This certainly didn’t happen with the New Orleans Saints, who recently traded Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional draft pick. But after a huge game with the Cardinals, Pearson is looking like a new player.
The 32-year-old running back promised that he had “so much left” in the tank following the trade to Arizona. And he proved it in his first game with the Cardinals, rushing 26 times for 134 yards (5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Compare this to what he did through his first four games with the Saints, rushing for just 81 yards on 27 carries (3.0 YPC).
Peterson’s performance was not only important for himself, but it was also a key reason why Arizona beat Tampa Bay 38-33.
“I feel good. This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. Once I got that call on Tuesday, I was rejuvenated,” he told the media.
Peterson wasn’t the only old-timer who had a big game. Larry Fitzgerald also came through with 138 receiving yards and a touchdown. It’s no wonder why Coach Bruce Arians called this a “great day for the old guys.”
Arizona is a surprising 3-3 after losing star running back David Johnson for the season with a dislocated wrist. Can Peterson help the Cardinals keep forgetting about Johnson’s injury and help the team keep winning? Let’s find out while discussing whether we’re truly seen a rejuvenated Peterson along with how he affects Arizona’s betting odds to moving forward.
Peterson is Not a Normal Player
He proved this in the 2012 season after coming off a late-season ACL/MCL tear the year before. This is an injury that normally takes 12 months to heal from. However, Peterson returned in around eight months and rushed for an astonishing 2,047 yards.
Not only was he coming off a brutal injury months before any average athlete could. But he also became one of just seven NFL players to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards in a season.
Here we are again in 2017, wondering if Peterson’s elite skills have dried up, or if he indeed still has plenty left the tank.
Again, the contest against Tampa Bay suggests the latter. But it’s still important to be cautious in this regard because he only rushed for 72 yards on 37 carries before his injury last year.
More recently, he couldn’t find consistent carries in the crowded Saints backfield. Peterson gained just 81 yards on 27 carries through four games prior to the trade.
Caution aside, though, Peterson looked great on the field Sunday. Looking beyond the stats, he made the cuts, showed the vision, and flashed the elusiveness that has made him great for much of his career.
We don’t expect him to log 1,000 rushing yards over the rest of the season. After all, he did have the game flow working in his favor since the Cardinals were running out the clock. But then again, it’s hard to see anybody else on the Cardinals’ roster being able to get 134 rushing yards on 26 carries, especially against a decent defense.
Tiki Barber Likes what He Sees in Peterson
Sports Illustrated analyst and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber thinks that Peterson is in a really good situation in Arizona. In fact, he thinks that the 7-time Pro-Bowler will see as many carries as he can handle
Barber was also quick to remind that Peterson could’ve added even more to the stat line.
“And let’s not forget, there was a 45-yarder that was called back. I mean, he could’ve had almost 200 yards in his debut with the Arizona Cardinals.”
Barber added, “I think he found an old-school-enough coach in Bruce Arians – and yeah he loves to throw the football downfield and his quarterbacks have low completion percentages because they like to throw it way, way down field – but the only way to compliment that is to hand it off.”
The one concern is that Arians probably won’t back off when using Peterson to the fullest.
“I’m mean, he’s going to use him up,” said Barber. “Bruce Arians is going to use him up. If he had any more desire to play a couple more years, forget that cause Bruce Arians is going to hand it to him early and often.”
What’s Next for Arizona and Peterson in Terms of Betting?
That said, I expect to see Peterson running the ball well over the next few weeks. And while he may suffer a late-season regression, he’ll give Arizona value on the betting lines against bad run defenses.
I don’t see Arizona winning on the road against the Rams. However, they should have a good chance to win on the road against San Francisco. In either case, the Cardinals will be undervalued on the line against San Francisco and LA if Peterson keeps up this resurgence.