The Eagles are heavy favorites heading into their Week 5 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Most odds-makers have the Eagles favored by 6.5 points.
On paper, the Eagles should win this game. The Cardinals don’t appear to be all that great. Arizona’s only two wins have come in overtime against bad teams (Colts, 49ers).
But things aren’t always that simple. Some feel like this weekend could a “trap game” situation, which is a little ridiculous to me because people said that prior to the Eagles’ last two wins as well. Still, it’s the NFL — Any Given Sunday and all that jazz.
If you’re feeling worried about this game, today’s post might have you feeling a little more confident about the Eagles’ chances.
Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Revenge Of The Birds on Thursday in order to preview this Week 5 matchup.
Today, we're back with three 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 are three reasons why the Cardinals could lose, as written by ROTB’s Seth Cox. Stay tuned to Revenge Of The Birds to see why I think the Eagles could lose.
Why the Cardinals will lose
The Arizona Cardinals are coming off their second win of the season. Their two wins are both overtime wins, one against the Indianapolis Colts and one against the San Francisco 49ers, two teams who look like they could be fighting for the first pick (unless Andrew Luck comes back).
On the flipside, their two losses are against the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, two teams who look like playoff contenders in the NFC.
Now, they get another playoff contender in the Philadelphia Eagles, on the road, in a 10am Arizona start time.
If that isn’t a reason the Cardinals will lose, here are three more.
The Cardinals have allowed the most sacks in the NFL, tied with the Houston Texans at 17, but the last two games, they have allowed 12 sacks, that’s against the Cowboys and 49ers, not exactly known for their ferocious front.
Yet, in those two games, Carson Palmer has thrown the ball 99 times… NINETY NINE! So, in the last two games, with wet paper towels manning the offensive line, the Cardinals have dropped back to pass 111 times.
It actually makes sense though, because against the Cowboys they carried the ball 21 times for 49 yards, 2.3 yards per carry, and 22 carries for 51 yards… 2.3 yards per carry. So, throwing the ball an extraordinarily high amount of times makes sense.
That will play into the Eagles strength on defense, their front seven.
They have ten sacks as a team, they have only allowed 283 yards rushing on the season. It is a matchup of strength for the Eagles vs weakness for the Cardinals, it favors the Eagles big time.
Cardinals Offense Hurting the Cardinals Defense
The Cardinals are building a good defense, but right now they are very much a bend but don’t break unit. That worked against bad offenses in Indy and San Fran, but didn’t work against the better, more efficient offenses.
What has been happening is the Cardinals offense has a bad series and ends up going three and out, then the Cardinals defense starts to bend, giving up a couple of first downs then forcing a punt. It hasn’t failed where the opposition will pin the Cardinals deep and then the offense goes three and out again, and all of a sudden, you see the opponent starting on the Cardinals side of the field.
Then it seems to be formulaic.
The Cardinals defense is best when playing from ahead and the offense is continually putting pressure on the opposition.
When they need to be the reason the Cardinals win ... against good teams, they have not risen to the occasion.
This isn’t an excuse. I don’t believe in blaming outside factors, injuries, refs, weather, for losses, but the reality is, this team was a fringe playoff team if completely healthy. Now, without their best player, David Johnson, two starting offensive lineman, D.J. Humphries and Mike Iupati and now without their second best pass rusher, Markus Golden, and the guy who was supposed to be their best interior pass rusher, Robert Nkemdiche, going against a team that looks like a very good NFC team, it looks like it could be too much.
The Cardinals will have to play flawless, plus take advantage of any and every mistake the Eagles make. It is asking a lot if 100% healthy, but now it seems like a huge uphill battle.