Today, BLG was kind enough to give us three reason Arizona Cardinals fans should have confidence in the Birdgang as they head east to take on the Eagles.
Why The Eagles Will Lose To The Cardinals
The Eagles are enjoying a nice start to the 2017 season. Philadelphia is 3-1 and on top of the NFC East. While they’ve played some good football, though, the Eagles aren’t without flaws.
It might sound crazy, but I still have some reservations about the Eagles’ run game. Yes, I know they went off for 407 rushing yards in their last two games. But they were also facing two of the worst run defenses in the NFL.
The Cardinals are no slouch when it comes to defending the run. Arizona has allowed the sixth fewest opponent yards per rushing attempt (3.2). They rank fifth in run defense by DVOA.
In the first two weeks of the season, Eagles running backs combined for a mere 104 yards on 33 carries (3.15 average). And that was with Darren Sproles, arguably the best back on the team, healthy and playing.
If the Eagles can’t run the ball efficiently, they’ll have to rely on Carson Wentz’s arm a lot more often. This happened in Week 2 when Wentz logged 46 pass attempts against the Chiefs. It’s not like Wentz has been bad this season, but it’d be ideal if he didn’t have to throw all game against a secondary that features players such as Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Tvyon Branch, etc.
If the Eagles’ offensive line continues to play well as it has, there’s reason to feel good about the team’s run game. But they have to prove they can do it while going up against a good defense.
Larry Fitzgerald is always a concern when the Eagles play the Cardinals. The dude just kills Philly: 50 receptions for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns. No one will be surprised if/when he adds to those totals on Sunday.
Fitzgerald isn’t the only concern for the Eagles’ defense. The Cardinals have a lot of speed at wide receiver. That’s bad news for Philadelphia’s secondary. The Eagles’ starting cornerbacks, Jalen Mills (4.61 40-yard dash) and Rasul Douglas (4.59), are not the fastest corners.
The Eagles have been too prone to giving up big passing plays. The Eagles will likely be without their best corner, Ronald Darby, and one of their best pass rushers, Fletcher Cox, again this week. Those losses obviously hurt their pass defense.
The good news for the Eagles is that their defensive line can mitigate the issues in the secondary. If the pass rush isn’t getting home, though, it could be a long day for the safeties and corners.
The fourth quarter has been a real problem for the Eagles’ defense this season. They’ve allowed 52 points there … second most in the NFL. The Eagles’ secondary has certainly contributed to their late-game struggles.
The defense’s inability to finish games strong is a concern for Philly. Fortunately the Eagles offense (and rookie kicker Jake Elliott) has been able to bail them out; the Birds rank second in fourth quarter points scored.
But the defense needs to be better moving forward. Until they prove they can play well in the final stretch of the game, there will be concern that the other team can bounce back from a deficit.