The Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins will get their 2018 campaigns started with a Week 1 contest at Arizona’s University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Washington has revamped its team as it looks to win a playoff game for the first time since 2005. The Cardinals are coming off consecutive mediocre seasons (7-8-1 followed by 8-8).
This isn’t Adrian Peterson’s first rodeo in terms of joining a new team without much room to spare before diving headfirst into game action. He latched on with the Saints shortly before the 2017 season after being a long-time member of the Vikings. New Orleans promptly traded him to Arizona five weeks into last year. Now he is with the Redskins, who signed him two weeks ago and will have him on the field as their starting running back for Week 1 on Sunday.
“Based on how that season went, being in Arizona on a Tuesday and playing and starting Sunday, it gave me a good feel coming in,” Peterson explained. “I had the training camp in New Orleans, so that’s a little different (in Washington), not having any kind of training camp or anything like that, or OTAs. But I feel like I’ve adjusted well so far.”
Washington’s new-look offense also features a new quarterback in Alex Smith, as Kirk Cousins is now with Peterson’s first team–the Vikings.
“I don’t think necessarily playing however many more (preseason) snaps come opener necessarily makes that big of a difference at this point in my career,” said Smith, who played sparingly at most with his new team during preseason action. “I think we’ve gotten great work in camp. From day one, there’s been a sense of urgency every day.”
Chip on Johnson’s shoulder
Cardinals’ running back David Johnson missed basically all of last season with a fractured wrist. Thus he was unable to build on a 2017 campaign in which he rushed for 1,239 yards, caught 80 passes for 879 more yards, and led the NFL with 20 total touchdowns. Now Johnson is back, ready to go, and surely to feature as the focal point of first-year head coach Steve Wilks’ offense. Wilks has indicated that the majority of the Cardinals’ offense will run straight through Johnson. In offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s system, Arizona will rely heavily on a power running game–featuring Johnson, of course–and he will also catch plenty of passes. by running wheel routes and screens via play-action calls.
“Yeah, he’s pretty impressive,” quarterback Sam Bradford said of Johnson. “Watching him run routes, I think he might be one of our best route runners, regardless of position. He’s just so smooth. He is so versatile as a running back, that’s there so much–almost anything–you can do with him. We just have to find ways to give him opportunities.”
The Arizona Cardinals are:
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last six home games
- 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games on grass
- 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home games against Washington
The Washington Redskins are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games
- 0-5 ATS in their last five Week 1 games
- 4-0 Under in their last five overal