Coming into the 2019 season, the Arizona Cardinals appeared to have a very tough schedule, at least in terms of opposing quarterbacks. They, of course, must face Jared Goff and Russell Wilson twice each, as they are in the NFC West, but they also were slated to face quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.
Because of injuries suffered in Week 2, the Cardinals’ schedule appears to have gotten a little lighter.
Roethlisberger is done for the year after needing elbow surgery. The Cardinals will host the Steelers in December. What initially looked like a very difficult game now looks much more winnable, as the Steelers will have Mason Rudolph as their starting quarterback.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees injured his right thumb on Sunday and it will require surgery to repair it. The initial timeline is he should miss about six weeks.
The Cardinals face the Saints on the road in Week 8, which would be the sixth week out for Brees. It is very possible he will not be able to play, meaning a game that most probably counted as a sure loss (on the road in New Orleans) now is much more winnable with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
These are exactly the sort of games the Cardinals should take advantage of as they make their way through the 2019 schedule. Winning one or both of those games could go a long way toward keeping them relevant in any potential postseason picture they hope to be a part of.
The Cardinals were unable to escape Baltimore with their first victory of the young season, but there were plenty of performances by individual players to get excited about. The wide receiver corps as a whole looks like a far cry from the poor performances we saw put on last season. There were also a couple of defensive standouts as well. Let’s take a look at a few names below and vote on who your player of the game was.
Larry Fitzgerald: The G.O.A.T. was at it again. At 36 years of age, Fitz can still do it all, including finding ways to get open down the field for big chunk plays. Overall, he had 5 catches for 104 yards on 11 targets, including one really slick one handed catch in the first half.
Christian Kirk: Fitz’s counterpart was also really good. Kirk, the second year receiver, got a chance to show off his speed on a couple of flare passes to get him out on the perimeter where he is able to do the most damage to the defense. Kliff Kingsbury found better ways to get him open this week as opposed to week one against the Lions, which was nice to see.
Damiere Byrd: How clutch was Byrd? He had two monstrous catches for first downs, including one on a 4th-and-1 play on a quick slant route. We knew that his speed was going to be a big asset to this air raid offense, but his hands have been incredibly solid as well and it is becoming easier and easier to see why he made the roster out of training camp.
Corey Peters: Peters was probably the most dominant Arizona Cardinal defender on Sunday. He had one of the mere two sacks the Cardinals were able to get on Lamar Jackson, but he was also able to frequently get push up the middle to blow up Baltimore running plays. The veteran defensive tackle is as solid as they come, but he appeared to be one of the few front seven players that showed up to play.
Kyler Murray: The rookie sensation continues to impress more and more each week. He threw for 350 yards in the air and looked composed throughout the game. The downside was that he did not throw for a touchdown pass, but he made some great plays (including a couple of scary ones where he threw off his back foot) to help the Cardinals make it a close game in the fourth quarter. Once the offense figures out how they want to handle red zone opportunities, Kyler is only going to become more potent.
So, who was your player of the game? Let us know in the comments below!