Everything that went wrong with the Tennessee Titans on September 12 went right for the Arizona Cardinals. In the 38-13 Cardinals’ victory on the road over the Titans, two players stood out the most. Kyler Murray and Chandler Jones.
Jones was a monster, racking up five sacks and now has 102 sacks in 125 games in his superb NFL career. He also forced two fumbles and should undoubtedly end up being the NFL’s defensive player of the week.
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The other player is Kyler Murray, who had four passing touchdowns and one touchdown on the run. Murray threw two touchdowns each to receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. His final TD pass of the day was flawless, lobbing it to Christian Kirk with great tracking by the receiver in the endzone. The Titans also had no answer for his scrambling ability and accuracy.
Murray also was the only quarterback in Week 1 to throw for four completions on throws of 20 yards or more.
While Cardinals and Titans fans recognized how great Murray played, the whole league including some sportsbooks have noticed it too.
Murray’s MVP Odds Increasing
Before the 2021 season, according to BetMGM, Murray had the 10th best odds of winning MVP. He was at +2500, meaning a better who wagers $100 would win $2,500.
Murray’s odds have now spiked after his dazzling performance against the Titans. Murray is now sitting at +900 odds, which is only behind 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes.
While it’s just one game, this is a statement sent to the rest of the league. The Kyler Murray hype is real. Murray has leap-frogged numerous elite quarterbacks including Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady. It’s also worth noting that Wilson and Brady both had top-notch days in their season openers.
Being in the MVP conversation isn’t new for Murray. In the first half of the 2020 regular season, Murray was putting up terrific numbers. After the Cardinals beat the Bills on Murray’s infamous “Hail Murray” play, Arizona was sitting at 6-3 and Kyler was on pace for a combined 48 touchdowns. Then, Murray’s shoulder injury bothered him and it really showed against the Seahawks in Week 11. Kyler continued to play, but everyone knew something was wrong.
But now Murray is healthy and the team has made improvements from last season. The Cardinals added center Rodney Hudson and drafted rookie sensation Rondale Moore, who had five targets in just 20 snaps and accumulated 60 yards after the catch in his debut. A.J Green had a somewhat quiet first game, but he can distract others on the outside. This is definitely the year for Murray to make a seismic leap.
Third-Year QB Success Isn’t New
Josh Allen could’ve easily won MVP in 2020 if it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers. It’s without question that Allen changed his outlook and persona in year three. The Bills pairing Allen with Stefon Diggs with a great OL and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll led to an AFC East division title and a trip to the AFC Championship Game.
We’re not saying the Cardinals will make it to the Championship game this year, especially with the level of difficulty in the NFC West. But Murray ascending before our eyes is certainly in play.
You can’t teach this ability to move to your left and make a dart to your right with pressure on the right side.
Another play to Christian Kirk, but this time a 55-yard heave across his body that is thrown off his back foot into the end zone.
Allen had a combined 45 touchdowns in 2020. Before Murray’s injury in 2020, he was on pace for 48 touchdowns. The sky is the limit for Murray and even that’s an understatement.