As the end of the regular season is near, the magnitude of every game increases. The Eagles are tied with the Cowboys for first place, making this Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals a crucial one.
While much has been made about the Eagles three game winning streak that has happened under the lead of backup quarterback Nick Foles, the Cardinals have put together an impressive string of games themselves, as they will be looking for their 5th consecutive win on Sunday in Philly.
With a spectacular defense engineered by former Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, a veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer, and arguably one of the best receivers in football, Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have forced teams around the NFC to take notice.
The Cardinals are full of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, and they will be attempting to put a stop to an offense that has been at the top of its game.
Patrick Peterson will be covering Desean Jackson for the majority of the game. While both players are in the NFL’s elite when it comes to flat out speed, Peterson has the advantage in size, which is usually the case given Jackson’s 5’10, 175 pound frame.
Darnell Dockett and Daryl Washington will be looking to contain the quickness of the NFL’s leading rusher, Lesean McCoy. And Calais Cambell will be feasting his eyes on Nick Foles, although he will have to get past a solid offensive line to reach his prey.
Prior to the Eagles’ bye week, Riley Cooper had become Foles’ favorite target in the passing game. Cooper has scored seven touchdowns this season and has displayed an ability to beat defenses deep.
Along with Cooper, tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz have become prominent weapons in the Eagles’ offense.
While the Cardinals have all of the tools to counter the Eagles’ dynamic offense, their defensive strategy of substituting players in and out of the game on a frequent basis may hurt them in this one, because of the fast pace at which the Eagles run their offense.
If the Eagles are able to execute their hurry up offense like they have in recent weeks, the Cardinals defense, especially the defensive line, will be forced to exert more energy, due to the added number of plays they will be attempting to run on the field.
It is naïve for the Eagles to look past this Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and to focus on any other upcoming opponents. However, given the tightness of the NFC East, getting a win against Arizona would be crucial because of the toughness of their remaining five games.
After the Cardinals, the Eagles will welcome the Vikings to Lincoln Financial Field, then make a trip to Detroit to face the Lions, followed by a game at home against the Bears, and cap off the season against, none other than, the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys too have quite a tough schedule, as they round off the season against the Raiders, Bears, Packers, and Redskins before playing the Eagles.
An Eagles victory against the Cardinals would be their best quality win of the year and would be the ideal start for a string of five must-win games.