Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu to play, DT Robert Nkemdiche active vs. New Orleans

Dec 18, 2016, 12:51 PM | Updated: 12:57 pm
Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates a Tampa Bay Buccaneers turn over durin...
Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates a Tampa Bay Buccaneers turn over during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Even though the game would not be played in New Orleans, there was no way safety Tyrann Mathieu was going to miss the chance to play against his hometown team.

And he won’t.

As expected, Mathieu will be in uniform and thus available for the Arizona Cardinals when they host the Saints on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

It’s been a difficult season, and more specifically last month-plus, for Mathieu who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, costing him four games in five weeks. His on-field presence Sunday will be his first since Nov. 27.

“He looks real good,” head coach Bruce Arians said, referring to Mathieu’s week of practice.

On Friday, Arians also praised rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, and Nkemdiche is active for the first time in six weeks.

Those Cardinals not active included quarterback Zac Dysert, wide receiver Jeremy Ross, cornerback Tharold Simon, tackle D.J. Humphries plus defensive tackles Olsen Pierre, Ed Stinson and Xavier Williams.

Humphries had already been ruled with a concussion.

“Good opportunity for a lot of young guys because they’re going to get a lot of playing time out of necessity, so it’s a great opportunity for them,” Arians said.

For the Saints, linebacker Stephone Anthony (knee), cornerback Delvin Breaux (shoulder) and running back Daniel Lasco (hamstring/knee) are out due to injury and among the listed inactives.

The others not in uniform for New Orleans are wide receiver Jake Lampman, running back Marcus Murphy, linebacker Travis Freeney and center Jack Allen.

This is the final regular season home game for the Cardinals, who are 4-2-1 at University of Phoenix Stadium here in 2016.

“You want to win them all. That is the first goal we set. We didn’t start off the right way,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “It’s such a tremendous advantage for us to play at home. It’s so hard to be an opponent and come in here and play. The playoff situation is what it is, but we have a chance to go out and play in front of our fans…a chance for us to play our best football and make them proud.”

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