The New England Patriots will travel to face the Arizona Cardinals without their two biggest weapons on offense. One of them is tight end Rob Gronkowski, one of the best tight ends in the league who is dealing with an injury and did not travel with the team. Gronkowski was a surprise addition to the injury report, though the Patriots were adamant that he would play.
And then they left him home.
The other player is Tom Brady, who is serving a four-game suspension. Jimmy Garoppolo will be starting at quarterback, and he'll be dueling Carson Palmer of the Cardinals. Palmer has experienced a great career resurgence with the Cardinals, though at his age and with his injury history, his health is a consistent concern.
Nearer the end of last season, Palmer started to slow down and he struggled big time. He seemed to just run out of gas as the season went on. How he looks at the very start of this season will be one of the more interesting factors going into Week 1.
Experts over at CBS Sports don't have any faith in the Patriots to get it done without Tom Brady, as all eight picking went with the Cardinals. Of the nine experts who picked at the time of writing from ESPN, all of them ware going with the Cardinals to win on Sunday night. There was one expert at FOX Sports who think the Patriots have a chance, with the other four sticking with Arizona.
Here at SB Nation, it's a similar spread.
|Game||RVB||Stephen White||Thomas George||Jeanna Thomas||Adam Stites||Tyler Tynes||Louis Bien||Joel Thorman||Fooch||OddsShark computer|
|NE vs ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||NE||ARZ||ARZ|
Of the nine experts picking the Sunday Night Football match from SBNation, eight think the Cardinals will win, in addition to the OddsShark computer. Joel Thorman is the only one picking the Patriots. You can find out who was right, and who was wrong, Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.