Today, the Eagles take on the Arizona Cardinals in a tale of the two birds. The Eagles look to build momentum and keep their lead in NFC East, while the Cardinals are looking to stay in the chase for the NFC West. Make no mistake about it, this game is a big one for both teams.
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For the Eagles to win, a couple things are going to have to happen. With that being said, here are the three things that need to happen and the three things you should be watching for.
1. Eagles need to establish the run
The Cardinals come into this game with the 10th best run defense, only letting up 88 yards a game. They are one of the best defending the run and historically, the Eagles have struggled against them in the run.
However, having just come off a big day on the ground in Los Angeles, the EAgles are high with confidence and ready to give it to the Cardinals. As a team, the Eagles rushed for 214 yards on 42 carries. The had success early and stuck to it all game. This led to them completely dominating in time of possession and for the most part, dominating the game.
However, this game does offer a little bit different of a challenge because Wendell Smallwood is out with a knee injury. Smallwood rushed for 34 yards and one touchdown last week, while also adding 45 receiving yards to his total. He had a big role, a role that is now missing today against the Cardinals. The Eagles are going to need either Corey Clement or Kenjon Barner to fill that role, watch for that.
2. Pressure Palmer
Can the Eagles pressure the league’s most hit quarterback? Yes, Palmer has been hit a ton over the duration of this season so far, With the Cardinals leaning on Palmer, he is throwing the ball to much, last week he threw 51 passes. With that being said, the Cardinals offensive line is not good enough to handle that amount of passing plays. As a direct result, Palmer has been sacked 17 times already and hit a bunch more.
The Eagles who struggled to sack Eli Manning, who also has a bad line, need to make sure they get to Palmer today. The Cardinals are a very one-dimensional team, so if the Eagles get to Palmer, the game is over for them.
3. Alshon Jeffery eruption
Alshon Jeffery has been very good this season, but he has yet to have one of those patented wide receivers one games. I’m talking like, ten catches for 150 yards and one touchdown. Even though football is not all about statistics and Jeffery’s impact is much more than just catching a football, the Eagles and the Eagles faithful will love to see that kind of game from their prized free agent signing.
So far this season, Jeffery has caught 17 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. There is something about today’s game that says, Jeffery to go off. Two weeks ago, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler caught two big jump ball plays against the Cardinals, even one resulting in a touchdown. Expect to see Jeffery get some jump balls and go off today versus the Cardinals, it was bound to happen, the Cardinals are just the unlucky ones it is going to happen to.