Its purpose is to ensure a level playing field.
Say you have everyone active but Team A has five players injured while Team B only has one. Team A now has a perceived advantage because they technically have a deeper roster.
Forcing both teams to sit 8 players is meant to nullify that possibility.
It all comes down to Rivera.
Are the Panthers good enough to go on the road and win a game against a so-so team that sucked last year and has a rookie QB in his third ever game? Yes.
Will there be any sign that this coaching staff understands how to do that? That is the question.
Backs against the wall, staring down 0-3 and the increasing likelihood that if this thing goes south in a hurry heads will roll...
I’d like to think we’ll come out 1-2, but...
I still think the Panthers will go into AZ underprepared. They will underperform. Maybe it will be close at some point, but I just see the little mistakes adding up to some truly unfortunate momentum changes in this game.
On the road, every mistake is magnified.
AZ has nothing to lose and will be relaxed and focused. Panthers will start out looking like they could win this thing, then there will be lapses in focus and suddenly AZ has the ball in good field position.
Plus...and I mean this for real...the best narrative for the NFL is the rise of Murray and the decline of the Panthers. I find that games like this often favor which ever story is the best narrative for the corporate interest. What helps the NFL more: Kyle Allen leads a mediocre Panthers over and even more mediocre Cardinals, OR Murray balls out and puts up a highlight reel as the lowly Panthers trip over their own stupid feet?
The second one.
Probably another grinding loss.