The Philadelphia Eagles face a tough challenge with the 7-4 Arizona Cardinals coming to town this week. Arizona is riding a four game win streak including a most recent 40-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The most notable thing about the Cardinals is their vaunted defense. It's a unit coached by former Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The Cardinals 'D' ranks 2nd in the league according to FootballOutsider's DVOA metric. They only allow 20.3 points a game.
Chip Kelly spoke on the difficulty of facing such a hardened defense with players like Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett up front.
Yeah, well, there's a lot more besides them, and those two are really, really good. They've got a lot of experience, a lot of guys that have played a lot of years on the defensive side of the ball. Besides those two you've got [John] Abraham and [Matt] Shaughnessy, Dan Williams, also, [Alameda] Ta'amu is another big guy in there when they're playing their base package. I think Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby at linebacker are two outstanding players that are playing at a really high level. And then one of the best corners in the league, Patrick Peterson. Tyrann Mathieu is a great addition out back. It's a formidable defense, and they're playing really, really well right now.
The Cardinals' offense isn't nearly as fearsome as their defense, but the team did manage to score 40 points last week. Their offense, led by head coach Bruce Arians, features veteran quarterback Carson Palmer and rookie running back Andre Ellington. There's also that noted Eagle killer Larry Fitzgerald guy to deal with.
Yeah, I mean, he's one of the receivers in the league, but I think the emergence of Michael Floyd next to him is really what I think lends some balance to them so that you just can't say, ‘Hey, we're going to take this guy away.’ I think one has 50 catches, the other one has 49 catches. They've got two running backs in [Andre] Ellington and [Rashard] Mendenhall, and Carson [Palmer] over the last couple of games ‑ they're on a four‑game winning streak ‑ has really started to play really, really well.
I think he got there, [head coach] Bruce [Arians] is there, a lot of change in that program, too. Guys are starting to get comfortable with their scheme and they're starting to hit stride, and they're one of the hotter teams in the league right now, so we've got our work cut out for us.
The Eagles are on a winning streak of their own, including a win at home. Five games remain in the season, and each of them are vital as the Eagles strive to reach the post-season. It's time to see if this Philadelphia football team can hang with a tougher competitor than what they've faced recently.