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Players In The Spotlight: Green Bay Week

Against the Packers, Kyler, Garcia, Prater, Jones, Phillips are ones to watch

Spotlight Packers Kyler

The Cardinals enter Week Eight as the only undefeated team, looking to secure an 8-0 start when they host the Packers Thursday night at State Farm Stadium. The Cardinals are the favorites, but the Packers are one of the hottest teams in the NFC – with five straight wins since losing their home opener.

In one of the most anticipated matchups of 2021, here are five Cardinals to watch for in this week's spotlight.

Kyler Murray

Murray will face the Packers Sunday for the first time in his career, and it won't be an easy challenge. The Packers have a top-10 defense in total yards and total points allowed. Chicago's Justin Fields and Washington Football Team's Tyler Heinicke – the last two quarterbacks that faced the Packers – had quarterback ratings of less than 45 when facing Green Bay. Of course, Murray isn't Fields or Heinicke. He has risen to the challenge against superior defenses, and another strong outing against another in Green Bay will only elevate his MVP case.

Max Garcia

Garcia has been solid under center since replacing the injured Rodney Hudson Week Five against the 49ers and did not allow a sack Sunday against the Texans. Garcia is dealing with an Achilles issue, and more importantly, there has been a problem at times with errant snaps. That's an area that needs to be cleaned up, but Garcia has shown he can be a good replacement for Hudson, and he'll need his best game against the Packers.

Matt Prater

In a game between two of the NFL's best teams who sport potent offenses and defenses, this contest might come down to field goals. Prater has been solid in 2021, connecting on 80 percent of his attempts. Prater is perfect this season on kicks inside the 50-yard-line; two misses have come from beyond that, including a 68-yard field goal attempt Week Three in Jacksonville. But that shows the faith coaches have in Prater's leg, which could be a critical component for the Cardinals to remain undefeated.

Chandler Jones

Jones has not been active since Week Five against the 49ers, missing the previous two weeks with Covid. Jones will play Thursday against the Packers. It's hard to win games against elite quarterbacks like Rodgers but an effective way is to generate constant pressure. It's a reason the Cardinals have a top-five defense in total yards allowed and tie Buffalo for No.1 in total points allowed. The Packers are tied for seventh in most sacks allowed. Jones and the pass rush have an opening for another strong outing.

Jordan Phillips

Jordan Phillips' return to the Cardinals' defense line has helped against the run. In the loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, the Texans' trio of running backs had 42 yards on just 2.8 yards per carry. The Packers could rely more on the running game with Davante Adams likely out on Thursday after submitting a positive Covid test. Phillips finally is healthy, and the Cardinals defense has only benefitted from his return.

Images of the top players to watch Thursday versus Green Bay: QB Kyler Murray, C Max Garcia, K Matt Prater, LB Chandler Jones and DL Jordan Phillips.

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