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Game 2: Cardinals at Patriots

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  September 16, 2012 10:30 AM

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The view from the Gillette Stadium press box before the fans are allowed into the stadium for Sunday's Patriots home opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

FOXBOROUGH -- Good morning from Gillette Stadium as the Patriots get ready to take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 of the regular season, the Patriots' home opener.

The Patriots are the league's best team at home, winning 83 percent (67-13) of their regular season games since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. The team has won 15 of their last 17 home openers and all 10 at Gillette.

Arizona comes into today's game having beaten NFC West rival Seattle 20-16, holding the Seahawks on a pivotal fourth quarter drive in the red zone to win their season opener. Cardinals quarterback John Skelton was injured in the game. He's listed as doubtful. Kevin Kolb replaced Skelton, going 6 of 8 passing for 66 yards and a touchdown. He'll get the start today.

The Patriots come into the game 1-0 after beating the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, 34-13, led by running back Stevan Ridley, who rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries including one touchdown. Tom Brady was 23 of 31 passing for 236 yards and two touchdowns, including scoring strikes to tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

However, the Patriots are a little nicked up. Dan Connolly suffered a head injury against the Titans, having limited participation in Thursday and Friday's practices. If he's unable to go, Donald Thomas will get his snaps at right guard in the starting lineup. He's listed as questionable. Also questionable are RT Sebastian Vollmer (back), who split time with second-year tackle Marcus Cannon. RB Shane Vereen (foot), CB Sterling Moore (knee), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), TE Daniel Feels (shin), and CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring) are all listed as questionable, too.

Safety Patrick Chung is listed as probable with a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.

The series between these two franchises is split right down the middle, with the Patriots and Cardinals each taking six games. However, the last time these two teams played, the Patriots burned Arizona 47-7 at Gillette Stadium in 2008 before the Cardinals advanced to the Super Bowl, a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the only time the two teams had played at Gillette Stadium.

If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick will earn his 194th career victory and move into sole possession of eighth place all time for NFL coaches. He's currently tied with Chuck Knox.

Brady needs 25 yards passing to pass Johnny Unitas (40,239) and move into 13th place all-time passing and he needs 337 yards to pass childhood hero Joe Montana (40,551) to move into 12th place.

Wes Welker needs one catch to pass Patriots hall of fame receiver Troy Brown on the franchise's all-time receptions list. He's currently tied with Brown with 557 catches.

Here are the game's details:

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

Records: Patriots 1-0; Cardinals 1-0.

TV/Radio info: WFXT-TV Ch. 25 (Dick Stockton, John Lynch, Jennifer Hale); 98.5-FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos, Scott Zolak).

Projected starting lineups:
Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injuries for each team.

Patriots offense: WR Wes Welker, LT Nate Solder, LG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell, RG Dan Connolly, RT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandon Lloyd, QB Tom Brady, RB Stevan Ridley, TE Aaron Hernandez.

Patriots defense: NT Vince Wilfork DT Kyle Love, RDE Chandler Jones, LB/DE Ron Ninkovich, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Devin McCourty, CB Kyle Arrington, S Steve Gregory, S Patrick Chung.

Cardinals offense: WR Larry Fitzgerald, LT D'Anthony Batiste, LG Daryn Colledge, C Lyle Sendlein, RG Adam SNyder, RT Bobby Massie, TE Jeff King, WR Andre Roberts, QB Kevin Kolb, RB Beanie Wells, FB Anthony Sherman.

Cardinals defense: DE Calais Campbell, NT Dan Williams, DT Darnell Dockett, ROLB Sam Acho, ILB Paris Lenon, ILB Daryl Washington, LOLB O'Brien Schofield, LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB William Gay, SS Adrian Wilson, FS Kerry Rhodes.

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