The Arizona Cardinals head to St. Louis to face the Rams on Sunday. Both teams are expected to compete for third place in the NFC West this season behind the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
The Rams are one of the youngest teams in the league, but most experts still like their chances at home against the Cardinals this week.
On ESPN, only two out of 14 experts think the Cardinals will win in Week 1.
On CBSSports.com, the Cardinals fared a little better: Four out of eight analysts think they will win this week.
Pete Prisco, who thinks the
Rams will win 27-21, had this to say:
These two are improved from a year ago, and one of them might be able to make a playoff push. Both teams have good defenses, so it’s all about the quarterback play. Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford have to get off to good starts. I think it will be Bradford who does it in the home opener here. The Rams pass rush might be too much for Palmer.
On Yahoo! Sports, both Frank Schwab and Les Carpenter pick the Rams to win.
On Fox Sports, only one of five experts picked Arizona to prevail in St. Louis.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated picks St. Louis to win 27-20.
Watch the two rookies in this one: Rams receiver Tavon Austin and Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu. They should go head-to-head plenty when Austin lines up in the slot. I bet they both make their share of plays, but Austin and the Rams will make a few more.
Both writers on NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk pick St. Louis to win. PFT’s Michael David Smith says it will be a close, low-scoring game (17-12 Rams), but Mike Florio thinks St. Louis will win 30-20.
Both teams have improved, even though it may not be enough to contend with the Seahawks and 49ers. For now, the Rams are better at more positions than Arizona — with an offense that can be prolific and a defense that is underrated. St. Louis went 4-1-1 in the division last year. They start 2013 at 1-0 in the NFC West.
It’s clear the Cardinals head into St. Louis as the underdog, at least according to media experts, against a similarly matched Rams squad.