Week 1 on the NFL's schedule features a contest between the NFC West's forgotten, as the St. Louis Rams host the Arizona Cardinals.
With the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks generating so much buzz these days, these two franchises have flown under the radar all summer long.
Make no mistake about it, however: The Cardinals and Rams will be highly competitive this season, and the NFC West divisional title is by no means a gimme for the 49ers or Seahawks.
Both teams feature underrated offenses loaded with talent, and both defenses are capable of making big plays and creating turnovers.
Here's a look at what you need to know about this upcoming game.
When: Sunday, Sept. 8 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 41 pts.
- Spread: St. Louis (-4.5)
Cardinals Injury Report (via NFL.com)
|Rob Housler||TE||Ankle||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Rashard Mendenhall||RB||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Dan Williams||DT||Ankle||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|D.C. Jefferson||TE||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Calais Campbell||DE||Quadricep||Did Not Participate In Practice||Questionable|
|Andre Roberts||WR||Quadricep||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Javier Arenas||CB||Hip||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Andre Ellington||RB||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Mike Leach||LS||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
Rams Injury Report (via NFL.com)
|Cory Harkey||TE||Knee||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Jonathan Stewart||LB||Hip||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Darian Stewart||S||Thigh||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Quinton Pointer||CB||Thigh||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
Can Carson Palmer Get Arizona's Offense Cranked Up?
The Cardinals featured one of the most embarrassing offenses in the NFL last year, ranking last in rushing yards and sacks allowed (or is it first?). Furthermore, All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald found out what NFL purgatory is like with his worst season since his rookie campaign.
As a result, longtime head coach Ken Whisenhunt was canned, and in his place the Cardinals brought offensive guru Bruce Arians aboard to right the ship. Not long after, they engineered a trade with the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Carson Palmer.
Arians loves to push the ball downfield with the passing game, which suits Palmer's strengths to perfection. However, the team's offensive line is still a work in progress—especially after rookie guard Jonathan Cooper was lost for the season with a broken leg.
St. Louis' defense is loaded with pass-rushers, athletic linebackers and skilled defensive backs. Palmer will need to be at his absolute best to lead the Cardinals to victory.
The Rams have home-field advantage and are the better team to boot.
Chris Long, Robert Quinn and the rest of the men on the defensive line comprise the most underrated defensive front in the NFL, and they'll get to Carson Palmer early and often.
Which team will win?
On the other side, watch out for rookie receiver Tavon Austin, who is electric on turf surfaces. He and free-agent tight end Jared Cook will be targeted on a regular basis in the passing game by Sam Bradford, who is going to break out with a big season.
Rams win, 28-24
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