The Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers will kick off their respective 2014 NFL seasons at University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday.
Both teams finished the 2013 season with winning records. The Chargers were able to make the playoffs in the AFC with a 9-7 record, while 10-6 was not enough for the Cardinals to make a postseason appearance. San Diego was eliminated in the divisional round by the Denver Broncos.
The two teams faced each other August 28 in their final preseason game. The Chargers claimed a 12-9 victory in a game that had few starters and little significance. Neither team scored a touchdown, and Cardinals’ rookie quarterback Logan Thomas failed to impress, completing 9 of 21 passes for 73 yards. Monday’s game will hold more meaning and be a better representation of both teams.
Before the game, take a look Behind Enemy Lines and see what’s going on in San Diego.
Saturday, September 6
Chris Berman’s Thoughts on 2014 Bolts (Chargers.com)
A fan of the Chargers’ rich history, ESPN play-by-play announcer Chris Berman jokes how he’s become intertwined with the franchise over the last 35 years.
Mathews can help self, Chargers in 2014 (UTSanDiego.com)
So everyone knows Ryan Mathews is the only one of the Chargers’ top three backs in a contract year, the only to have not gotten a check with a seven-digit number on it this offseason.
Troutman gets chance to hit Cardinals (UTSanDiego.com)
Johnnie Troutman, preceded by Jeromey Clary last year and Louis Vasquez in 2012, is expected to be the team’s third different right guard in as many season openers when the Chargers and Cardinals meet Monday night.
John Phillips a throwback TE for Chargers (ESPN.com)
San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich confirmed what most others in the organization think about reserve tight end John Phillips — he plays like a guy from an earlier era.
Friday, September 5
Chargers D is ready for Arizona’s offensive playmakers (Chargers.com)
San Diego is aware of the havoc that Arizona’s receivers and running backs can cause, and the Chargers’ coaches are prepared for the challenge of stopping these stars.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano share a strong connection spanning almost two decades, when the two were coaches with the New Orleans Saints. On Monday night, the former colleagues have to ignore their long friendship and try to lead their teams to a good start in 2014.
Chargers plan to keep offense simple on Monday (Chargers.com)
Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich intends to ignore the temptation of a complex gameplan and stick to the basics in the season opener. He’s looking to rely on San Diego’s unselfish players to win the battle against Arizona’s talented defense.
Keenan Allen has an early chance to prove his talent (UTSanDiego.com)
After a breakout rookie year, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has to show that he’s worth all of the praise. With a matchup against the great Cardinals secondary, this week offers a tremendous opportunity.
Thursday, September 4
The San Diego Chargers are ready to revamp a pass rush that has been anemic the last few years. With the return of healthy linebackers Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram, their first target is Cardinals’ quarterback Carson Palmer.
Five bold predictions for the Chargers-Cardinals game (RantSports.com)
Five bold claims about Monday nights’ matchup includes the output from Chargers’ running back Ryan Matthews, the Cardinals’ ability to pressure the quarterback, and what kind of game to expect from the Chargers tight ends.
Wednesday, September 3
Former Arizona Cardinal Richard Marshall will be asked to play safety for the Chargers in Monday’s game. Marshall has played cornerback for the majority of his career, but played safety at times for the Cardinals in 2011, so the position switch is not completely new for him.
Lissemore mentally preparing for Cardinals (ESPN.com)
Sean Lissemore appears ready to play his first game in almost a month on Monday after participating in practice for the second straight day. The Chargers’ nose tackle was injured in a preseason game against the Seahawks on August 15.
NFL Week 1 Picks (SportingNews.com)
The Chargers are predicted to come out on top in this game on their road to becoming legitimate contenders. The Cardinals’ suspensions and injuries may be too much to overcome.
Tuesday, September 2
San Diego Chargers game predictions (ESPN.com)
ESPN Chargers reporter predicts a San Diego win in Week 1. Suspensions, injuries and new players will weaken the Cardinals’ defense.
Scouting Report: Chargers at Cardinals (Chargers.com)
In Monday’s matchup against the Chargers, the Cardinals will be facing the fifth ranked offense of 2013, led by the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers’ 23rd ranked defense features 2013 Pro Bowler Eric Weddle and newcomer Pro Bowler Brandon Flowers.
Chargers No. 11 in ESPN NFL power rankings (ESPN.com)
The Chargers have moved up in Week 1’s poll from their post-draft May ranking of No. 16. They ended last season in the No. 12 position. The Cardinals are ranked No. 14, falling from No. 8 in May.
2014 Practice Squad Announced (Chargers.com)
The Chargers announced their practice squad for the 2014 season on Tuesday. The squad includes quarterback Ryan Lindley, who was waived by the Cardinals this year, and Marion Grice, the former Arizona State running back whom the Chargers waived on Monday.