Tom Brady and the New England Patriots welcome the Arizona Cardinals into Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts for the home opener on Sunday afternoon.
Event: New England Patriots (1-0) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-0) - Regular Season, Week 2.
Date/Time: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 1:00 p.m. ET.
Location: Gillette Stadium (Capacity: 68,756), Foxborough, MA.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's home opener between the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals will be televised regionally on FOX (Ch. 8 in Boston and surrounding areas) and on DirecTV channel No. 706. The game can also be heard on the radio on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Gil Santos and Scott Zolak on the call, and on Sirius channel No. 91.
Odds: New England is favored over Arizona by 15.5 points, according to OddsShark.
Patriots 53-Man Roster: View the New England Patriots' 53-man roster by clicking here.
Cardinals 53-Man Roster: View the Arizona Cardinals' 53-man roster by clicking here.
Last Season: New England is coming off of a very successful season in which it reached the Super Bowl, but lost to the rival New York Giants. The 2011 version of the Pats went 13-3, best in the AFC, and easily took care of the Denver Broncos and barely squeaked past the Baltimore Ravens en route to the big game in Indianapolis. Arizona went 8-8 last season and finished second in the NFC West division, failing to qualify for postseason play in 2011.
Preseason: New England went 1-3 in the preseason, defeating the New Orleans Saints (7-6) in the opener but losing to the Philadelphia Eagles (27-17), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30-28) and the New York Giants (6-3). Arizona went 1-4 in the preseason, defeating the Oakland Raiders (31-27) but losing to the New Orleans Saints (17-10), the Kansas City Chiefs (27-17), the Tennessee Titans (32-27) and Denver Broncos (16-13).
Last Time Out: New England coasted to a 34-13 win over the Titans in the season opener last Sunday, powered by a balanced all-around attack. Tom Brady threw for 236 yards, Stevan Ridley rushed for 125 yards and the Patriots' defense held Titans star back Chris Johnson to four rushing yards on 11 attempts. Arizona opened up its season with a 20-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. John Skelton had 149 passing yards and a pick before leaving the game with an injury. Larry Fitzgerald had four catches for 64 yards.
Last Meeting: New England and Arizona last met at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2008, when the Pats cruised to a 47-7 win in Foxboro. That was the season when Brady was sidelined after going down with a season-ending knee injury in the season opener. Then Pats starting quarterback and current Chiefs starer Matt Cassel threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns while Lamont Jordan racked up 78 rushing yards and two scores. Matt Leinart threw for 138 yards and Larry Fitzgerald had three catches for 101 yards.
Storyline: The soft schedule continues for the Patriots as they host the Cardinals in the home opener. Just like Tennessee, Arizona is a team that most aren't expecting to see in late January. The Cardinals barely got past a middle of the road Seahawks squad in Week 1, and lost their starting quarterback in the process. With John Skelton out, Kevin Kolb steps back into the starting role, and he will certainly be under a lot of pressure. However, if Kolb can keep his composure, he has the best offensive weapon on the field in wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who burned the Patriots for 101 yards in their last meeting. New England played a very well balanced game in its season opener, and all signs point towards the Pats doing the same on Sunday (and winning). Simply put, the Cards aren't talented enough.
Players To Watch: Tom Brady, but that's a given. Expect the Patriots' quarterback to put up his usual big numbers. Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Lloyd all had good outings against the Titans, but Wes Welker was virtually absent, and it's hard to imagine that would happen two weeks in a row. Kevin Kolb will be under the microscope as he tries to gain the faith of his teammates and coaches. Larry Fitzgerald is quite good, too.
Prediction: New England shouldn't have a hard time winning at home, against Arizona no less, and that should show on the scoreboard. Final Score: Patriots 31, Cardinals 13.