The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles play tonight on Sunday Night Football with a lot on the line. Arizona can clinch the NFC West with a win and the Eagles can even their record and set themselves up for a possible division title with another win next week. So this is a potential playoff preview, although in the postseason, they would face one another in Arizona, were it to happen.
Both teams are on winning streaks. Arizona has won seven straight, including four straight on national TV in prime time games. Philly, after two brutal losses in which they allowed 45 points in each, has bounced back with two straight wins, including one of the New England Patriots.
What matchups matter? Here are some.
Fletcher Cox vs. Cardinals interior line
Cox has 6.5 sacks on the season and has been a wrecking ball inside all season. He is the key cog on the Philly defense. He will line up primarily against Ted Larsen at right guard, who has graded out poorly in recent weeks by Pro Football Focus. It is possible the Cardinals are without starting center Lyle Sendlein as well. The right side of the line has been the weak spot for Arizona. Can they keep Cox out of the backfield?
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Eagles secondary
Fitz lines up all over the place and has a history of success against the Eagles. He has scored 11 TDs in seven career games, getting at least one in every single contest. PHilly has allowed 29 passing touchdowns, second most in the league.
Zack Ertz vs. Tyrann Mathieu/Tony Jefferson/Deone Bucannon
The tight end position has been an area that has hurt the Cardinals. Tyler Eifert scored twice against them. Gary Barnage scored. Vance McDonald and Kyle Rudolph each had six catches against the Cardinals. Sam Bradford likes throwing the ball to Ertz. Ertz had five receptions for 98 yards last week against Buffalo. With Patrick Peterson all but erasing most receivers he faces, the tight end becomes a popular target. Can they keep him in check?
Cardinals LBs vs. pass-catching running backs
The Eagles love to throw the ball to their backs. Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews have combined for 99 receptions. Arizona has given up their fair share of receiving yards to backs. With Arizona's aggressive blitzes, they can be vulnerable to dumpoffs to the backs.
James Bettcher vs Chip Kelly
Bettcher has done a fine job this season with his defensive playcalling, but has appeared to be outcoached by some of the best offensive minds in Todd Haley and Norv Turner. Will Chip Kelly be the next one?
Carson Palmer vs. Philly secondary
Palmer has been one of the league's best quarterbacks all season, passing for 31 touchdowns and over 4000 yards. The Eagles secondary has allowed 29 passing touchdowns, the second-highest total for a team this season and nearly 260 yards per game.