I can’t be the only one who is going nuts while waiting for Sunday to get here. The bye week was great for getting the Eagles rested and healthy, but I’m dying to see the boys go out and play.
The Cards are a weird opponent. The media is buying in on them. I did too, initially. The more I watched them play and studied the stats, the more I started to see some holes. The Cards are 5-1 at home. Their 2 road wins came in Florida, one vs the crappy Bucs and one vs the crappy Jags. Put the Cards in a favorable situation and they win. Challenge them and things are far less certain.
Watching the Colts game from last week wasn’t a ton of help. The Colts DL was awful in that game. The Cards don’t have a good O-line and seeing them control the LOS was not a good sign for Indy. The Colts OL struggled and Andrew Luck played poorly in part because of that. How far has that team fallen in recent weeks?
I’m fully aware that you can pick apart the Eagles just as well. Right or wrong, I just believe in the Eagles a bit more.
One of the key reasons is that the Eagles are good on the LOS. The OL can block. The DL can play the run and pressure the passer. The Cards have a good DL, but their OL has issues.
Maybe the best part of this game is getting to see Nick Foles go against a top shelf D. He’s faced some that were ranked relatively high, but none that had the buzz that the Cards have. There is a ton of hype about DC Todd Bowles and his players. A good NFL analyst suggested on Twitter tonight that Calais Campbell could be Def Player of the Year material. Patrick Peterson is a player who gets tons of hype. And Tyrann Mathieiu is another player the analysts love. These guys deserve the credit they get. Add in LB John Abraham, DL Darnell Dockett, ILB Karlos Dansby and ILB Daryl Washington and you have a talented defense that can make some plays.
If Foles and the Eagles can move the ball and score on these guys, the Chip Kelly hype will go through the roof. Probably true for Foles too.
I am curious to see how the Cards cover the Eagles. Does Peterson cover DeSean Jackson? If so, does he get Safety help or does that go to the CB on Riley Cooper? Jackson vs Peterson 1-on-1 would be very interesting.
There really are a lot of angles to this game.
* Playoff implications
* The return of Todd Bowles to Philly
* Bowles D vs Kelly’s O
* Mr NFL (Bruce Arians) vs Joe College (Chip Kelly)
* Can the Cards win on the road?
* Can the Eagles extend their home winning streak?
* Will the bye week affect the Eagles?
* Will we see Mike Vick as a role player?
* Can Nick Foles avoid turnovers against a Cardinals defense that thrives on takeaways?
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If you prefer visuals, check out this great All-22 piece from Fran Duffy. Superb preview of the Cardinals.
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The good news is that so far this season, Foles has been good under pass-rush pressure, in limited exposure. Pro Football Focus gives him a .676 accuracy percentage in such situations, with two touchdown passes and of course, no picks, because Foles hasn’t thrown any picks in the eight games he has played this season (five starts).
This isn’t all on Foles.
Foles agreed that the Eagles’ uptempo style could disrupt the blitz packages a bit – it’s hard for the defense to change personnel – but he said he figures the Cardinals have looked at that and figured out ways around it.
“Our line’s done a great job of really seeing what’s going on,” Foles said, when asked about his blitz success. “They’re able to give me just a split second longer to get a throw off. That’s huge . . . Our receivers and running backs have recognized when we are hot, to get their head around and get ready for the ball.”
Should make for an interesting match-up.
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The Eagles will wear black jerseys. What do you guys think of that?
I’m mixed. I don’t like the black jerseys on the players, but I think they look really good on fans.