THIS WEEK’S PREVIEW
The Cardinals and Jaguars meet up for a Week 3 showdown at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday as Arizona looks to improve to 3-0 and Jacksonville – behind rookie QB Trevor Lawrence – looks for its first win of the young season.
Arizona is coming off a one-point victory over the Vikings in the home-opener at State Farm Stadium last week. Jacksonville lost its home-opener to the visiting Broncos in Week 2.
The teams meet for just the sixth time dating back to their first matchup in 2000. The only franchise the Cardinals have faced fewer times in the regular season is Houston (4). Arizona has had success against the Jaguars, coming in with a 3-2 record and looking for its fourth consecutive victory, including its third straight on the road.
Jacksonville is led by Lawrence and first-year NFL head coach Urban Meyer. Like Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury – Meyer came to the NFL from the college ranks.
Two Cardinals players who are very familiar with the Jaguars are former Texans DL J.J. Watt and WR DeAndre Hopkins. During their Ɵ me in the AFC South, Watt (16) and Hopkins (14) played a combined 30 games against Jacksonville. Watt has 17.0 career sacks vs. Jaguars while Hopkins enters the contest with 79 receptions for 930 yards and six TDs against the Jaguars. Watt has had some of the biggest games of his career against Jacksonville, against whom Watt has three of his six career games with at least 3.0 sacks.
Playing alongside Watt on the Cardinals defense is LB Isaiah Simmons, who will face his former Clemson teammate Lawrence for the first time. The duo’s two seasons (2018-19) together at Clemson marked the most successful two-year run in program history. In those two campaigns, the Tigers posted a 29-1 record, appeared in two BCS National Championship Games and won a national title in 2018 to cap a perfect 15-0 season.
Following this week’s game, Arizona heads back West as they face the Rams at SoFi Stadium in the first NFC West showdown of the 2021 season for either team. Jacksonville will hit the road for a Week 4 matchup with the Bengals.
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS
The Cardinals travel to Jacksonville for the first-ever matchup between two of the seven active QBs who were taken #1 overall in the NFL draft: Kyler Murray (AZ in 2019) and Trevor Lawrence (JAX in 2021).
Murray is off to the best start of his young career, having accounted for nine TDs (7 passing, 2 rushing) through the first two games. Murray is the first player in NFL history with at least three passing TDs and a rushing TD in each of the first two games of a season.
For the second straight season, Kliff Kingsbury has Arizona off to a 2-0 start. He joins Bruce Arians (2014-15), Don Coryell (1973-74) and Arnie Horween (1923-24) as the only coaches in team history to start 2-0 in back-to-back years.
Arizona heads to Jacksonville looking to improve its record to 3-0 to start the season. DaƟ ng back to 1970, the Cardinals have started a season 3-0 four times
(2015, 2014, 2012, 1974).
Following a 25-point win in Week 1, the Cardinals are coming off a nail-biter last week in which they pulled out a 34-33 victory on a missed FG as Ɵ me expired. The win over Minnesota was a back-and-forth affair that featured eight lead changes.
Rookie WR Rondale Moore will look to continue his impressive start. The second-round pick (49Ǧǚ overall) leads the team – and all NFL rookies – with 182 receiving yards and 268 all-purpose yards through two games.
Another young player off to a hot start is second-year LB Isaiah Simmons. Through the first two weeks, Simmons has already recorded 17 tackles, an INT, two passes defensed and a forced fumble. He is the only defender in the NFL this season with 15+ tackles, an INT and a forced fumble.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
Arizona would start a season 3-0 for the first time since 2015 and for just the fifth time since the 1970 merger (2015, 2014, 2012, 1974).
The Cardinals would improve to 4-2 all-Ɵ me vs. Jacksonville and run their winning streak against the Jaguars to four straight dating back to 2009.
Arizona would improve to 3-1 all Ɵ me on the road against Jacksonville , including wins in its last three visits.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
LB Chandler Jones
With a sack, Jones would pass Freddie Joe Nunn (66.5) as the franchise all-time sacks leader.
With a sack, Jones would become the first player in Cardinals history with at least 6.0 sacks through the first three games of a season.
With 2.0 sacks, Jones would become the ninth player in NFL history with 7.0+ sacks through the first three games of a season. He would join Shaq Barrett (8.0 in 2019) as the only players in the last eight years to accomplish the feat.
QB Kyler Murray
With a passing and rushing TD, Murray would have 13 career games with both a passing and rushing TD. In NFL history only Cam Newton (20) and Josh Allen (16) would have more such outings in their first three NFL seasons.
With three passing TDs, Murray (10) would join Charley Johnson (10 in 1965) as the only players in franchise history with at least 10 TD passes through the first three games of a season.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
With a reception, Hopkins would extend his streak to 129 consecutive games with a catch. He would have at least one catch in every game of his NFL career.
With a TD reception, Hopkins would have at least four TD receptions through the first three games of a season for the first time in his career.
DL J.J. Watt
A sack of Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence would make him the 41ǥǦ different QB Watt has sacked in his career. It would also give Watt 18.0 career sacks against Jacksonville, tied with Tennessee for most against any opponent in his career.
WR Rondale Moore
With 100+ receiving yards, Moore would become the first rookie in franchise history to record 100+ receiving yards in back-to-back games. He would become just the eighth rookie in team history with multiple 100-yard games in a season and the first since Anquan Boldin (5) in 2003.