The Arizona Cardinals will seek to move on without their lost defensive players as they take on the San Diego Chargers Monday night.
The Arizona Cardinals missed out on the playoffs last season despite holding a 10-6 record, and they will look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 as they begin their season at home against the San Diego Chargers.
This will be the second game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Cardinals have experienced major losses on defense, including inside linebackers Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby. Washington was suspended for the season for substance abuse while Dansby left for the Cleveland Browns.
Defensive end Darnell Dockett will also miss the season with an ACL tear, and safety Tyrann Mathieu is coming off an ACL tear of his own. To make matters worse, running back Andre Ellington is expected to possibly miss time with a foot injury.
The Chargers will look to carry their rejuvenated offense into 2014 and take advantage of a depleted Cardinals defense.
Quarterback Philip Rivers looked like his old self again with the help of head coach Mike McCoy, and running back Ryan Mathews showed what he can do over a full season if healthy.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen also broke out in his rookie season, and he will continue to be Rivers’ main weapon. He will take on cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is one of the top cover corners in the NFL.
The Chargers defense will have its hands full as it tries to stop wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. The Cardinals’ cornerbacks may also prove to be a challenge for Rivers.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Chargers 24