GLENDALE (AZ) -- Arizona's Kyler Murphy has emerged as one of the NFL’s most exciting quarterbacks. He scurries around in the pocket trying to avoid potential tacklers and finishes with stunning throws downfield.
This sounds a lot like Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
Murray, who is 14 years older than Rodgers, has taken parts of his game from Rodgers. The Cardinals will host the Packers on Thursday night, and the two MVP candidates for early season will be on the field together.
Murray stated, "He's probably the best quarterback I watch -- his swag and the way he plays football, his career." His game is something I admire greatly. It was my first time meeting him and playing against him.
"It's cool. I look forward to it."
The Cardinals are now 7-0, their first win since 1974. They're trying to break the franchise record for wins to begin a season. Green Bay (6-1) was a stumbling team in the season opener but has won six consecutive games. Rodgers has been rolling throughout the six-game stretch throwing 15 touchdowns, and one interception.
Murray received many compliments from Rodgers. He acknowledged that there are still playoff vibes even though it is only Week 8.
Rodgers stated, "We are aware of that." "A lot of the time, when you don't play a division opponent, it comes down to tiebreakers such as this. Although there is still plenty of football to be played and lots that can happen with momentum and how teams play, this tiebreaker is crucial.
COVID-19 ISSUES AT GREEN BAY
Green Bay will likely play this game without Allen Lazard and Davante Adams, who were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 lists this week. Adams is tied for second place in the NFL in catches (52), and third in yards received (744).
Green Bay's coaching staff has also been affected by the virus. Joe Barry, the defensive coordinator, was positive for the virus this week. He will not be available on Thursday.
Arizona can relate. The Cardinals are still recovering from a virus outbreak. Over the past two weeks, Coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterbacks coach Cam Turner as well as edge rusher Chandler Jones, defensive linemen Zach Allen, and Corey Peters, have all been out of action. Peters is the only one who has not returned.
The Cardinals overcame the COVID-19 hurdles and beat Houston and Cleveland. Arizona believes Green Bay will show similar resilience.
Zaven Collins, a rookie Cardinals linebacker, stated that it is impossible to count out teams at the NFL level if someone isn't on the field. "Adams and Lazard are both great players. However, there isn't usually a huge drop-off when a backup is in. This is something that you need to consider. This might not be the case.
Also, the Cardinals are missing some star power. After not practicing throughout the week, defensive end J.J. Watt (shoulder), was ruled out of Wednesday's game. He'll miss his first game of the season.
Kingsbury is well-known for his air raid-style passing style, but the Cardinals' running game ranks fifth in the NFL this year.
The star duo of Chase Edmonds & James Conner did most of the work. Their contrasting styles made them a great fit together. Edmonds is more speedy and can catch passes from the backfield. Conner's bulldog style is the team's preferred option for short yardage or goal-line situations.
Edmonds averages nearly 6 yards per run and has caught 27 passes. Conner has 89 runs for 336 yards with six touchdowns.
TEXANS ARE ALL OVER THE PLANET
There are many notable players who have played for the Houston Texans in recent years.
After a Houston trade, DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals' star receiver, arrived in Arizona last year. After spending his entire career with Houston, J.J. Watt was an outside linebacker who joined the Cardinals through free agency.
Randall Cobb, Packers wide receiver, spent one season last year with the Texans before being re-acquired by the Packers at training camp. Whitney Mercilus, an outside linebacker, joined the Packers last week following his release by the Texans.
Houston has decimated its roster in recent years as it attempts to rebuild. The Texans are currently at 1-6 and were defeated 31-5 by the Cardinals last week.
ARIZONA'S NEW PLAYMAKER
Zach Ertz, tight end for the Cardinals, made a great debut last week. He caught three passes for 66 yards in a win over Texas.
Arizona acquired Ertz from Eagles after Maxx Williams, who was injured in the knee, was out of the game. Ertz, 30, is a three time Pro Bowl selection. This makes the Cardinals' offense more diverse.
Ertz made his debut with the Cardinals by making a one-handed grab across the middle. He also scored on a 47 yard touchdown, which was his longest score of his career.