After a strong start to the 2012 season, the New England Patriots will try and build on their opening 34-13 victory over the Titans today against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Patriots home opener kicks off at 1pm eastern time. Keep it here for all the updates leading up to the game: inactives, injuries, analysis and more.
8:30am – Two great links to start off your Patriots gameday morning: 10 Keys to the Patriots vs Cardinals game from our very own Matthew Jones, and Mike Reiss’ quick hit thoughts on the NFL and Patriots – one of our favorite columns every Sunday morning.
8:45am – The Cardinals offensive line is one of the more porous in the NFL – look for Chandler Jones, Vince Wilfork and the rest of the Patriots front seven to have another big day.
8:50am – The Patriots have two big, fast and physical wide receivers to deal with in Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd, but don’t forget about Andre Roberts – he is sneakily becoming a consistent performer.
9:10am – AFC East update: The Bills are already facing a must-win game for their fans. After losing badly to the Jets last week, they need to get a win today against the Chiefs. That game also kicks off at 1pm. The Jets play the Steelers at 4:25pm, while the Dolphins have the Raiders at 1pm.
9:50am – It will be interesting to see how Wes Welker is used today. Will he bounce back from last week’s low output, or will the offense continue to focus elsewhere?
10:05am – Today’s head referee is David Scott who refereed the New Orleans Saints-Washington Redskins game last week. During that game 24 penalties were called for a total of 234 yards. The penalty situation will be something to watch this week. The Redskins-Saints game was also one of the longest played games Week 1, so how the refs keep up with the Patriots speed of play is worth watching as well.
10:20am – With inactives due out in just over an hour the key name to keep an eye on for the Patriots is OG Dan Connolly. He is currently listed as questionable due to a concussion. If Connolly is unable to go, look for Donald Thomas to start at RG. Marcus Cannon could see time there as well, just like he did at the end of the Titans game. Other names to look for – Sterling Moore (Ques), Shane Vereen (Ques), Sebastian Vollmer (Ques) and Daniel Fells (Ques).
On the other side of the field CB Patrick Peterson and SS Adrian Wilson are both listed as Questionable, but both are expected to play. If either are unable to play it would be a huge loss for the Cardinals and their hopes to upset the Patriots.
10:45am – One side story to watch this week is the return of former Safety James Sanders who signed with Arizona this off-season. Sanders was an underrated player during his time in New England and was a surprise cut during training camp last year. The move turned out to bite the Pats in the behind, because they have a tough time filling his position last season. Keep an eye on Sanders today who will be wearing jersey #39.
Other former Patriots on the Cardinals roster are OG Rich Ohrnberger and Paris Lenon who spent one training camp in New England.
11:30am – The Arizona Cardinals Inactives are – WR LaRon Byrd, QB John Skelton, RB William Powell, OT Pat McQuistan, LB Jamaal Westerman, OG Senio Kelemete, TE Jim Dray.
Patrick Peterson is up for the Cardinals.
11:35am – The Patriots Inactives – RB Shane Vereen, DE Justin Francis, DT Marcus Forston, WR Greg Salas, DE Jake Bequette, CB Alfonzo Dennard and TE Daniel Fells.
That means that OG Dan Connolly is active as well as Sebastian Vollmer. With Vereen inactive again Brandon Bolden should handle the backup RB duties. Greg Salas was active last week and did not play, this week he is inactive.
11:55am – The Patriots are going to be wearing their blue home jerseys with silver pants. Game time temperature should be in the sixties with winds under 10 MPH. Great weather for scoring.
12:25pm – With Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer and Nick McDonald all active today, the Patriots have one additional lineman available in case of injury. It will be interesting to see if Vollmer and Marcus Cannon continue to rotate at right tackle.
12:30pm – According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, right guard Donald Thomas is working with the starters in warmups.