It's Black Sunday.
The Eagles will be wearing their black jerseys today as they try to extend their winning streak to four games with a win over the Cardinals. This match-up has the making of a good game. Both teams are fighting for an NFC playoff spot. Philadelphia is trying to keep up with the Cowboys while the Cardinals are likely in the hunt for a wildcard spot. Both teams have winning records. Both teams are enjoying winning streaks.
There are a couple factors working in the Eagles favor. One, it's a home game. Thanks to a certain Brandon Boykin interception two weeks ago, the Eagles proved they can win there again. Two, the Eagles are rested. They are coming off their bye week. Several players, such as Mychal Kendricks and Bradley Fletcher, are returning to action. Despite these advantages, it seems like it could be a tough game for both sides.
By now, it's no secret that the Cardinals employ one of the league's top ranked defenses. This is probably the toughest opposition Nick Foles has faced all year. It could be an ugly game for him. It shouldn't be as bad as his abysmal outing against the Cowboys, but the numbers might not look as sexy as they have in recent weeks. It wouldn't be crazy to think Foles throws his first interception of this season in this game. But that's OK. Arizona has playmakers on defense; it's bound to happen. What's important to see is how Foles responds to those mistakes. It will also be interesting to see how he handles Arizona's blitzing attack. Maybe Chip Kelly will push the pace in order to keep the opposing defense off-balance.
On defense, the Eagles simply need to do what they have been doing: keep opposing offenses in check. The Cardinals are weak up front and the Philly front seven needs to take advantage of that mismatch. Carson Palmer generally gets rid of the ball fast, but getting pressure up front could force some crucial turnovers. It could also help towards neutralizing the receiving threats such as Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
A win would be huge. The Eagles would move to 7-5, keeping pace with the division leading 7-5 Dallas Cowboys. It would also give them a head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona in the wildcard standings. It would give the Eagles their first win over a team with a winning record (aside from their win over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers). I could see people really start to believe in this team if they can pull this one off.
It won't be easy. This is going to be a tough game. Can they get the job done?
Score prediction: 23-20, Eagles win.
Bold prediction: Alex Henery clutch game winning field goal.
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