The first test for the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots will be a trip down to the desert to take on the Arizona Cardinals, which could be a Super Bowl LI preview. The Patriots will also be without Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski who did not make the trip to Arizona due to a hamstring injury he suffered during training camp.
The team will also be missing a few key personnel on their offensive line. With that being said, it could be a long night down in the desert for the Patriots. However, I still believe that they are still capable of putting up a fight against the high-powered Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals come into this matchup seeking to get that bad taste out of their mouths when they were on the receiving end of a 49-15 beatdown by the Carolina Panthers in last year’s NFC Championship Game. Another interesting storyline in this matchup is linebacker Chandler Jones going up against his former team the Patriots in this contest.
Due to the Patriots missing a few personnel from their offensive line, Jones could end up having a field day taking down starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Cardinals signal caller Carson Palmer cannot have a repeat performance of the NFC Championship Game in this contest.
For those that do not remember, Palmer was a turnover machine in the Cardinals embarrassing loss to the Panthers last season. The Patriots have the secondary that is capable of giving the Carson Palmer, and the rest of the Cardinals offense fits during this ball game.
My final prediction for this contest is that the Patriots keep it close, but the Cardinals will walk away with the victory. The Patriots are not having “Gronk” and a depleted offensive line will cause them to lose this football game.