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Scouting the Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

The Jets Travel to Arizona for Their First Monday Night Football Game of 2016


The Buzz:The Cardinals enter Week 6 with a 2-3 record, coming off of a 33-21 win over the 49ers on Thursday Night Football. Two-time NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians is the leader in Arizona, compiling a 36-17 record in his three-plus years as head coach of the Cards. Arizona had its best season under Arians in 2015, winning the NFC West with a 13-3 record. The Cards eventually lost in the NFC Championship to the Carolina Panthers. This game marks Jets head coach Todd Bowles' return to Glendale, where he was the defensive coordinator for two seasons (2013-2014). 

The Offense
The Staples:
The offense is led by the ageless QB Carson Palmer. The 36-year old has revived his career since joining the Cardinals in 2013, throwing for over 4,000 yards in two full seasons (he was limited to six games in 2014). Last year, Palmer posted his best stats, recording a career-high in passing yards (4,671) and touchdowns (35) while throwing a career-low 11 interceptions. In four games this season, the former first overall pick has thrown for 1,150 yards, six touchdowns and five picks. Palmer did not play last week because of a concussion.

Palmer's go-to receiver is Larry Fitzgerald, who has been with the organization since 2004 and is as consistent as they come in the NFL. In his 13-year career, he has only missed six games and has posted 1,000-yard seasons seven times. This year, he's amassed 361 yards and five touchdowns.

Rising Star:Second-year RB David Johnson is quickly becoming one of the league's best and most versatile backs. Johnson came on strong at the end of last year as a result of an injury-plagued backfield, but he's the feature back in 2016. He's fourth in the league in rushing yards and is coming off a 157-yard rushing performance against the Niners. Johnson is also a weapon in the passing game as he totaled four receiving touchdowns last season and brought in 36 receptions for 457 yards. This season, he has 238 receiving yards and is averaging 14 yards per catch.

The Defense
The Anchors:
The Cardinals' secondary continues to flourish, ranking No. 4 in the league while only allowing an average of 190 yards per game. Five-time Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson is the featured player of that group. Known for his combination of speed and cover skills, Peterson has become one of the premier corners in the league. He has two interceptions this season, tying his total from 2015. The LSU product's interception total hasn't been high the past couple of years because teams typically throw elsewhere on the field.

Behind him is former LSU teammate S Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu, better known as the Honey Badger, is recognized for his aggressive style of play. Before getting injured in Week 15 last season, he racked up 89 tackles, 17 PDs, 1 FF and 5 TDs including a 33-yard touchdown return.

Immediate Impact: The Cardinals acquired DE Chandler Jones from the Patriots in the offseason and he's been a factor early. Through five games he's racked up 4.0 sacks, 8 QB hits, 6.0 TFL, 1 PD, 1 FF and two FR. Last season in New England, he racked up a career-high 12.5 sacks and four FF.

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