On the surface, the first ‘Sunday Night Football’ matchup of the 2016 NFL season pits two of last year’s conference championship participants against each other when the Arizona Cardinals host the New England Patriots.
But that’s not quite the entire story.
The Cards are, for the most part, the same team that was one game away from the Super Bowl last year, but the Pats will be a minor-league version of themselves. Tom Brady is suspended. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, left tackle Nate Solder and right guard Jonathan Cooper have all been ruled out with injuries. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and electric running back Dion Lewis are beginning the season on the PUP list.
In other words, Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first career NFL start on the road behind a make-shift offensive line against one of the most aggressive defenses in the league.
It’s no surprise the Cardinals are heavy favorites, but NFL fans know by now to never count out a Bill Belichick team.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch:
Patriots vs. Cardinals Week 1 Viewing Info
Date: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra or Sling TV in select markets You can click here for a complete rundown of all the live stream options
Line: Cardinals (-7), per OddsShark; You can click here for a preview and pick against the spread