WEEK 8 GAME OF THE WEEK: GREEN BAY PACKERS VS ARIZONA CARDINALS

Photo credit: Mike Morbeck via Flickr

The Ninety-Nine Yards team are back with us here at Belushi’s for week eight of NFL action. Our contributor this week is Johnny Cumbleton, an Eagles fan since 1992 who was lucky enough to see his team play in their Super Bowl-winning season.

Week 8 sees the first marquee Thursday Night Football matchup of the season as the 6-1 Packers travel to the desert where they’ll face the 7-0 Cardinals.

Head to the Belushi’s NFL Hub to check out our NFL packages and book a table.

MVP VS EMERGING STAR

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Aaron Rodgers is the reigning NFL MVP and one of the best to play the position. On Thursday night he’ll face one of the NFL’s dual-threat stars, Kyler Murray.

While both quarterbacks are mobile, the younger Murray is more of a threat on the ground, having rushed for 126 yards already this year. At only 5’9 Murray is not only a dangerous runner but he’s an impressive passer and has already thrown for over 2000 yards. He’s viewed as this year’s MVP front runner by many.

However, Rodgers ability to move around in the pocket and buy time for his receivers to get open makes him lethal from anywhere in the field. Rodgers already has 1710 yards through the air and only 3 interceptions. The Packers’ QB always seems to find someone open to make plays.

PURSUIT OF PERFECTION

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The Arizona Cardinals are the NFL’s lone undefeated team. They’ve scored over 30 points in all bar one of their games. Their offence has been impressive all year. In fact, only three teams average more points this season.

Perfection is not something seen often in the NFL. Only one team have had a perfect season, the 1972 Dolphins. Coached by NFL legend Don Shula, the team not only won all 14 regular-season games but also three postseason games, culminating in Super Bowl VII.

The Packers were destroyed by the New Orleans Saints 38-3 in Week 1, but have since been perfect themselves.

COVID IMPACT

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Covid continues to impact teams in the NFL. However, the impact of the virus for these teams will be markedly different.

It’s likely that the Packers will be without their star receiver, Davante Adams who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Adams has been one of the NFL’s top receivers again this year, amassing 744 yards already this season. No other Packers receiver has over 200 yards so Green Bay so his loss cannot be overstated.

Conversely, the Cardinals will see the return of their star linebacker Chandler Jones. Jones hadn’t practised since October 10th but will be a huge boost for a Cardinals team trying to stop one of the NFL’s best offences. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who also sees Zach Allen return, said: "It'll be a great boost to get those two guys back. Hopefully they can pick up where they left off."

KEY PERFORMERS

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For the Cardinals, DeAndre Hopkins is rightly the featured receiver likely and has accounted for seven touchdowns but I feel the wildcard for Arizona may be newly acquired tight end Zac Ertz, who scored in his Cardinals debut. With an already impressive offence, Ertz gives Murray a star safety blanket.

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With the absence of Adams, the Packers may use the run more to open the pass. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon have combined for 635 on the ground this season. Jones is a violent runner who can break big runs at any time and is averaging 4.5 yards a carry. He’s also a threat receiving out of the background and will likely see several targets on Thursday.

We’ll be showing all of the NFL action at Belushi’s, and we’d love to have you join us. At Belushi’s, we guarantee a good time, whether through its world-class sports screenings, live music, beer pong, and more. Find your nearest bar.

Don’t forget you can follow Johnny@Cumbleton and the @NinetyNineYards team on Twitter for the latest in NFL conversation, and of course, keep an eye out on the blog for fresh content from the team.