If you've been around Revenge of the Birds since the last offseason, then you'll remember when I boldly predicted the Arizona Cardinals record in four segments. I ended the last segment predicting a 10-6 record(waits for applause) and I'll attempt to do the same thing this year. This time, I'll break the posts up into eight segments.
Week 1 - At St. Louis Rams
Offseason Analysis: The Rams have spent the 2010 offseason trying to find an identity for their team. They had a very good draft and may have found their quarterback of the future in Bradford. They added an offensive tackle for his protection and head coach Steve Spagnola brought in three former Giants to add leadership to the team.
Season Outlook: Although they've tried to instill change in St. Louis, they can expect another losing season in 2010. With a rookie at quarterback and virtually no weapons outside Steven Jackson on offense, they'll struggle to put points on the board. Their defense did get a lot younger but with the possible loss of safety O.J. Atogwe, they'll have no playmakers on defense.
Key Match-Up: Steven Jackson vs Gerald Hayes - Last year Jackson ran for over 100 yards against the Cardinals - something he had struggled to do for most of his career. The Cardinals best run-stopper is Gerald Hayes and the one on one match up between him and Jackson will be important to watch for.
Prediction: Win - The Cardinals will open the 2010 season with a win on the road. The Rams don't have enough firepower to compete with the Cardinals offense. Matt Leinart will get the chance to begin the season with a win while the Cardinals defense will feast on the rookie quarterback's first NFL start.
Week 2 - At Atlanta Falcons
Offseason Analysis: The Falcons had one of the quietest offseasons in the NFL this year when their biggest move was signing free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson early. They shuffled some depth at defensive back and were able to land a very good lnside linebacker in Sean Weatherspoon in the draft. Whether they did enough to address issues at other positions, will be determined once the season begins.
Season Outlook: The Falcons are in position to compete for the NFC South crown, but still have some concerns throughout the roster. Matt Ryan is entering his third year and still has weapons around him to put points on the board, but their defense needs to be able to hold opponents at bay. If they can get the most out of their aging veterans then the Falcons will be a tough opponent for teams in 2010.
Key Match-Up: Dunta Robinson vs Larry Fitzgerald - The last time these two teams met, it was in the playoffs in 2008. That game, Fitzgerald ran wild and blew past just about every member of the secondary to catch an early flea flicker touchdown pass. The Falcons added Robinson to become their primary cornerback, and Fitzgerald will be his first big test of the season.
Prediction: Win - This game can go either way but until the Falcons prove to be that same team that made the playoffs in 2008, I'm hesitant to give them the win. The Cardinals should be coming off a road win in St. Louis and impose match up problems to most of Atlanta's defense.
Arizona Cardinals record after two games: 2-0
Although it may seem biased, I see the Cardinals winning their first two games of the season on the road. They should take care of business in St. Louis and travel to Atlanta for a tough road game. Starting 2-0 will be pivotal with their match-ups approaching in the coming weeks. What is your prediction after two weeks?