PHOENIX, AZ - The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a 17-0 shut-out win over the Green Bay Packers last Friday night at Lambeau Field.
This week, the Red Birds will host the Dallas Cowboys for the team's first preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium.
WATCH THE GAME SATURDAY ONLY ON ABC15. COVERAGE STARTS AT 1 PM, AND THE GAME BEGINS AT 1:30 PM.
New Coach Bruce Arians is off to a 1-0 start, while new quarterback, Carson Palmer showed he can still throw the ball down field. Palmer finished Fridays' game against the Packers with 77 yards and one touchdown. Not bad for just nine plays and three series.
The Cardinals' defense held the Packers scoreless, while finishing with three sacks, 1 interception and 1 tackle for loss.
This week, expect the starters to play between fifteen and twenty plays as Arians tries to get them a little more playing time than in week one. With kick-off scheduled for 1:30 p.m., it'll feel more like a regular season game than a preseason game. And of course, with the Cowboys in town, you can expect a pretty good representation from Cowboy fans.
If you're wondering what to watch for this weekend, keep your eye on the Cardinals' running game. At this point, the team has just two running backs available for Saturdays' game: rookie Stepfan Taylor and fourth year veteran Alfonso Smith.
That alone is worth watching, but given the injury to guard Daryn Colledge, you may want to focus in on the offensive line to see who stands out. According to coach Arians, there's plenty of competition at guard and tackle. "We're solidifying the line without Colledge pretty good right now. Hopefully Daryn can get back out there. There's competition now."
On defense, watch for newcomer John Abraham, the 14-year veteran is adding a pass rush threat to the Cardinals defense and even after more than a decade, Abraham still looks extremely quick.
The "honey badger" Tyrann Mathieu is still drawing plenty of attention from around the league and across the country. Mathieu finished last week's game against the Packers with four tackles and continues to shine in practice.
In the kicking game, there's some concern that Jay Feely is struggling. He missed a long field goal try against Green Bay and it seems to have coach Arians concerned. He told me after the game, "I'm not happy with the errors in the kicking game. To miss two field goals is unacceptable." Again, just another part of the team to keep in mind!
In terms of the Cowboys, they're now 1-1 in the preseason, but quarterback Tony Romo seems to be progressing after having a cyst removed from his back in May. Romo and the rest of the big name starters finally got in some playing time against the Raiders this past week so expect to see Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarcus Ware working for about 20 plays, much like the Cardinals' starters plan to do.
Dallas always has a huge fan base when they travel so you can expect to hear cheering from both sides throughout the game. Expect Bryant to be the Cowboys' number one receiver this season. He had three catches for 55 yards on a drive against the Raiders and according to reports, he's dominating in practice sessions.
On defense, DeMarcus Ware has been moved from linebacker to rush end, so he could see career high sacks this season.
The important thing to remember is that this is a preseason game and winning at this time of the year just isn't all that important. Even though coach Arians says, "We want to win every game we play," the most important thing right now is to find out where your depth is so you can make cuts at the beginning of September. While a win over the Cowboys is always nice, getting in some good, solid work with your starters and then letting the younger guys play is even more so.
Off the field, the Cowboys got final approval today that will end four decades in Irving and move the team's training facility to Frisco, Texas, another suburb of Dallas.
The Frisco City Council approved a $115 million agreement to build the complex about 30 miles north of Dallas. The complex will include an indoor stadium and new headquarters for the team.
The local school district is contributing about $30 million so its high schools can play their games in the new stadium.
Frisco officials want to have the facility ready for the 2016 season.
"We're pleased of course with what they've done so far in the meetings," Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones said before the school board vote. "It's a plus."