Arizona Cardinals’ upcoming opponent also an injured bunch
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals will be facing a Houston Texans team on Sunday that’s been stricken with as many injuries as they have
The Arizona Cardinals won’t be the only football team missing key players this weekend. This Sunday’s opponent, the Houston Texans, are hurting as badly as the Cards are. Fans will notice a bevy of stars absent from their television sets, something the Fox Network (who’s airing the game) can’t be thrilled about.
Although Arizona is the visitor, Las Vegas bookmakers have installed them as one and a half point favorites. The fact that the Cardinals could be favorites on the road without starting quarterback Carson Palmer is shocking. It’s an indication of how bad of a squad Houston has become since losing some of it’s best performers.
Defensive end J.J. Watt is arguably the Texans’ biggest loss. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year suffered a leg fracture in week five. The popular Watt will miss the remainder of the ’17 campaign, a huge blow not only to his team, but to NFL fans around the country as well.
Many would say that the torn ACL suffered by quarterback Deshaun Watson will have more of a negative effect on Houston’s won-loss record than the Watt injury will. The rookie signal-caller was on a tear before suffering the freak knee injury at practice. Watson had settled in nicely, completing 61.8% of his throws for 1,699 yards and 19 passing touchdowns through seven games (six starts) before the setback occurred.
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The defense took another huge hit five games into this year when Whitney Mercilus tore his pectoral muscle. The outside linebacker, like Watt and Watson, has also been placed on injured reserve. While Mercilus’ name may not be well-known out of the state of Texas, the sixth-year pro is one of the league’s best all-around defenders.
Talented tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has just returned from a concussion he incurred during the opening contest. The fourth-year vet caught two passes this past Sunday in the Texans’ lopsided loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The coaching staff may try to get him a bit more involved versus the Cards this upcoming Sunday.
It’s no secret that injuries are, and always will be, a major part of the NFL. The two franchises meeting this Sunday at NRG Stadium obviously don’t need to be told that. The Cardinals “next man up” mantra has once again come into effect this season, and not just for them.