TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 8, 4:25 p.m., FOX
Stadium: Edward Jones Dome
Line: Rams (-4.5)
The St. Louis Rams are entering the 2013 season with much to prove. Finishing 7-8-1 in 2012, the Rams, led by quarterback Sam Bradford, showed some major improvement despite the losing record and missing the playoffs once again. Bradford is a fourth-year quarterback who has improved each season since joining the league, ultimately leading to his 3,702 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Wide receiver Chris Givens has the potential to be a solid No. 1 guy, but he is unproven. Losing running back Steven Jackson will also hurt the offense a bit as Daryl Richardson could end up with a breakout season as a first-year starter.
On the other side of the field, the Arizona Cardinals had a pitiful offense in 2012. In fact, the Cardinals scored the second-least amount of points in the league last season while finishing dead-last in yards per game by a margin of 34. However, the offense will be far more effective in 2013 with Carson Palmer at quarterback, coming off a 4,000-yard passing season with 22 touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald looks to have a breakout campaign with a solid quarterback throwing him the ball — finally. Fitzgerald had an off-year in 2012 because of the inconsistent quarterback play, but he still is one of the top-three wide outs in the league, in my opinion.
Defensively, the Cardinals started the season pretty strong, helping the team to a 4-0 record to start the season. However, they finished the season 1-11 and the defense started falling off a bit. The Rams look to have one of the most underrated defenses in football this season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they snuck into the top-10 overall.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 17, Rams 27
Related: St. Louis Preview