The league brought their A-game for Week 1 of the 2016 season, as the Arizona Cardinals host the New England Patriots for Sunday Night Football. The match-up has lost its luster a bit after the suspension of Tom Brady, but it is still arguably the best game of the week.
Both teams are coming off of championship game losses, and are legitimate Super Bowl contenders this season. However, with Brady on the sideline, the home team Cardinals sit as six point favorites for the game.
Despite not having their star quarterback, do not count out the Patriots. Jimmy Garoppolo is in a great position to succeed with usual weapons like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski at his disposal. Also, the Patriots have a loaded defense that should shine in Brady’s absence.
On the flip side, the Cardinals are healthy and primed to be a force in 2016. Carson Palmer leads a strong Cardinals’ offensive attack that is only likely to get better with more snaps for dynamic running back David Johnson.
Also, Cardinals star safety Tyrann Mathieu is expected to play in this game against the Patriots. Coming back strong from a torn ACL, Mathieu will undoubtedly make an impact in the Sunday night game. Add Mathieu back on an already loaded Cardinals’ defense, and Garoppolo will undoubtedly have his hands full on Sunday night.
To add to the Sunday Night Football intrigue, these two teams made a trade this off season. Defensive end Chandler Jones will now look to wreak havoc in Arizona. Fresh off of a 12.5-sack season with the Patriots in 2015, the Cardinals hope they have found their premier edge rusher.
Jones will undoubtedly be looking to make a huge impact in his debut game with his new team. Add in the fact he is playing his against his old team will only add fuel to the fire.
This game seems likely to go the Cardinals’ way, but we all know better than to count out a team led by Bill Belichick. Patriots versus Cardinals on Sunday Night Football is sure to be one of the best games in Week 1.
Sunday Night Football on NBC at 8:30 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in for Patriots versus Cardinals. Most of the rest of the country will.