5. RB Tim Hightower
The third-year back exploded against Denver last week, gaining a career-high 148 rushing yards. Hightower earned18 carries, the most he’s seen since Week 9 of his rookie campaign. Expect the Richmond product to put in double-digit carries against the Panthers. Carolina’s opponents average 132.6 yards a game on the ground. The Panthers manage to keep their opponents in check, through the air, better than 22 other teams in the league. The Cardinals’ greenness at quarterback will put the ball in Hightower’s hands often.
4. K Jay Feely
Feely facilitated the Cardinals 43-13 win over the Broncos in Week 14. He accounted for 25 points and the feel-good story of the week. Feely’s performance sheds light on an already successful season, as he ranks in the top-10 of field goal percentage. Look for Feely to put up several points on Sunday against the Panthers, because Ken Whisenhunt will likely err on the side of caution when it comes to his team’s ability to gain the last 30 or so yards.
3. DE Darnell Dockett
With just three games left, Dockett is on pace to have one of his lowest-producing years since 2006. Dockett ability to make big plays was demonstrated last week against the Broncos. The Cardinals would like their old playmaker to show up and finish the season.
2. SS Adrian Wilson
Wilson will be on shutdown patrol to quiet the Panthers duo of Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson. For the first time all season, Wilson produced double-digit tackles last week. He shouldn’t have any problem continuing the pattern against the one-win Panthers.
1. QB John Skelton
Last week the question was is the Cardinals new guy that good or are the Broncos just that bad? Another one of those weeks is in store with the Carolina Panthers, which is all well and good as Skelton could use the room to grow.
Amberly Dressler is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.