The Cardinals will travel to Charlotte next Sunday to face the Panthers in the playoffs for the second straight year.
There are some big differences between the two games. The 2015 matchup was in the Wild Card round rather than for a trip to the Super Bowl and quarterback Carson Palmer will be in the lineup for the Cardinals this time. Palmer was out with a torn ACL last year and backup Drew Stanton was also sidelined by a knee injury, leaving Ryan Lindley to start in a 27-16 loss.
“Can’t wait to get to Carolina,” Palmer said, via the Arizona Republic. “Great opportunity. Love the way we play on the road in the face of adversity.”
The Cardinals were 7-1 on the road during the regular season, which makes it easy to understand why Palmer would feel confident about playing away from home in such a big game. The Cardinals also won in Carolina in 2009 on the way to the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.
Arizona isn’t the same team they were a year ago, but neither are the Panthers. They were 7-8-1 in the regular season as opposed to 15-1 this season and they feature a deeper team featuring likely NFL MVP Cam Newton at the helm of the offense.