Cardinals vs. Ravens: Players to Watch


With the Arizona Cardinals coming off a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they will be looking to get back on track as they head into their Monday Night Football matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens are off to one of their worst starts, with a 1-5 record. They want to get back to winning, as they face the Cardinals in a primetime game.

We all know of what a threat Larry Fitzgerald is, how Carson Palmer can thread passes through any defense, or the arm that Joe Flacco has.

Drew Butler:

Yes, I did just name a punter as a player to watch, but he needs to be watched.

The Arizona Cardinals undrafted punter out of Georgia became the Cardinals starting punter after former Cardinal Dave Zastudil injured his groin last season. Then this season Butler beat out Zastudil for the job in training camp but has seemed to lose his power as the season has gone on.

In 2014, Butler started 15 of the 17 games that Cardinals played, averaging 42.1 yards per punt and a long of 67. He looked to be an excellent replacement for Zastudil who had averaged 44.3 and a long of 53 in 2014, but heading into Week 7 fans are starting to regret the decision to start Butler.

This season has been rough for Butler in 21 punts he has an average of 39.2 yards and a long of only 49. Butler will need to improve and improve fast; even adding just two or three yards per punt can make or break a game. It can be the difference between pinning the Ravens deep or have them start at the 20 or 30.

Look for Butler, if even needed to, to put a charge into the ball. He needs to prove himself in order to stay relevant on this Cardinals’ team.

Tyrann Mathieu:

Ok, so we all know what the “Honey Badger” can do, but he is still important to this game.

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Tyrann Mathieu has played one of his best seasons, already having two interceptions in the first six games.

He is not the biggest guy on the field, but he can disrupt quarterbacks and wide receivers like no one’s business.

Mathieu seemed to be affected by the crowd in last week’s loss to the Steelers including dropping an interception. It was an exceptional game for Mathieu, but he will need to be focused as the Cardinals host the Ravens.

After two seasons of injuries, 2015 looks to be Mathieu’s year. In the first six games, he not only has two interceptions but also has seven pass deflections and one forced fumble. Mathieu will need to be able to cover well as Joe Flacco has one of the best arms, and will try to use it often. Look for Mathieu to reward the team and fans with at least one interception.

Elvis Dumervil:

When former Arizona State Sun Devil, Terrell Suggs went down for the year someone had to step up. For the Ravens it was Elvis Dumervil, the Denver Broncos’ fourth-round pick in 2006, who took on that challenge.

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Dumervil is now the Ravens’ best pass rusher with 2.5 sacks. He is a microcosm of Baltimore’s season so far. After 17 sacks last season, Dumervil has looked off at times.

In this game, his job will be to put the heat on Palmer and force him to throw in stressful situations. If Dumervil is unable to put pressure on Palmer, the Cardinals’ quarterback will put up monster numbers because of the lack of talent in the secondary.

Look for Dumervil to put the heat on early and often, to try to will his team to their second win of the season.

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