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Arizona Cardinals Open Season Against New England Patriots Sunday

Published: Friday, September 9, 2016 - 2:17pm

The Arizona Cardinals begin the NFL regular season at home hosting the New England Patriots on Sunday night in a game featuring last year’s conference runner-ups.

Considered a Super Bowl contender again this season, the Cardinals need to stay healthy.

Nearly nine months after he tore a knee ligament and underwent surgery for the second time in three seasons, star safety Tyrann Mathieu is back and ready to go, despite only light work in the pre-season.

“If I’m out there, I’m going to make some plays. I just want to be prepared mentally — physically I’m alright. So, we’ll see how it goes," said Mathieu.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Mathieu will play every down against the Patriots. Mathieu, known as the "Honey Badger" to his legion of fans, didn't play at all in any preseason games.

Meanwhile, New England will be playing the game without suspended star quarterback Tom Brady. Kickoff is 5:30 on Sunday evening in Glendale.