The Philadelphia Eagles are on the road this week to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Each team is 5-1 and looking to advance to a three-game win streak. It's an important game between two of the better teams in the NFC.
Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Jess root from Revenge of the Birds this week. On Wednesday, we discussed which Cardinals player the Eagles would take and which Eagles player the Cardinals would take. Jess and I then exchanged five questions on Thursday: here's the BGN version and here's the RotB version.
Today, we're back with reasons why each team might lose. This format forces us to consider each own team's weaknesses, rather than just think of why each team is awesome.
So here's why the Cardinals will lose, via Jess. Check out Revenge of the Birds to see why I think the Eagles will lose.
1. Turnovers and pressure
Arizona has been fantastic so far this season about taking care of he footballl. Carson Palmer has only one interception on the season. But we know that he can be prone to picks. If he throws multiple interceptions, it will be very tough to beat a team that has been so opportunistic with turnovers and turning them into points.
Likewise, Arizona has protected the quarterback reasonably well. It is better than last season, when Philly was able to get to Palmer. The Eagles defense has 16 sacks in their last three games. Arizona has allowed 11 sacks total on the season. Arizona will struggle if Palmer gets sacked or hit a lot. He will rush throws and can turn the ball over, which would in turn give the Philly D a chance to score, which they have been good at.
2. The tight end position
Covering tight ends has been one of the team's biggest weaknesses over the last season and a half. All three Philly touchdowns were to tight ends against Arizona in 2013. Arizona will lose if that happens again.
3. The running game
Arizona is number one against the run in the NFL, but Philly has two dangerous backs in LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. The Arizona defense is predicated upon making opposing offenses one dimensional. McCoy was held to 79 rushing yards in 2013. But if the Eagles find a way to run the ball successfully, it ruins the Cardinals' defensive game plan.
4. Big plays
Arizona has been vulnerable to the big pass play. For the most part, they keep things in front of them, but Derek Carr hit Brice Butler for 55 yards. DeSean Jackson had plays of over 60 and over 40 yards. They gave up three plays of over 30 yards to the Broncos and had a 77-yard play nullified by the dirty Julius Thomas chop block.
Philly's offense, although not as productive in 2014 as it was in 2013, is capable of big plays. Arizona's offensive play so far is not suited for shootouts, so the big play has to be eliminated. If more than one long scoring play happens, Arizona will not win the game.