By no means is this an easy contest to kick off the 2015 campaign for the Arizona Cardinals.
Sure, the New Orleans Saints have a new look without TE Jimmy Graham and a handful of other key defections but QB Drew Brees is still capable of carving up the Arizona secondary and any NFL secondary for that matter.
The Cardinals struggled in pass defense a year ago and we’ll get a good measuring stick of where CB Patrick Peterson is after a down season in 2014. Many pundits are down on Brees and the Saints offense coming into this year, but we’re guessing they’ll still be a formidable unit.
Saints player to watch: WR Brandon Cooks
Cooks is as explosive as it gets and is expected to be Brees’ primary target now with Graham gone. Cooks will likely bounce around the slot and split out wide, so Arizona will probably take a committee approach lining up against Cooks.
Key matchup: Cardinals run offense vs. Saints run defense
Arizona's running game is still a bit of an unknown heading into the season opener. How many carries will Andre Ellington see? How will the roles of David Johnson and Chris Johnson look? We'll see how these questions are answered during Sunday's tilt with the Saints.
Regardless of who's toting the rock, the Cardinals will have to find some success on the ground to help out Carson Palmer and company. Palmer has a host of weapons around him and we're expecting wideout John Brown to have a breakout game to kick off a breakout season. But a consistent rushing attack will certain help that scenario.
If Arizona can limit the big plays by Brees and Cooks along with developing some sort of running game, it should have an excellent chance of winning the season opener at the friendly confines of University of Phoenix Stadium.
Prediction: Cardinals 27 Saints 20
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