Cardinals Face Huge Void Following J.J. Watt Injury

J.J. Watt might be out for the season with a shoulder injury. How significant is this for the 7-0 Arizona Cardinals?
J.J. Watt might be out for the season with a shoulder injury. How significant is this for the 7-0 Arizona Cardinals? / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals are the last unbeaten team in the NFL and one of the nicer surprises this season. However, the team is currently facing its biggest hurdle to date.

The future Hall-of-Famer will be sidelined due to a shoulder injury for the foreseeable future. If the initial reports are correct, the Cardinals might have to get used to life without Watt as he is scheduled for shoulder surgery this week. That surgery would likely mean the end of his season and the end of his dominance in the pass-rush for the first-place Cardinals. If the defensive end has taken his last snap of the season for Arizona, what does that mean for the Cards? 

Well, just taking a look at Watt’s stats over the last seven weeks, including two quarters playing through his injury, the Cardinals stand to lose a lot. Watt has 16 tackles, five for a loss, and a sack through his first six games in Arizona. While his sack numbers are on the decline, his presence and other metrics have helped the Cardinals a lot in their quest to remain unbeaten. Watt also has ten hits on quarterbacks, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble so far this season. 

The loss to this team will be hard to just shake off. We’re talking about the best player on what is arguably the best defense in the NFL right now. He creates situations where quarterbacks make mistakes and has already accounted for 11 missed passes in seven games. Another cause for concern is the fact that the Cardinals are not the best at stopping the run. Their best weapon against opposing RBs was Watt and without him, they are vulnerable to featured backs moving forward. 

Michael Dogbe will be replacing Watt and is a notable step down. In six games, he has nine tackles and a sack. It is his third season with the Cardinals. Dogbe was on the field for 27 snaps last week, a new career-high for him. So, not exactly the most experienced guy on the roster. 

The Cardinals will not be the only team on Thursday night trying to shrug off a big loss. The Packers will be without their leading receiver Davante Adams who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. 

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