The Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) and the Arizona Cardinals (7-6) are set to play this Sunday at State Farm Stadium. In order to preview this Week 15 matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Revenge Of The Birds. The supreme Seth Cox kindly took the time to answer my questions about this upcoming tilt. Let’s take a look at his answers. (Don’t forget to also check out my side of the exchange over at ROTB.)
1 - What’s the confidence level in Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury in their second years on the job?
There seems to be a growing confidence in Kyler Murray and what he can be, while there is concern on whether Kliff is the long-term solution.
Kyler’s performance has been up and down, but he’s on the brink of becoming a star. He has ability few others possess and he seems to be finding his footing in the NFL.
While there are still lulls in his play, there are still bumps in the road and still big strides that need to be made, he’s put together a great second season and looks poised to be among the better quarterbacks in the NFL moving forward. While he’s unlikely to reach Patrick Mahomes level (who could?) he seems to be on the right trajectory.
Kliff on the other hand has been up and down in ways that make people question if he is the guy. He’s made some mistakes over and over again and that makes people question things. I tend to be okay with the way Kliff has handled much of this season because it shows he’s got two big things I believe good head coaches need:
- An undying belief in his players. He has put guys out in a position and allowed them to fail over and over. Some may think that’s a way to cause yourself to fail, but the reality is players appreciate an opportunity to show they can make plays.
- When he does adapt and change, he does so without stubbornness. He takes the Blake and continues to try and get his players in a position to be successful.
The little things that annoy fans about Kliff; time management, situational play selection will get better with time and experience calling NFL games. If they don’t, then the fans eager to move on are right, but I think the turnaround he’s been key in orchestrating gives him time.
2 - Arizona’s defense ranks 8th in opponent yards per play and ninth in defensive DVOA. Seems like a pretty solid unit. What’s gone into the success on that side of the ball?
Adding talent? That may seem simple, but it’s the truth.
If you look at the Arizona Cardinals defensive starters from game one to their three game losing streak, you see how the money and draft picks they spent on the defensive line absent. Having players like Jordan Phillips, Zach Allen (2019 third round pick), Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence (2020 fourth round picks) is key to the defenses success.
When they have most of their projected starters, obviously sans Chandler Jones and Corey Peters who were lost for the season, they tend to play well. Amazing when you think about how simple it is, but the talent allows Vance Joseph to deploy the defense in the manner he had hoped to.
Outside of that, Haason Reddick has been a godsend replacing Chandler Jones. Obviously his five sacks against the Giants is the headline, but he’s been good on the edge almost all season. They added Markus Golden via trade, and then of course Isaiah Simmons in the draft.
Combine that with Budda Baker being one of the best defensive players in the league and the talent is better. Which coincides with the defense being better as well.
3 - What is the Cardinals’ biggest strength? How should they be attacking the Eagles?
It’s weird, because for a team fighting for the playoffs, I think their biggest strength is that they can adapt.
We’ve seen them win with a dominant defense and grind it out running game against the Giants, we’ve seen them win with a big play passing game and opportunistic defense in their win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football and we’ve seen a balanced attack all the way back in game one of the regular season.
More than anything right now they seem to be leaning on a steady diet of Kenyan Drake and picking their spots to run Kyler Murray. A short, quick passing game is keeping pass rushes at bay and allowing the offense to stay balanced.
I think that passing game and especially those quick throws will be on display on Sunday against a depleted Eagles secondary and a great Eagles pass rush and defensive line. I don’t know how much they’ll be able to run the ball early, but if they get ahead, it should open up.
4 - What is the Cardinals’ biggest weakness? What should the Eagles be looking to exploit?
See above. While being a chameleon can be good, they don’t have anything to hang their hat on right now when it comes to consistency. If the Cardinals run game isn’t there it could be a long day because their passing game has been DeAndre Hopkins and pray. If I’m the Eagles I sell out to stop the run. I know that seems counter intuitive, but we’ve seen the Cardinals passing game struggle to get on track early against the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers and it cost them the game. If you force them to be one dimensional throwing, it could pay off.
5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Cardinals season?
I hate picking the Cardinals to win and I’m still just completely baffled how this Eagles team is so bad (no offense). I think what we saw last week defensively was what I was expecting from the Eagles and why I’m still terrified of this team in December in a dome.
Add in the Jalen Hurts and I’m not loving this game.
However, I want to believe that this team is on the right path and that means winning games at home late in the season when you are trying to secure a playoff spot.
So, I tenuously say the Arizona Cardinals win this game 28-20.
If the Cardinals get to 8 wins that is a huge accomplishment considering where they were two years ago but starting off 6-3, I think most would be disappointed without at least a playoff appearance this season. If they can get there, they went from 3-13, a new head coach, a new quarterback picked first overall to the playoffs in two seasons. It’ll be impressive.
I also want to say good luck and I hope we have a great, injury free game on Sunday.