The St. Louis Rams have spent the entire offseason building up expectations for the 2011 season. Sam Bradford's encore! Josh McDaniels's return to offensive coordinating! Robert Quinn and Chris Long anchoring the defensive line! Steven Jackson's even got backup, for once! At the time they didn't quite realize the magnitude of the Philadelphia Eagles' free agent binge. Now they've drawn the Super Bowl favorites in Week 1. The Edward Jones Dome will be as echoey as it's been since Kurt Warner left when it comes time to toss the coin; it's up to the Rams to ensure it's still buzzing at halftime.
Sam Bradford's strong preseason performance—and the idea that McDaniels's, the Rams' latest mad scientist, has left something in reserve for the regular season—mean the Rams' offensive chops aren't in question ahead of Sunday's opener. But the Eagles' supercharged offense, still helmed by Mike Vick, will test Steve Spagnuolo's defense, which has to prove it's for real after a strong 2010.
Six months of Bradford-induced excitement will be put to the test Sunday at 12:00 central.