5 Arizona Cardinals Players Who Will Shine In Week 2
5 Cardinals Who Will Shine Week 2
The Arizona Cardinals were close to starting their 2013 season on the right note as they narrowly lost to the St. Louis Rams in Week 1. The Cardinals did prove, however, they finally have a capable quarterback under center, which helped their offensive effort last week and will continue to do so throughout the year.
The Cardinals did start the season hot last year because of their defense, and once again this year they should have a top-10 defense as long as players perform as expected. The defense did give up 27 points to the Rams last week, which should be frowned upon, but considering they have almost the whole unit from last season back, I fully expect them to perform better against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.
Last week, it was the Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer show as the two hooked up eight times for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Both shone last week, and in-order to beat the Lions this week they will be relied upon to do the same, but the real question is will they shine against a Lions' defense that has forced four turnovers so far this season.
The former LSU standout Tyrann Mathieu also made an impact last week as he accumulated seven tackles in limited time and even showed his work ethic as he hustled down the field late in the game to force a fumble instead of giving up a touchdown. Although seeing time mostly in the dime and nickel formations, Mathieu should have another big game this week as he is a proven ball hawk who hits big and is always hustling.
To see the other four players who are expected to shine on the field against the Lions simply go to the next slide.
No. 5 Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer has been a solid and consistent quarterback since his days with the Cincinnati Bengals in the early-2000s. Palmer now has Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd at his disposal through the passing game which is leading me to predict Palmer passes for over 4,000 yards again this year. He threw for over 300 and two touchdowns in Week 1, and against a Lions defense that specializes in stopping the run, Palmer will be able to throw for another 300 yards if he is able to get protection from his offensive line.
No. 4 Tyrann Mathieu
As it was already stated, Tyrann Mathieu stepped up in Week 1 and forced a fumble as well as recorded seven total tackles. Mathieu is developing into the steal of the draft as his off-field issues caused him to drop to the Cardinals in the third round of this past draft. Although he isn’t starting just yet, it appears he has the talent and motor to be an every-down player and the coaching staff just wants to ease him into a key role. Mathieu can be counted on to be all over the field on Sunday either making tackles or breaking up passes. He reads the quarterback better than many rookie defensive backs and has shown his increased speed as well this season, which is why he is a player to keep an eye on.
No. 3 Patrick Peterson
Patrick Peterson played with Mathieu at LSU for one season, and now that the two are on the same team again, they could become a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Peterson is the team’s premier cornerback, which means he will be matching up with the ever-imposing Calvin Johnson. It will be Peterson’s job to limit Johnson’s effectiveness in the passing game, and even though he will receive help from various teammates throughout the game, it will ultimately be his responsibility to stop the physical wide out.
No. 2 Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd had a relatively quiet rookie season catching 45 total passes for just over 500 yards in 2012. Through one game this season, however, Floyd has four catches for an impressive 82 yards. Floyd came up big against the Rams with a deep 44-yard acrobatic catch, and now that he has shown his new quarterback his skill, I expect Palmer to be looking his way more often. Floyd also has the benefit of playing opposite of Fitzgerald, who will routinely command double-teams which will allow for Floyd to flourish, which is something that will continue into Week 2.
No. 1 Larry Fitzgerald
This listing of Cardinals players expected to shine would hardly be complete without the threatening Larry Fitzgerald on it. Fitz has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since his second season in the league back in 2005. Fitz struggled from spotty quarterback play last season as the team shuffled three different players at the position, but he was ultimately able to accumulate nearly 800 yards receiving on 71 receptions. Week 1 proved to fans Palmer and Fitzgerald can work together as the two combined for eight hook-ups, and now in Week 2, against a questionable Lions secondary, Fitzgerald should be expected to go off for his first 100-yard receiving game in 2013.