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Job auditions Thursday night for Chargers and Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals, 19-13 losers last weekend to the Cincinnati Bengals at home, visit the Chargers tonight in the preseason finale.
The Arizona Cardinals, 19-13 losers last weekend to the Cincinnati Bengals at home, visit the Chargers tonight in the preseason finale.Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals take to the field Thursday evening in Southern California, all that essentially is on the line is who will have a job next week at this time.

With the majority of starters on both teams expected to rest or see little time at all, the preseason finale will feature players from both teams trying to secure their respective spots before the next and final cut that both teams are required to make before Labor Day.

The Chargers (1-2) enter the contest fresh-off their 21-7 loss this past Sunday in San Francisco.

In that contest, starters on both teams saw significant amounts of playing time in what is generally regarded as the most telling game (third game) in each preseason.

San Diego, which opens the regular season ironically enough in Glendale against the Cardinals Sept. 8, opened the preseason with a home win against Dallas, followed by a road loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Arizona faces tough foes in NFC West

Much like the Chargers are expected to have their hands full in the AFC West with both Denver and Kansas City again this season, the Cardinals might have it even tougher in the NFC West, that in having to deal with both the Seahawks and 49ers two times each.

Arizona, also sitting at 1-2 in the preseason, opened exhibition play with a 32-0 win over Houston, followed by back-to-back losses to Minnesota and Cincinnati.

The Cardinals, who finished third in the NFC West a season ago at 10-6, hope veteran quarterback Carson Palmer can continue to evolve in the team's offense, especially with weaponry that includes stellar wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and second-year running back Andre Ellington (652 yards rushing in 2013).

On defense, the team must replace defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who was injured and lost for the season when he tore his ACL in practice earlier this month.

Dockett had successful surgery earlier in the week, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

In one final note, the Chargers noted earlier this week that their Sept. 14 home opener against the Seahawks is sold out.