Carson Palmer starts for his third team in four years as the Arizona Cardinals take on the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Edward Jones Dome in Week One of the NFL season.
Palmer made his exodus from Oakland via trade this summer, and joined a Cardinals squad that started four quarterbacks due to injury and awful play last season.
Arizona started last year 4-0, only to lose 11 of its next 12 games, and were last in the NFL with 15.6 points per game. The Cardinals were 28th overall in passing offense, and last in rushing with 1,204 yards and 3.4 yards per carry.
Needless to stay Palmer and All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald have their work cut out for them in order to bust out of the crowded AFC West. Last season, Fitzgerald had the worst year of his pro career since his rookie year of 2004, with 798 yards and four touchdowns.
Running back Ryan Williams also makes his return from injury, and Arizona signed veteran rusher Rashard Mendenhall to provide some depth in the backfield.
Patrick Peterson and the Arizona secondary were a lone bright spot, ranking sixth in the NFL. While linebacker Daryl Washington was 11th in the NFL in total tackles. Both leave new head coach Bruce Arians with a solid foundation for Arizona’s makeover.
The Rams are also welcoming several new faces, with most to the benefit of fourth-year quarterback Sam Bradford.
St. Louis won four of its last six games last year, and was the only team in the division to remain unbeaten against mighty San Francisco. Bradford posted career-highs in passing yards and touchdowns, and those numbers could shoot up with additions of rookie receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, and the signing of veteran tight end Jared Cook.
WIth linebacker James Laurinaitis stuffing the middle for 142 tackles last year, and Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan manning the secondary, the Rams defense could also make strides from its 14th overall ranking last year.
The game begins at 4:25 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by FOX or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: St. Louis is favored by 4 points.
Over/Under: 41.5 points.
Prediction: Arizona 21, St. Louis 17
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.