Next in our installment of previewing the Eagles schedule is their Week 5 opponent, the Cardinals.
Lost: DE Calais Campbell, CB Marcus Cooper, TE Darren Fells, S Tony Jefferson, LB Kevin Minter, LB Alex Okafor, S DJ Swearinger, G Earl Wafford
Added: S Antoine Bethea, LB Carlos Dansby, K Phil Dawson, LB Jarvis Jones
Drafted: LB Haason Reddick, S Budda Baker, WR Chad Williams, G Dorian Johnson, T Will Holden, RB TJ Logan, S Jonathan Ford
Why they’ll lose to the Eagles
Because they were mediocre last year and their old core is another year older. After a career year in 2015, Carson Palmer regressed back to career norms in 2016 and is now 37. Larry Fitzgerald’s 9.6 yards per reception was by far a career low, his 11.1 in 2015 was then a career low, he will be 34 when the season starts—he’ll be the oldest wide receiver in the league in 2017. Three offensive linemen, Jared Veldheer, AQ Shipley and Mike Iupati are all 30 or over. And they didn’t add any difference makers on offense to help make up for the aging curve’s decline in production, not until the 3rd round did they draft an offensive player, and it was from an FCS school, and they signed no starters. It’s not hard to see the Cardinals offense, which last year had the 7th most turnovers, finished 21st in DVOA, and wasn’t particularly efficient at anything, further regress.
And as good as the Cardinals defense is, the whole team struggled on the road, giving up 30 points in five road games in 2016, at home they gave up more than 24 just once. This game is in Philly. And they could have an adjustment period early in the season, five of their top seven defenders by snap counts have departed.
Finally, under Bruce Arians, the Cardinals special teams have been mostly terrible. The Eagles should have a real advantage here.
Why they’ll beat the Eagles
The Cardinals defense still has plenty of talent, and with the NFL’s small sample size seasons, their road struggles in 2016 could be misleading. Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, Tyrann Mathieu, and Deone Bucannon are all in their primes, and they added two strong talents in Haason Reddick and Budda Baker in the draft. The Cardinals defense was 1st in the league in pure sack rate and 3rd in adjusted sack rate, Carson Wentz could be in for a long afternoon.
A last hurrah bounce from Palmer and Fitzgerald is possible and not unprecedented, and Bruce Arians is one of the better play callers in the league. 2016 league leader in yards from scrimmage David Johnson is capable of taking over games, and the Eagles struggled against lesser backs at times last season.
Who wins the Eagles-Cardinals game?
This poll is closed