Battle of the Birds: Eagles vs Cardinals Preview
The Philadelphia Eagles will travel to Arizona to face Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals today at 4:05 PM. The Eagles will look to continue to build momentum and keep their playoff hopes alive after a 24-21 upset win vs the New Orleans Saints last week at home, which snapped a brutal four-game losing streak.
The Cardinals look to pull themselves out of a mid-season funk where they lost three straight games. They were able to break that skid last week with a 26-7 victory vs the New York Giants. Expect a playoff atmosphere between two young, electric quarterbacks. All eyes will be on Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts as they look to pick apart the opposing defenses in the rushing and passing game.
Running Game vs Cardinals Defense
Last week, Jalen Hurts was able to avoid pressure from the New Orleans Saints by using his legs to extend plays. Hurts carved up the Saints defense mainly on the ground, carrying the ball 18 times for 106 yards. Miles Sanders was also a key part of the Eagles ground attack, running the ball 14 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
This week, Hurts and Sanders will have to face an Arizona Cardinals defense that has played extremely well during last week’s win over the New York Giants. The Cardinals had eight sacks, five of which came from Hasson Reddick.
Kyler Murray vs Eagles Defense
The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed 364 rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks this season. Lamar Jackson ran for 108 yards during Baltimore’s win vs the Eagles in October and Daniel Jones ran for a total of 156 yards in two games vs the Eagles for the Giants. Murray has 712 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground this season for the Cardinals in 13 games.
The Eagles need to get to Murray and contain him as much as possible. With an already depleted secondary, it’ll be important that the Eagles don’t allow Murray to extend plays with his feet and break off big runs or give his receivers enough time to find openings in the secondary.
The Eagles linebackers have struggled against tight ends all season long. This week, they will face Cardinals tight end Dan Arnold, who has become an important part of the Cardinals offense over the past four weeks. Arnold has four touchdowns over his past four games and has become a favorite target for Kyler Murray. The Eagles linebackers cannot lose track of Arnold as Murray tries to extend plays outside of the pocket.
DeAndre Hopkins vs Eagles Secondary
The Eagles are without cornerbacks Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox. They are also down a safety, with Rodney McLeod suffering a season-ending ACL tear last Sunday vs the Saints. The banged up Eagles secondary will have to deal with DeAndre Hopkins who is one of three wide receivers in the NFL with at least 90 receptions and 1,000 yards this season. To think that the Eagles will be able to shut down Hopkins is surely a pipe-dream. However, containing him and limiting any big plays from the wide receiver will be important if the Eagles defense wants to keep their offense in the game.
Eagles Offensive Line
The Eagles did not allow a sack last week vs the New Orleans Saints after allowing a miserable 53 sacks in the first 12 games this season. This week, the Eagles will be starting their 12th different offensive line combination over the last 13 games. Rookie Jack Driscoll was injured last week and Matt Pryor will be taking his spot today.
The Eagles will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss AND a Washington win. They enter this week with just a 6.5% chance of making the playoffs but will jump to 18% with a win.
The Cardinals are 7-6 on the year and are also fighting for a playoff spot. They enter this week with a 56% chance to make the playoffs. With a win, that number will increase to 65%. With a loss, the number plummets to 25%.
Arizona is 3-6 ATS as a favorite with Murray and 1-4 ATS as a home favorite, which definitely makes the Eagles +6.5 an intriguing bet this week.
Miles Sanders had 36 receiving yards last week vs the New Orleans Saints. Look for him to get more involved in the passing game this week. On the other hand, look for the Eagles to attempt to get the ball in Jalen Reagor’s hands as much as possible. Reagor broke off a 19-yard run last week vs the Saints.
Much like last week, the Eagles will find success in the running game and Jalen Hurts will be able to use his legs to limit negative plays against the Cardinals defense. The game will be a fight to the end, with the Eagles winning 27-24.
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Inquirer