The last time Arizona flew in to Philly, the Cardinals clipped the Eagles wings in a 40-17 shakedown. That was the 2015, 13-3, Cardinals. The 7-1 on the road, Cardinals. The 187 rushing yards by David Johnson, Cardinals. That was also the Sam Bradford, Eagles. The 7-9, Eagles. Now they’re the 3-1, first place in the NFC East, Eagles. The only loss coming against the undefeated Chiefs, Eagles. They’re Carson Wentz’s, Eagles. Watch a few highlights of Wentz and you can understand why the Eagles gave up so much to get him with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Watch a couple more highlights and you’ll wonder why he didn’t go number one overall.
Making Wentz’s job a bit easier is one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks. Super Bowl Champion, LeGarette Blount, heads a rushing attack that is currently third best in the NFL. The 6’, 250lb monster back has started to find his groove and is currently averaging an even more monstrous 5.9 yards a carry. The Cardinals will look to slow Philly’s run game, preventing them from controlling the clock, but once again they will be without the help of defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemdiche went from what looked like a monster in the making, to a monster under the bed, as reoccurring injuries have turned his “breakout” year in to a mythical creature that only a child has nightmares about. Arizona also won’t have the help of outside linebacker, Markus Golden. Just when the Red Sea thought injuries couldn’t possibly get any worse, their 2016 sack leader went down with a torn ACL, ending his season. It will be up to the rookie, Hasaan Reddick, to fill some of the biggest shoes on defense. Reddick was drafted out of Temple University, so he’ll get to attempt that feat in front of family and friends as he returns to his hometown for the first time this weekend. Last week we discussed how every team has that opposing player within their division they are just sick of dealing with. Larry Fitzgerald is that guy to the 49ers. He proved it once again by ending last week’s game with a 19 yard touchdown in overtime. Well, the Eagles may not be in the Cardinals division, but he is that nuisance for them, too. He has 11 touchdowns and over 800 yards in just eight career games against the Bird Gang in green. If he harmed any more Eagles he’d be locked away for a federal offense. Larry’s good friend, Eagle’s safety Malcom Jenkins, is all too familiar with what Fitz is capable of. “He’s gone from being a number one receiver on the outside to now being a top slot receiver in the league,” said Jenkins. “I don’t think anybody questions that he’s going to be a Hall-of-Famer, and he has to know that, but is still doing the small things, the humble things like blocking not only DBs but linebackers and D-ends; he does that willingly and he does that well. He’s one of those guys that shows up. He’s the same guy every time.”
He’s questionable to play Sunday, but receiver John Brown has also fared well against Philly. In his two career games against the Eagles, “Smoke” has scored twice, one of which was a 75 yard dagger from Carson Palmer to close out a game at the University of Phoenix Stadium in 2014. Having given up two touchdowns of 75+ yards in the last two weeks, you can be assured that Cardinals Head Coach, Bruce Arians, will test Philly’s secondary some more. Wide receiver J.J. Nelson is also questionable with injury, but the Cardinals hope that they’ll have the use of “Smoke” and “Fire” (Nelson) to aid them in stealing a win from the Eagle’s nest. As six and a half point underdogs, the Red Birds will need all the help they can get. That help will need to start up front. Should Arizona’s offensive line continue to play below par, that six and a half point spread may be easy for Philly to cover. A few of the Cards interior lineman are probably thanking their lucky stars that Eagles’ defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox, has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Regardless of who is blitzing Palmer on Sunday, you can expect the Cardinals to air it out some more. CP3 is only second behind Tom Brady in total passing yards but leads the league with over 45 pass attempts a game. That will not change in week five.
It’s Carson versus Carson. Bird Gang versus Bird Gang. Sunday October 8th, 2017 at 1pm (ET).
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