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San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals: 5 Bold Predictions For Week 1 Matchup

5 Bold Predictions For Chargers vs. Cardinals Week 1 Matchup

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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The San Diego Chargers travel to the desert and take on the Arizona Cardinals in an underrated Week 1 game. San Diego made the playoffs last season, and the Cardinals had a great campaign at 10-6 despite not cementing a postseason berth. Each team is a dark horse candidate to make the playoffs in 2014, and getting off to a fast start is imperative to prove they mean business.

Here's a look at five bold predictions for this Week 1 matchup.

5. Carson Palmer Has Plenty Of Time In The Pocket All Game

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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5. Carson Palmer Has Plenty Of Time In The Pocket All Game

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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The Cardinals' offensive line was not a strong suit in 2014, but Arizona made a big time addition at LT when they signed Jared Veldheer and San Diego's pass rush is likely the Achilles heel as constructed. Expect Palmer to have more time than he should and likely a 300-yard, two touchdown performance.

4. Arizona's Tough Run Defense Renders Ryan Mathews Incapable Of Finding Lanes

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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4. Arizona's Tough Run Defense Renders Ryan Mathews Incapable Of Finding Lanes

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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Mathews had the best statistical season of his career in 2013 and projects to do more of the same during the 2014 campaign, but this isn't the week for him to get it all started. The Cardinals finished with the No. 1 ranked run defense in 2013 and return many of the same players. Mathews just doesn't have the size to run north and south against this unit.

3. Philip Rivers Stays Under Tremendous Pressure On Each Edge From Cardinals' DEs All Game

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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3. Philip Rivers Stays Under Tremendous Pressure On Each Edge From Cardinals' DEs All Game

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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DE Calais Campbell is one of the most underrated edge rushers in the NFL, and the Chargers' tackles King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker are not good enough to shut Campbell down regardless of which side he heads toward Rivers from. The Cardinals have a stellar secondary that will give the front seven more time to find ways past the offensive line and into the backfield. Rivers isn't the fastest QB in the world, but he better be ready to scramble.

2. Cardinals' Linebackers Exposed By Chargers' Tight Ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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2. Cardinals' Linebackers Exposed By Chargers' Tight Ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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Arizona is a tad long in the tooth at linebacker with Larry Foote and John Abraham leading the way. The Cardinals shouldn't have that tough of a time with Keenan Allen out wide due to their secondary, but Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green project to completely dominate over the middle unless the safeties are designated to help on a consistent basis.

1. Larry Fitzgerald Overmatches Chargers' Secondary For Over 100 Yards and One TD

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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1. Larry Fitzgerald Overmatches Chargers' Secondary For Over 100 Yards and One TD

San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
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The Chargers have an elite safety in Eric Weddle, but none of their corners have the size to slow down WR Larry Fitzgerald. San Diego will need Weddle to think less about center field and more about helping disrupt Fitzgerald's routes. But committing double coverage to Fitzgerald will leave the uber-talented Michael Floyd in single coverage which is just as risky. Fitzgerald is undoubtedly primed for a huge opener.

Timothy Downs is a St. Louis Rams/NFL writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.

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