NFL on Sling TV: The Patriots, Without Brady, Face the Cardinals on NBC; FOX Regional Action

Sep 11, 2016 by Sling Staff

(All times Eastern)

New England Patriots (0-0) vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-0)
8:30pm ET Sunday on NBC

The last time Tom Brady didn’t start the first game of the season for the New England Patriots was September 23, 2001. This year, however, will start with Jimmy Garoppolo lining up over the center, thanks to Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension (here’s this if you’re counting down the days) for allegedly ordering footballs to be deflated below the league mandated minimum, an infraction that the rule says warrants a $25,000 fine. Prevailing wisdom among Pats fans is that the team just needs to go 2-2 under Garoppolo, and they can still make the playoffs without too much sweat. Last year they made it to the AFC Championship game before running into the human buzzsaw that was Von Miller, who intercepted a pass, made 2.5 sacks and generally pestered Brady into an ugly 27-of-56 day with 2 INTs and 4 sacks total. The last time the Pats went an extended period without Brady in 2008, the offense was very different, a wide open, high flying affair that featured Randy Moss stretching the field. Those days are over, however, as the Pats offense is all about precision timing on short routes underneath – a much harder system for an inexperienced passer like Garoppolo. If they do go 2-2, it’ll be a blessing. The Pats have said goodbye to yet another coterie of veterans, as two-time All Pro selection Jerod Mayo retired, and Chandler Jones got traded to Arizona, but Bill Belichick has led the team to 13 playoff appearances over the last 15 years, all while saying goodbye to dozens of good to great players. This year should be no different, especially given that they still play in the AFC East

Last season was the winningest in Cardinals history, as the team went 13-3, riding the rocket arm of Carson Palmer all the way to the NFC championship game, where they got smoked by Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, 49-15. Palmer, who was coming back from a torn ACL that limited him to 6 games in 2014, had the best season of his life at age 36, with career-best marks in yards, TDs, interception percentage, yards per attempt and yards per catch, QBR… even game-winning drives. The Cardinals seems fairly certain he can do it again, as they signed him in August to a one-year extension for $24.35 million, and just as important to the Cardinals success is future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald, who also signed a one-year extension. The Cards also spent so money on their O-line, bringing in free agent Evan Mathis who was a member of the Super Bowl champion Broncos. On the other side of the ball they brought in Pro Bowler Chandler Jones, whose ticket out of New England was likely punched in mid January when he walked into the police station in Foxborough, Massachusetts, asking for help while in the throes of a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana. Best of luck, fellas.

The Cardinals have a huge advantage in experience at QB in this one, but who knows what Garoppolo can bring to the table, and Palmer is 0-4 lifetime against the Patriots. Until he beats New England, there’s no reason to believe he can.

Here’s FOX’s lineup of games:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-0)
Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX

Chicago Bears (0-0) vs. Houston Texans (0-0)
Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX

Green Bay Packers (0-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX

Oakland Raiders (0-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX

Minnesota Vikings (0-0) vs. Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX

New York Giants (0-0) vs. Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Sunday at 4:25pm ET on FOX

Detroit Lions (0-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Sunday at 4:25pm ET on FOX

FOX and NBC available to Sling Blue subscribers in select markets.

All stats courtesy ESPN and Pro Football Reference.

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