The NFL season got off to an official start with the Denver Broncos taking down the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens with a 49-27 victory behind seven touchdown passes from Peyton Manning that were spread around to a number of receivers like Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas and now Week 1 in the NFL is continuing on Sunday with the Arizona Cardinals visiting the St. Louis Rams.
The Cardinals and the rams are heading into the season with very high expectations and now that Arizona has a new quarterback and coach with Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians, the offense is looking to be explosive. The Rams have Sam Bradford developing and after drafting Tavon Austin and letting Steven Jackson go with Daryl Richardson taking over, Jeff Fisher feels it's time to turn the corner. The Rams and Cardinals play in one of the toughest divisions in football with the 49ers and Seahawks and it's amazing what the division was once considered when the Seahawks made the playoffs with a losing record a few seasons ago.
The Rams made some solid signings in the offseason with Jared Cook and Jake Long to add to the offense and with Bradford coming into another season, Cook could get plenty of looks as a primary tight end after coming over from the Titans, where he was sorely underused. Richardson could be a sleeper pick in most fantasy leagues, while Austin has speed that could make him an exceptional playmaker in the league. The Rams have a very young team and that is the way they like it and the team feels good about themselves in the division after not losing to the 49ers, winning one game and having the other finish in a tie. The team went 7-8-1 last season and now Fisher has his sights set on a wild card spot.
Palmer gives an exceptional upgrade at quarterback after the Cardinals went through Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley last season and now Larry Fitzgerald has someone legitimate to throw him the ball and he should rebound from a down season. The Cardinals were one of the most disappointing teams in the league last season after winning their first four games, as they dropped 11 of their last 12 to end the year and now they have a new coach, new quarterback and a new running game after signing Rashard Mendenhall. The team ranked last in the league in rushing yards per game last season and they are hoping that the Steelers castoff can help along with rookies Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor.
The Rams won both games against the Cardinals last year and now the team is looking to make it three in a row with the Week 1 victory. The Cardinals lost their top draft pick in Jonathan Cooper for the season with an injury and now they will have to move on without him as they try to overhaul the offense. The Cardinals have a tough schedule to start the season with games against the 49ers, Detroit Lions and Saints as well as the Seahawks and Falcons and then the team will play Houston and Philly later in the season. The Rams have tough divisional games as well as matchups with the Dallas Cowboys, Texans, Colts, Bears and Saints. The team finishes the season with a road game against the Seattle Seahawks and Fisher hopes by then the tea will be in the playoff hunt.