The Arizona Cardinals are set to wrap up their 2016 NFL season with a game against the division rival Los Angeles Rams this Sunday in LA. For most of the players on the team, this is simply a game where they are playing for pride. This goes for players like Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and many others.
But for other players, this is a game where they can show Head Coach Bruce Arians that they deserve a spot on this team, a chance to start or even a new contract. Let's take a look at five of these players that certainly won't be slouching in the City of Angels.
Evan Boehm: The rookie fourth round offensive lineman saw his first real playing time this past Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, but not in the manner many expected he would. While he was drafted as a center, Boehm found himself lining up at right guard, where he will continue to start in the final game of the season.
Whether it's at guard or center, Boehm needs to prove that he truly belongs. A.Q. Shipley, the team's current starting center, is due to become a free agent and was a bit underwhelming at times this season. Can Boehm find himself sliding into a starting spot either at center or guard next year? The answer to that question will be found out over time, starting this Sunday.
Robert Nkemdiche: Yep, another rookie. Nkemdiche has already been labeled as a "bust" by many pundits around the league this season, but he is still a rookie and still has time to rebound. The chance to do that begins against the Rams, who have what many would consider one of the lesser talented offensive lines in the NFL.
If Nkemdiche can show that he can consistently get pressure and make plays, he could find himself more consistently in the defensive line rotation in 2017.
Justin Bethel: Bruce Arians made headlines a couple weeks ago saying that Justin Bethel is a "failure in progress" at the cornerback position. Bethel responded by coming out against Seattle with one of his most inspiring performances of the season. He was asked to play in the slot due to injuries to Tyvon Branch and Tyrann Mathieu and he played admirably.
The question is: can he consistently show that type of production? Bethel, at his salary and production, is a candidate to be released this offseason to save the team some money. If he wants to stay in the desert, he will need to play well against the Rams.
Kevin Minter: Minter has easily had the best season of his career in 2016, showing the Cardinals the talent they saw back in his days as a Louisiana State Tiger. With that, Minter is due for a new contract, as his rookie deal is set to expire.
If Minter wants to get top dollar -- whether that's from the Cardinals or another team -- he will need to continue his consistent play all the way through the season.
Kerwynn Williams: As the newly instated backup running back to David Johnson, Williams has shown multiple flashes in the running game, both as the primary back and as the "quarterback" on Wildcat plays. Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor are both free agents after this season. Meanwhile, Williams is signed through the 2017 season.
If Williams envisions himself as David Johnson's backup next season and beyond, consistency in the running game and the ability to pass protect in the backfield will be key.
What do you think, Arizona Cardinals fans? Which player(s) have the most to prove against the Los Angeles Rams in the season finale?