Patrick Peterson has proven he has what it takes to become a next level superstar in the NFL in his second season. The 6-0, 219-pound Peterson began his career with a bang, starting all 16 games in his rookie campaign.
He recorded 64 tackles, 1.0 sack and two interceptions on defense and also averaged 15.9 yards a pop on 44 punt returns for 699 net yards with four scores, including a 99-yarder in OT against the St. Louis Rams that was easily one of the most spectacular plays of the 2011 season.
Along with Quentin Groves and Darnell Dockett, Peterson harassed the Patriots offense last week in the Arizona Cardinals’ stunning 20-18 win and limited them to 387 yards on the road. Tom Brady and company will come close to 400 yards a game (or more) even without tight end Aaron Hernandez, so it speaks volumes of the Cardz’ up-and-coming defense.
Peterson, 22, was all over the field making plays left and right to help the Cardinals come up with the win.
His three tackles and interception made a momentous difference, but it is absolutely remarkable to watch this player. Not only did he tie the NFL record for punt returns for TD in a single season with four last year, but his explosiveness is borderline absurd.
The Cardinals utilized him in the Wildcat on offense and it may not be a bad idea to give him two or three cracks at toting the rock since this freak can simply carry this team to a ton of playoff appearances.
He mentioned his high expectations for this season earlier in the offseason and he’s clearly walking the walk. While it helps to have Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington and Quintin Groves creating havoc up front, Peterson bursts into receivers with such ease right now.
All of Arizona’s success last week was of course with star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald hauling in only one pass for four yards with less-than-stellar play under center. The backfield has also been banged up as both Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells have had knee issues.
Is this the week when the Cardinals suffer their first loss on the year against a tough and athletic Philadelphia Eagles team? Michael Vick and company have turned over the football nine times in two weeks, but still have come out on the winning end against the Cleveland Browns (17-16) and Baltimore Ravens (24-23).
Philly’s fast and athletic pass rush has caused major issues for opposing quarterbacks and could continue to do damage against Arizona, albeit the Cardinals do have home-field advantage.
The easiest matchup to watch for when Arizona has the ball would be Fitzgerald against Nnamdi Asomugha. The two are both some of the more talented players in the league, and obviously Fitz has been a Hall of Fame talent for the past eight seasons.
LeSean McCoy will be the one to keep an eye on (Not Jackson and Maclin is dinged up, Celek is main pass threat receptions wise) while Philadelphia has the ball, but the Cardinals have been able to pin their ears back and suffocate teams due to tremendous pursuit to the ball.
Peterson will come in and bust a few plays up and may even jar the ball loose a time or two on Vick.
In a game in which everybody is expecting the Eagles to put up 30 points, this game will come down to the wire and favor the home team in a thriller.
Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern
Network: FOX (713)
Experts Pick: Eagles by 3.5
Danny V’s Pick: Cardinals 23, Eagles 21