Kyler Murray, Cardinals make statement with win over undefeated Rams

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Because I was occupied reporting in New England, I asked my friend Eric Eager of Pro Football Focus to weigh in on the big game between the Rams and Cardinals. His report:

The NFL is going through a transitional phase at the quarterback position. The time has largely come and gone for Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan in the NFL; Philip Rivers and Drew Brees retired this past offseason; Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are still playing at a high level, but their years are numbered. Young players are taking over the position rapidly, and while people cite Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert as the next great players at the position, Sunday we saw a coronation of sorts in the NFC West. Kyler Murray went on the road and handily defeated the previously unbeaten, and preseason divisional favorite, Los Angeles Rams 37-20. The win pushed Arizona’s record to 4-0 for the first time since 2012—when Kevin Kolb was the Cardinals’ starting quarterback—and Murray became the first QB in Cardinal history to have three straight games with at least 75 percent completions.

After watching the Rams defeat the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, the betting markets installed the Rams as six-point favorites to open the week. The betting population, however, moved the line to four points, showing some confidence in the third-year pair of coach Kliff Kingsbury and Murray.  This confidence was rewarded throughout Sunday’s game, as Murray earned an 81.3 Pro Football Focus passing grade, completing 24 of 32 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another 39 on the ground.  Murray’s presence as a passer and his gravity as a rusher helped Chase Edmonds and James Connor put up another 170 yards on the ground on 30 carries, including two touchdowns by Connor. The Cardinals defense, much derided at times during the offseason and the preseason, surrendered only one touchdown when the game was in the balance, allowing just 280 yards to the previously hot Matthew Stafford.

After a 2020 season where Murray was the league’s highest-graded rushing quarterback (90.6) and the 16th-highest passer (74.5) before a shoulder injury slowed him after week 11, Murray has improved in almost every category as a passer in 2021.  His yards per attempt have increased by almost two-and-a-half yards; the percentage of “big-time-throws”—throws that earn the highest distinction in the PFF grading system—have almost doubled; his turnover-worthy play rate has decreased by 20 percent. This was on display against a Rams defense that was first in yards per play allowed in 2020 and boasts two of the best players in the league in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.  Murray committed zero turnover-worthy plays and was sacked just twice, while engineering seven scoring drives in the Cardinals’ first nine times with the football.

While Murray possesses elite-level arm talent on par with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, what sets Murray apart in the current Arizona offense is his ability to break the pocket and make plays with his speed.  In 2021 that has been an advantage he has used in the passing game, where his three passing touchdowns when on the move and after 3.5 seconds in the pocket is tied for the league lead; and his three big-time throws are the second-most we’ve charted. Mahomes (10.4 yards per attempt) is the only starting quarterback with a larger yards per attempt in such circumstances than Murray.

Against the Rams on Sunday, Murray turned such a circumstance into a scramble. With the Cardinals leading 14-10 with 9:38 left in the second quarter, Murray stutter-stepped Rams linebacker Kenny Young to pick up a first down on a third-and-16, on a drive that later resulted in a Connor touchdown and a two-score lead for the Cards.

Questions remain for the Cardinals, and specifically Kingsbury, as to the sustainability of the Cardinals’ attack. Last season, due to Murray’s shoulder injury, along with what has been described as a stale approach, the Cardinals went from being in the top-five in the NFL in terms of offensive efficiency in Weeks 1-11, to 28th during Weeks 12-17. With that decline in offensive production went their playoff hopes in 2020, to increased pressure in 2021. This season, the Cardinals are back in the top five in efficiency, but haven’t needed to lean on Murray as much in the run game, or on superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whose share of the Cardinals’ targets has fallen from 29 percent in 2020 to 18 percent in 2021.  Rondale Moore looks to be a fantastic draft pick out of Purdue, while former Bengal A.J. Green has been very active, including gaining 67 yards and a touchdown against the Rams.  If Murray can stay healthy, and Kingsbury sharp, the NFC West crown could be in play for Arizona for the first time since 2015.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Lamar Jackson continues to exceed expectations while betting on himself this season

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took the ultimate chance and is betting on himself this NFL season. After failing to reach an agreement with the Ravens on a long-term extension, the Pompano Beach, Florida native, who went 32nd overall in the 2018 draft, is currently playing on the $23 million 5th-year option of his rookie contract.

Jackson reportedly turned down a 5-year offer worth roughly $250 million, with $133 million guaranteed — something many were not surprised by because Deshaun Jackson’s contract, signed this summer, changed the goalposts for QB contracts, especially for a dual-threat player like Lamar Jackson who runs the ball as well as he throws the ball. This week, Jackson will face a major early season test as the 2-2 Ravens host Joe Burrow and the 2-2 Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

RELATED: Lamar Jackson on his contract situation: Respectfully, I’m done talking about it

Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability

The 2019 NFL MVP already has 13 total touchdowns this season, including 11 pass touchdowns, and currently leads the Ravens with 316 rush yards — the most of any quarterback in the NFL this season. He also ranks in the league’s top 10 in rushing yards, for all players (ranked 9th entering Week 5). Additionally, Jackson was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in September for the second time in his career.

Powered in part by Jackson, the Ravens offense ranked first in rush yards per game in 2019 (206) and 2020 (191.9) and was third in 2021 (145.8). In 2022, the team ranks 8th entering Week 5 (142).

What will happen with Lamar Jackson’s contract at the end of the season?

Lamar Jackson is currently set to become a free agent after the season, however, he could be franchised tagged by the Ravens.

Does Lamar Jackson have an agent?

Lamar Jackson has represented himself during negotiations while leaning on the help of his mother, Felicia Jones, and the NFLPA (which reportedly advised him that he was justified to demand a fully guaranteed deal).

What other notable contracts were recently signed by NFL quarterbacks?

  • Russell Wilson: 5 years, $245 million ($124M fully guaranteed) – August 2022
  • Kyler Murray: 5 years, $230.5 million ($103.3M fully guaranteed) – July 2022
  • Deshaun Watson: 5 years, $230 million (fully guaranteed) – March 2022
  • Josh Allen: 6 years, $258 million ($100M fully guaranteed) – August 2021
  • Patrick Mahomes: 10 years, $450 million ($63.1M fully guaranteed) – July 2020

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals head to M&T Bank Stadium to take on Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens this week on Sunday Night Football. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. See below for additional information on how to watch Sunday night’s Bengals vs Ravens matchup.

RELATED: How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: TV, live stream info, game preview


How to watch the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens:

  • Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
  • When: Sunday, October 9
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

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The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week it’s Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals vs Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with Football Night in America. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 4: Hurts At Home In Philly, Players And Parents On Football Safety, And The Case For Aaron Donald

Every Sunday Night Football game this season will be available on both NBC and Peacock. See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Bengals vs Ravens game 

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 5 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!