On a Monday where numerous NFL squads learned of some pretty big injuries, the Arizona Cardinals may be working their way through the hardest hit. Per reports, stud defensive back Tyrann Mathieu will be lost for the remainder of the year due to a torn ACL. Mathieu suffered the injury in the Cards’ week 15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and was said to have a “loose” knee after exiting the game.

Arizona learned soon on Monday after an MRI that their star defensive back had sustained his second career ACL tear and that he’d be out for the rest of the year. Mathieu had gone through the lengthy rehab process two years ago, but wasn’t quite the same player on his way back from the injury in 2014. It wasn’t until the 2015 season that he flashed signs of his rookie form and had quickly become a dominant defensive force again. Unfortunately he’ll have to go back to work this summer and try to work his way all the way back to being that same player again.

It’s a huge blow for the Cardinals both for the short and long-term. The only true silver lining is that Mathieu is just 23 years old and has gone through the rehab process before. He knows he can make it back to this elite level of play and if the Cardinals just give him the time he needs, he could still be a huge piece of their defense’s puzzle for years to come.

Super Bowl Snag

It’s 2015 that Arizona has to worry about, as Mathieu was a huge part of their defense and is now going to leave a massive hole in the secondary. Mathieu was especially adept at breaking up passes over the middle of the field and was also a fantastic ball hawk (five interceptions) and power hitter. Needless to say, challenging the Cardinals deep down the field wasn’t always easy with him manning the back of the defense at safety, while his coverage of slots receivers also made it hard to move the ball in the middle of the field. Arizona may now lean on 25-year old corner Justin Bethel in the slot.

Bethel could end up being fine in the slot, the Arizona’s defense takes a huge hit in the secondary, both in terms of talent and in confidence. One injury shouldn’t completely crush their playoff hopes, but Mathieu was arguably the heart and soul of their defense. More pressure will be on Carson Palmer and the offense to win games going forward.

Around the League

Mathieu was probably the biggest injury in the NFL in terms of overall impact, but he wasn’t exactly the biggest name to get knocked out for the year. Star rookie players Marcus Mariota and Melvin Gordon both had their seasons ended with knee injuries, while the Bills also lost star rusher LeSean McCoy to a knee sprain. Minnesota saw Adrian Peterson get a little banged up, too, but he should be fine come week 16.

Two star players won’t be around for week 16, though, as Odell Beckham Jr. has been suspended for one week due to on field disruptions, while Colts quarterback Andrew Luck still won’t be ready to return from a lacerated kidney. Be sure to stay on top of the latest NFL injury and status news if you’re planning on making any bets for the playoffs or Super Bowl. Naturally, the Mathieu news has Arizona’s odds taking a minor hit, while the Titans, Bills, Chargers and Giants all see their week 16 odds of winning sink a bit due to the latest news.

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