Eagles-Cardinals Pregame ThoughtsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
The Eagles are going to have their hands full on Sunday as they try to win their third straight game. The Cardinals have a strong defense that limited the New England Patriots to 18 points last week, and Andy Reid’s offense will be without three starters with Jason Kelce down for the season and Jeremy Maclin and King Dunlap out for at least this week.
The Eagles are now counting heavily on Dallas Reynolds, Damaris Johnson, and Demetress Bell to pick up the slack and keep the offense stable against a very good defensive unit. It’s a significant turnover in one week to have 40% of the offensive line replaced, and to have your most consistent receiver unavailable.
The losses on the offensive line alone could potentially disrupt the flow and chemistry of the offense. In 2009 the Eagles saw how crippling the loss of a starting center can be when Jamaal Jackson went down in the final weeks of the season and had to be replaced by Nick Cole. Cole struggled in two starts against the Cowboys, and the entire offense became a mess as a result.
How The Cardinals Can Beat The Eagles
Arizona’s best chance to beat the Eagles will be to force Michael Vick into turnovers. The mistake-prone quarterback has turned the ball over seven times in the first two weeks of the season, and with three members of his supporting cast down for the count, he may be ripe for a few more mistakes on Sunday.
Offensively, the Arizona offensive line must step up and give Kevin Kolb the protection he needs to find his receivers and avoid mistakes of his own. The Cardinals will need to get Larry Fitzgerald more involved in the game than he was a week ago, when he recorded just one catch for four yards against the Patriots. The Cards could attack Nnamdi Asomugha through the air to try and take advantage of the veteran corner’s struggles. The former Raider hasn’t been that bad, but he’s been unreliable so far in 2012.
The Cardinals have to find a way to get their running game into high gear as well. Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams have been non-factors in the team’s 2-0 start, but that must change if this team is to continue their winning ways.
Why The Eagles Will Win
I can’t see the Arizona offense putting up more than 20 points on the Eagles’ defense. The Cardinal offense just hasn’t been crisp at all, and the Eagles defense has been playing at a high level to start the season.
The Eagles’ defensive line should be able to tee-off on Kevin Kolb, who is currently protected by one of worst offensive lines in football. Arizona also doesn’t have the running game needed to take pressure off of their quarterback, and their offense should be pretty limited in what they can accomplish all day.
Even though the Eagles’ offense is going to be without some key figures, they should still have enough firepower to outscore the Cardinals as long as Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg continue to put Michael Vick in a good position to succeed and avoid those costly mistakes.
If the Cardinals hadn’t won their first two games, I would have picked them over the Eagles. Normally this would be a trap game for the Eagles; a west coast trip is always difficult and the Cardinals have shown that they’re capable of upsetting teams with superior talent. However, I just can’t see Arizona pulling off another upset and moving to 3-0. The Philadelphia defense is just playing to well right now, and even though the Eagles’ offense is missing some key pieces, I expect Vick and his supporting cast to be able to do enough to win this game.
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