For the third week in a row now, I’ve seen people suggest the Eagles are facing a “trap game.”
There’s just something about the Eagles being heavily favored that scares people.
In some ways, I get it. It’s the NFL: Any Given Sunday. And we’ve certainly seen the Eagles lose games they were favored to win on paper.
But that doesn’t mean every time the Eagles are favored to win means it’s a trap game. And yet I feel that’s how this season has gone so far. What will it take for people to start having a lot more confidence in the Eagles?
Maybe a blowout victory would help. The Eagles just might have the chance to do that today against the Cardinals. Yes, Arizona has some talented defensive players, but their offense struggles to score — 17.2 points per game, 26th in the NFL.
The Cardinals’ offensive struggles could very well continue this week. The Eagles’ defensive line going up against their offensive line figures to be a big mismatch. It’ll be critical to get pressure on Carson Palmer. Arizona has a number of speedy wide receivers and they’ll likely look to air it out during the course of the game. It’d be surprising to see the Cardinals get as conservative as the Giants did in Week 3.
Philadelphia’s offense will likely have a hard time running the ball as effectively as they did the past two weeks. The Cardinals’ run defense is much better than the units the Eagles have faced recently. With Wendell Smallwood out, the Eagles will be counting on the likes of LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement to pound the rock.
The running game might become even more important in this matchup depending on how the weather holds up. As of now, it’s expected to be rainy and windy at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cardinals haven’t been able to run the ball well while the Eagles have, so the elements could be in Philly’s favor.
But it’s not like the Eagles are going to shy away from their passing attack completely. Carson Wentz is coming off one of the better games of his career. He’s given the Eagles plenty of reason to trust him as he controls the offense. One matchup that could really work in Philly’s favor is Torrey Smith versus Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel. Smith has struggled to actually, you know, catch the ball but he’s still capable of getting open deep. When it comes to the Alshon Jeffery matchup, I wouldn’t expect Wentz to avoid throwing his way just because Patrick Peterson will be shadowing him. The Eagles weren’t totally shy to throw towards Josh Norman in Week 1 and Marcus Peters in Week 2. Wentz has to pick his spots and be careful with the ball.
There’s no real good reason the Eagles should lose this game. The West Coast area Cardinals are traveling east to play a 1:00 PM game. Arizona’s track record this seaosn isn’t very impressive. The Eagles are home.
I don’t think the Eagles can lose this game by being simply outclassed. They’d have to beat themselves in order to fall short. The feeling here is that won’t happen. Philadelphia is poised to take care of business today. Bruce Arians’ side probably won’t go down easy, but I still think the Eagles can finish with a comfortable double-digit margin of victory.
Trap game be damned.
Score prediction: Eagles win, 28-17.
Bold prediction: Derek Barnett finishes with two sacks and one interception.
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