NFL Game of the Week: Packers vs. Cardinals
Week 8 of the 2021-2022 NFL season will be kicking off with not only one of the best Thursday night matchups of the year, but one of the best matchups of the season as the Green Bay Packers take on the Arizona Cardinals.
After starting the season on a low note in a blowout loss to the Saints, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have looked dominant ever since, winning their sixth straight game Sunday against the Washington Football Team.
Speaking of Rodgers, the reigning MVP is playing at an elite level yet again, throwing 15 touchdowns to just one interception during the Packers winning streak.
His No. 1 target, Davante Adams, has also been on a tear this season, totaling 52 receptions, 744 yards and three touchdowns. However, the big story of this game will be the absence of Adams due to his recent placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The main names to look for while Adams is out are running back Aaron Jones and tight end Robert Tonyan, but don’t be surprised if Marquez Valdes-Scantling makes some plays on Thursday night.
While Aaron Rodgers is the reigning MVP, this year’s frontrunner for the award just so happens to be on the opposing end of this matchup.
Kyler Murray is playing out of his mind at the moment, taking a third-year leap similar to the one Josh Allen had last season.
Murray currently has 2,002 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions while also rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns, establishing himself as one of the most dangerous football players in the league and giving the Cardinals a 7-0 start to the season, leaving them as the last remaining team without a loss.
The Cardinals also possess one of the best receivers in the NFL in Deandre Hopkins, who will be available for this game unlike Adams. Hopkins is currently averaging a touchdown per game, leaving him tied for the second most in the league with Mike Evans and trailing just Cooper Kupp for the top spot.
The Cardinals success, though, has not hinged on the prolific offense, as the defensive unit has been one of the league’s best under coordinator Vance Joseph.
Returning players such as second-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons and third-year cornerback Byron Murphy have made major strides this season, while free agent addition J.J. Watt has been wreaking havoc on the defensive line, even though his sack numbers aren’t where they usually are.
Star edge rusher Chandler Jones, who missed last week’s game due to COVID-19, will be returning on Thursday and should look to continue his dominant season as well.
While the Packers have been an elite team so far this season, the loss of Adams could prove to be too much to overcome against the league’s best team, but Rodgers has done crazier things in his career.
Jakob Schnur is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Second-Year / Broadcast Journalism