After months of dreaming about the highly-anticipated quarterback matchup of John Skelton vs. Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals will take to the field to allow their two signal callers to shine.
Moving my tongue from my cheek, let me say that this game should serve as a warning for any team that sees a QB shine for a game or two with another team and feel that quarterback is ready to be their team's starter—Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn will be holding clipboards in this one.
So in light of that, both teams are going to look for their defenses and a strong running game to get them upper hand in this battle to assert early dominance over a division rival.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
When: Sunday, September 9 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Listen: Online at NFL Audio Pass
According to Bovada on 9/5
Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit' Em
Sart 'Em: Seahawks' Defense
The Seahawks have an up-and-coming defense and an improved pass-rush from last year. The Cardinals lost left tackle Levi Brown for the season earlier in the preseason.
Look for the Seahawks to exploit his absence and create some turnovers and sacks.
Sit 'Em: Marshawn Lynch, RB
As of Wednesday, Lynch's status for this game is still up in the air.
He has been struggling with back issues, and while he may be ready to play in this game, I do not see him getting a full workload after having missed so much time in the preseason.
Seahawks Player To Watch: Russell Wilson
While it is easy to view Wilson's unlikely ascension to the starting spot as Flynn's failure, that certainly is not the whole story.
Wilson has been accurate and poised beyond his years. The start to his NFL career has turned heads. Now let's see if he can keep that rolling into the regular season.
Cardinals Player To Watch: Larry Fitzgerald
I don't care if Ken Whisenhunt steps under center for his own team, Larry Fitzgerald is still going to produce.
He is just that good. Even when he is covered and the ball is thrown poorly, he still has a chance to come down with the ball.
Key Matchup: Cardinals Run Defense vs. Seahawks Run Defense
If Marshawn Lynch plays or not, the Seahawks are going to look to let their ground game lead their offense.
This is their identity, and having a rookie QB on the road to make his first start will only reinforce that.
The Cardinals rush defense was inconsistent last season. They need to start off on a high note if they want to win this one.
Prediction: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 17
The injury to Lynch, having a rookie QB making his first start and being on the road is more than the Seahawks will be able to overcome.
John Skelton will find Fitzgerald enough to lead his team to victory.