SUNDAY 8:30 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ODDSMAKERS across the spectrum expect the Cardinal to come into the Linc and leave holding up a “W”. They almost make it seem like it’s an automatic. However, with having to face Green Bay next week, and then division rival Seattle the following week, Arizona may be looking past our 6 – 7 team just enough to let down their guard.
Did you know that even after these last two games, our Defense is still ranked 28th in rushing yards allowed, 21st in points allowed and 24th in passing yards allowed. Due to three huge (two of which were scoring) plays made by our Special Teams in the last two games, we are 6 – 7 instead of 4 – 9. It’s great to get to get great Special Teams play, but you can’t bank on splash plays by that unit to bail you out every week.
Teams are still moving the ball and scoring against our Defense. There will be no “fixes”enacted this deep into the season. We are what we are. That said, I have no idea how this unit is supposed to stop or even slow down this weeks opponent.
Depending on who you talk to, this Offense is either about to seriously rev up, or continue to do what it’s done all year, which means being a lower mid-level offense (15th rushing, 21st passing) coached by what was supposed to be a genius.
Optimists will tell you that QB Sam Bradford has only thrown 2 interceptions in his last 5 starts. They tell you that over that span he’s gone 3 – 2. They leave out the fact that in those 5 starts he’s only thrown 5 touchdowns. Conversely, this weeks opponent in his last 5 games, has 12 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. (He also has 2 lost fumbles). Over that span he’s 5 – 0. One of those guys has numbers which all but lock up a division. The other is a 13 million dollar mistake.
So this week we’ll play “Guess The Starter” at RB, cross our fingers that LT Jason Peters can string together a whole game, pray that C Jason Kelce doesn’t snap the ball past the QB, hope for a meaningful contribution from either Josh Huff or Nelson Agholor, and cringe when WR Jordan Matthews gets hit in the back after running yet another 4 yard crossing route.
Ahhhh, good times.
#7 vs scoring, #5 vs the run. They can reach your passer and they have a shark tank of a secondary that can take the ball from you. There is no standout pass-rusher unless you count DE Dwight Freeney. (Yes, that Dwight Freeny) Then again not many people would call 4 sacks by Week 15 a standout number.
At first glance they look water-tight, but there’s a chink in their armor. They play a 3-3-5 concept that they mask as a 3-4. They do that by playing a 211 pound SS at ILB. (It’s not dissimilar to what we used to do last year when trying to take advantage of Nate Allen‘s Safety speed when they played him in the box.)
As a result of using a SS at ILB it means they can be out powered in the middle of their defense. Put bluntly: This is a game that is right in the wheelhouse of RB DeMarco Murray. Now let’s see if he gets the ball.
I read years ago that QB Carson Palmer sees passing lanes like he has ESP. That statement has echoed in my head ever since. Every time I see him throw a WR open, I feel a sense of bitter envy for something most Eagles fans don’t even realize they’ve been missing out on for a quarter century. If you’re one of those “I only watch the Eagles” type of fans, you have no clue what we’re even missing.
This offense spreads you out, and has a run game component that takes advantage of spacing. It’s the grown-up version of what we run, without all the gimmicks thrown in to try and deceive. As it was designed to engage in weekly shoot-outs, they average 31 points per game and have actually rung that bell 7 times in 13 games. So that 31 point average isn’t the result of a fluke game here and there. These guys can actually get the pig to the pen.
Winning a shootout with this team is highly unlikely. If the Eagles are going to win this game, we have to find our offensive consistency and run the ball up the gut. I don’t like the match-up of our QB vs their secondary, but their LB’s can be exploited in coverage. I like the idea of TE Brent Celek on intermediate routes to loosen up the box and give the run room to get push inside.
Is that the way to go? Certainly. Will Kelly draw up such a game plan? Not likely. We could beat the Cardinals by out-toughing them, but that’s not how this team is built to think.
Cardinals 29 – Eagles 19