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Kyler Murray Ready For His Chance As Cardinals QB Against Packers

Team will be Watt-less in primetime Thursday matchup

Quarterback Kyler Murray plays against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers for the first time on Thursday.
Quarterback Kyler Murray plays against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers for the first time on Thursday.

Over the years, Cardinals quarterbacks have had some memorable games against the Packers.

Kurt Warner completed 87.8 percent of his passes for 379 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions – with a 154.1 passer rating – in a 2009 Wild Card overtime victory. Carson Palmer threw for 349 yards and three touchdowns in a 2015 Divisional playoff game, capping overtime by connecting with Larry Fitzgerald for the winning touchdown. Josh Rosen did not have eye-popping stats in the 2018 Week 13 contest but found Fitzgerald for a 32-yard completion on third-and-23, setting up the winning field goal in Green Bay.

It's Kyler Murray's turn.

The undefeated Cardinals suffered a blow this week in losing defensive lineman J.J. Watt to a shoulder injury -- reports say he likely is lost for the season -- but they still have their dynamic QB.

Murray has made plays all season. On Thursday night primetime football, Murray gets his crack at the Packers (6-1) – winners of five straight and tie the Bucs and Rams for the second-best record in the NFC. Another impressive performance against an elite team will only strengthen his case for league MVP.

Murray understands the hype going into Thursday. According to NFL Research, it's the best combined-win percentage for a Thursday game in October or later since 1934. The Cardinals are also trying to start a season 8-0 for the first time in franchise history.

Murray downplays it all, although he looks forward to his first battle with Rodgers.

"I don't make it too much," Murray said. "It's a primetime game on TV, but it's another game for me. I have to go out there and execute, and if I don't, we know the end result.

"He's probably my favorite quarterback to watch," Murray added. "The way he plays the game, his swag, what he's done in his career – I admire him a lot. I'll probably be able to meet him, which is pretty cool. So, I'm looking forward to it."

Rodgers is completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 1,710 yards with an impressive 15 touchdown-to-3-interception ratio. His 66.3 QBR ranks third in the NFL, only behind Rams' Matthew Stafford and Bucs' Tom Brady.

Rodgers won't have Davante Adams – his favorite target and All-Pro wideout – after Adams tested positive for Covid on Monday. The Packers sport a perfect 6-0 record in games Adams has missed since 2019, which speaks to Rodgers' greatness.

"I think guys like Rodgers – when they don't have their main weapons – it falls back on him," Cardinals defensive coordinator coach Vance Joseph said. "Sometimes, it even helps him play a cleaner game. That's dangerous for us because history shows he has played quite well (without Adams)."

There is good news, however. The Cardinals have fared well in recent primetime games. In 2020, the Cardinals beat Dallas on "Monday Night Football" and Seattle on "Sunday Night Football." (Although they did lose in Seattle on "Thursday Night Football.")

With their record, the Cardinals are the biggest talk in football, though some aren't ready to believe the hype.

A win against the Packers won't just be another step in quieting the remaining doubters.

"I know a lot of eyes are on us," wide receiver Christian Kirk said. "We can make a statement as a team if we go out there and handle our business, and that's the main thing."

The cast and crew of Thursday Night Football are at State Farm Stadium setting the stage for Thursday night's showdown between two of the NFC's best teams

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