The projected basement of the NFC West division plays one another this afternoon in week one of the 2013 NFL football schedule as the partially rebuilt Arizona Cardinals take on the St. Louis Rams sans a familiar face. The Cardinals are hoping an experienced new coach and quarterback can reverse their fortunes, while the Rams are hoping their young team can live up to their potential.
Arizona has yet to find success since Kurt Warner retired and will hand the ball over to new head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer to start the 2013 campaign. It didn’t look as if such dramatic changes were needed in Arizona after a sharp 4-0 start last season including a win at New England, but the season completely fell apart after that as the red birds only won 1 of their next 12 games.
Joining new quarterback Palmer will be former Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall. And completing a new-look offense will be the use of cornerback Patrick Peterson on limited offensive plays. For the Cardinals sake and their fans, hopefully Palmer will be able to get the ball into the hands of Larry Fitzgerald, something post-Warner quarterbacks have been unable to accomplish with any degree of consistency.
The Rams enter 2013 without running back Steven Jackson who defected to the Falcons in the offseason after gaining 1,000 yards for St. Louis in eight consecutive seasons. The Rams will miss him, but sophomore back Daryl Richardson was promising as the backup last season and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will have some new weapons to utilize in the offense including the number eight pick in the last draft, Tavon Austin, as well as free agent acquisition Jared Cook. This could be the season that Bradford and Jeff Fisher push their team forward and into the Playoffs, despite strong competition in the division including the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
I like the Rams to win this one at home as Arizona is counting on a new offensive scheme and quarterback with no regular season experience under the belt yet. It could be a long season for Arizona if they can’t protect Palmer who is not the most mobile of quarterbacks.
The second afternoon Sunday NFL Football game between the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams will kick off at 4:25pm EST / 1:25pm PST on Fox in high definition (HD) in select markets. Free live online streaming is not offered by Fox, but the game can be found on NFL Sunday Ticket here and can be live online streamed for customers who signed up, including via cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices via the Max package.