In a battle of the birds, the Arizona Cardinals take on Philadelphia this week. The Eagles’ defensive line has kept their team afloat in the wacky NFC East playoff race.
When one thinks of the Philadelphia Eagles defense, the defense the Arizona Cardinals face this week, memories usually take us to Reggie White and the classic Kelly green uniforms of the 70’s and 80’s. While this Eagles team doesn’t have a shoo-in hall of famer suiting up, this defensive line has been impressive all season.
Very quietly, the Eagles defense rank second in sacks this year with 43, just two behind the Steelers. Led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, they helped shut down Taysom Hill and the Saints last week in an upset win. So for two weeks in a row, the Cardinals have the privilege of facing a NFC east team coming off a big win in which their defensive line played a big role.
They kept New Orleans scoreless in the first half, and created havoc with five sacks and created a 17-0 lead, exactly the same score at which the Cardinals led at halftime last week- talk about a crazy coincidence!
Philly’s rush defense was phenomenal and made the Saints one dimensional, forcing Taysom Hill to throw the ball- something he is not quite established at yet. Despite a furious rally in the second half and especially within the 4th quarter, the upset was pulled and many are wondering if this Eagles team can go on a run.
Eagles defense and the impact on Cardinals
For all their similarities, the secondary of the Eagles is much different and better statistically than that of the Giants. Philly resides in the top ten of passing yards and touchdowns allowed, but is second-worst in interceptions this year with four. Darius Slay and Jalen Mills are one of the league’s best duos, and if it wasn’t for Slay’s desire to leave Detroit, many wouldn’t know much about them.
"Coach Doug Pederson confirmed safety Rodney McLeod suffered a torn ACL, cornerback Darius Slay is in the concussion protocol and cornerback Avonte Maddox will miss some time with a knee injury.None of the three starters were able to close out Sunday’s surprising win over the Saints, who were shut out in the first half before injuries started to pile up for Philadelphia. With backups Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace and Kevon Seymour, who had not appeared in an NFL game since 2017, filling in, the Eagles managed to eke out a victory and remain just one game back in the loss column of NFC East leader Washington."
This creates a huge mismatch for them, and the Cardinals wide receiver’s have to be excited about this. Will we see more deep strikes to Deandre Hopkins? Will Fitzgerald torch the eagles like he’s done so in the past? There are many questions to ponder as to how big red will attack them from the offensive side of the ball.
So what do the Cardinals need to win from the offense?
Honestly, they can almost take the same game plan from last week and apply it here. Expect the passing game to be more of what we saw earlier in the year. Anytime you can pass the ball well, the running game should benefit as well. With inexperienced secondary players on the other side, this should open up the entire playbook, and with it some big performances could be there for the taking.
Let’s hope we can have some victory cheesesteaks as a toast to the Eagles of their effort this week.