Last year Kirk Cousins became a hot button topic in the NFL for the way he took over the reigns from Robert Griffin III in Washington. The former Michigan State Spartan played so well that the franchise jettisoned their former first round pick and gave Cousins a huge amount of money using the franchise tag. This season he has shown his numbers last year were no fluke. The Cardinals hope to avoid giving Cousins more ammunition into his offseason contract discussions.
Keeping Washington Honest
This season Kirk Cousins has a grand total of six games where he has thrown for over 300 yards and he has done so with one of the deepest receiving corps in the game of football right now. The Cardinals on the other hand are just one of three defenses in the league this year that have not given up a 300 yard passer this year. Going into the game however, the Redskins will be without tight end Jordan Reed due to a shoulder injury. Reed this season leads the team in receptions at 59 and is third on the team in yards with 630 so far this year. His ability as a deep threat are matched only by his talent in the redzone as he has collected 5 touchdowns on the year with a lot of those coming from intermediate routes in the middle of the field. The hope for Washington is that they will get at least somewhat similar results from Vernon Davis who has done well as the second tight end this year. He does not have the same speed however as Reed, which will be a saving grace for Arizona in the deep middle of the field.
Honey Badger Still Hurting
The rumor mill has it that Tyrann Mathieu is set to miss another game this season with a shoulder injury. The year has not been kind to the former LSU star as he was in a grueling rehab to start the year off after yet another knee injury he suffered last season. Now his shoulder has forced him out of games multiple times already this year with the potential that the team’s brass may just put him on the shelf if the team doesn’t put itself into a decent playoff position. The good news on the safety front however is that Tyvon Branch has been activated finally for the Injured Reserve designation and could see action relatively soon. If both he and Mathieu get healthy at the same time, the number one defensive unit in the league could get shockingly better come the final stretch of the year. As for now, D.J. Swearinger will need to step up his game this week with Washington being a team that loves to attack the deep middle of the field with their receivers in DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder.
Finding More Patches For the Line
Arizona’s offensive line may just be the single worst line in the NFL today. The only saving grace for this unit in that competition has been the play of the Cleveland Browns over the course of the last three weeks. Carson Palmer has been picking out pieces of dirt and flicking beads of turf out of his face mask all season long. Last week, only Mike Iupati and A.J. Shipley remained in the same spots on the line that they started the season on. Meanwhile you had two players who were on the bench at the start of the year and you also had last year’s first round pick D.J. Humphries move over to left tackle even though he never played that position prior to last week or last year where he didn’t play a down in his rookie campaign. The only hope right now for Arizona is for some kind of fast paced melding of the minds on that line so that everyone knows who needs help in what situations and where each blocker is supposed to go. Palmer can only hope to at least have enough time to read through the first part of his routes, because getting to the second and third reads might be all but impossible before he’ll have to scramble for his life.
Prediction: Washington – 28 Arizona – 12
Be sure to catch the game at 2:25 PM on FOX when the game kicks off from University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday.