Chargers, Cardinals Clash In Final Game Of Week One On Monday Night Football
The Arizona Cardinals were one of the league’s hottest teams down the stretch a year ago when they finished 10-6 and only narrowly missed out on the playoffs. However, that was last year and there have been too many changes to Bruce Arians’ roster to expect the momentum to carry over. Arizona will host the San Diego Chargers in its season opener and the final game of week one on Monday night. San Diego is also projected to be a contender in 2014 but only one of these teams will be able to open the year with a win and right now it’s the Cardinals favored with the home advantage on their side.
San Diego Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals
Monday September 8, 2014 – 10:20 PM ET
U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
NFL Betting Line: Arizona -3
The Chargers were also very good down the stretch last season as they won four-straight games including their season-finale against the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime in order to squeeze in to the postseason. San Diego then beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card round before a loss to the eventual AFC Champion Denver Broncos. The roster could very well be more talented on paper this year and the Chargers will look to get off to a better start.
NFL Betting Preview: San Diego Chargers
Phillip Rivers proved his critics wrong when he threw for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns a year ago and he will look to build on that performance with another big season. Keenan Allen emerged as San Diego’s leading receiver as a rookie and will play that role again with veteran receivers Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal back in the mix along with tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. The Chargers benefited from better balance on that side of the ball with running back Ryan Matthews healthy and will need another big season from him in 2014. San Diego is also expected to take a step forward on defense where they welcome back Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney as well as free agent addition Brandon Flowers. The Chargers’ secondary will be tested early and often in this game and the pressure up front will be key with Ingram, Freeney, and Jarret Johnson bringing it off the edge against a suspect Cardinals’ offensive line.
NFL Betting Preview: Arizona Cardinals
Jared Veldheer arrives from Oakland to protect Carson Palmer’s blind side but left guard Jonathan Cooper has been roughed up in what has essentially been his rookie preseason and the right side of the line doesn’t inspire much confidence. Palmer still has a big arm but he lacks mobility and is vulnerable to making mistakes under pressure. Arizona will need running back Andre Ellington’s speed out of the backfield with the bruising tandem of Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer the change of pace backs that will look to soften the San Diego line on inside runs. The bigger issue could be on defense where the Cardinals lost inside linebacker Daryl Washington and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett to a season-ending injuries while safety Tyrann Mathieu’s status remains unknown.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
The Chargers didn’t have to travel far and there are plenty of reasons to expect improvement for a young team that will benefit from experience, healthy, and some key veteran additions. Ultimately, San Diego will go as far as Rivers will take them but he has plenty of weapons and should be able to find some holes in the Arizona defense. The Cardinals succeeding last year when their defense played at a high level and they were able to control the tempo but they appear to be overmatched heading in to this contest.
NFL Betting Pick: San Diego Chargers +3