Panthers are always a tough match-up, as evidenced by his Superbowl victory last season. Hopefully we can catch the champs in a slump as they already lost to the Saints week one. The Panthers have a nasty defense and we all know Drew Stanton can put up points. We will have to find a way to move the ball against them while containing Stanton. If we allow Stanton to pass all over us we will be in trouble because we won't win a shootout against their defense. May the best team win."

Prediction:
Super Bowl hangovers are nothing new to the RZL, the Panthers were caught off guard by a under strength Saints team. They will be a lot more prepared and on guard this week against Arizona. The Cardinals just got over the line against a team they were expected to beat, they calibre of opposition takes a huge leap this week. Carolina will find last seasons form and remind everyone about last season. Panthers by 14.
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