Three-And-Out: Eagles-Cardinals Predictions

Nate AllenPlayer I’ll be watching:

McManus: Nate Allen.

Did you know that through 11 games, Allen has only been charged with two missed tackles? He exceeded that number by Week 3 last year (and missed 13 tackles overall). It really has been something to watch the former second-round pick transform into a steady, effective safety after a couple really shaky seasons. It’s to be determined whether he can keep it up, but there’s no question Allen is playing the best football of his career right now.


"I think Nate has continued week‑in and week out to take big strides and just playing solid football," said Billy Davis. "It's not all these big plays and everybody says oh, there is Nate.  It's just down in and down out, Nate is taking care of his job and it's helping the defense."

Sunday will present Allen and the rest of the secondary with a pretty stiff test. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are large, talented receivers that have nearly 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns between them this season. The corners will need the help of Allen and Patrick Chung to keep this duo corralled.

Kapadia: DeSean Jackson

The Eagles' speedy receiver is on pace for the best year of his career. But this week presents a unique challenge as he could be shadowed by shutdown corner Patrick Peterson. If there's any corner in the league who has the speed to keep up with Jackson, it's Peterson. The third-year player and two-time Pro Bowler ran a 4.34 coming out of college.

The Eagles lead the NFL with 56 pass plays of 20+ yards. The Cardinals have only given up 29 (seventh-fewest). Big plays require a number of elements. The protection has to hold up. The throw has to be on target. And the receiver has to create separation. If the Eagles can hit on downfield throws against Arizona, they should be able to connect on them against any defense in the NFL.

Prop bet of the week:

LeSean McCoy rushing yards -- 76. Whaddya got?

McManus: I'm saying under. I chose that number because that has been McCoy's average over the last five games. In three of those contests he was held to 55 rushing yards or less. I'm curious to see if Chip Kelly adjusts his ground attack so that it features less zone read.

The league's leading rusher faces the No. 2 rushing defense in the league. Arizona is allowing just 81.3 yards per game on the ground. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made it known that he is more concerned with stopping McCoy than he is Nick Foles. Expect the Cards to key heavy on the ground game, as most Eagles' opponents have this season.

Kapadia: I'm with you, T-Mac. I hate to read too much into body language, but when I asked McCoy earlier this week about why he's seeing so much traffic behind the line of scrimmage, he shot me a look that seemed to say: I'm glad someone noticed!

Arizona has the front-seven talent to win one-on-one matchups against the Eagles' offensive line and tight ends. The Cardinals really trust their cornerbacks to cover, so if they have to devote extra bodies to stopping McCoy, they'll do so.

I think Kelly probably has a few tricks up his sleeve, but McCoy could have a tough time breaking off big runs, so I'm taking the under.

Predictions:

McManus: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23.

I was close to calling this an Eagles loss. I believe the disruptive Arizona defense will drag Foles back down to Earth some and, as stated above, I think the ground game will be contained for the most part. Tough matchup overall for the Eagles. The Cardinals, though, are coming off a big win over Indianapolis and now travel to the East Coast for a 1 o'clock game in Philly. Possible letdown situation, even for a Cards team that is trying to make a playoff push. Meanwhile, the Eagles are healthy and fresh after a week off.

Kelly had an additional week to prepare, the players had a week to rest, and that should give the Eagles a slight edge against a pretty good Arizona team.

Kapadia: Eagles 20, Cardinals 14.

I see a comfort level with the Eagles' defense that I believe will make the difference in this game. Against the top QBs in the league, Billy Davis' group will probably still struggle. But I'm not buying the hype surrounding Carson Palmer and the Cardinals' offense. Palmer's thrown the third-most interceptions in the league, and the Eagles have 13 picks (tied for eighth-most) on the season.

Rashard Mendenhall has been unimpressive, and Andre Ellington is banged-up (knee). If the Eagles can make the Cardinals one-dimensional, they should be able to win some matchups up front and get to Palmer.

Offensively, it's all about taking care of the ball. Maybe the Eagles will surprise and move the ball up and down the field on the Cardinals. But I'm a believer in Arizona's defense. Foles is going to take some hits, but he needs to protect the ball at all costs and realize punts are not the worst thing in the world. In other words, he needs to play how he's been playing.

Look for a close game throughout. The Eagles' defense produces a second-half turnover that sets up the game-winning score.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • GumboGumbo

    Birds defense is the difference maker for this game. If they can get pressure on Palmer and keep Fitz under control they’ll be fine. Birds offense will find a way to put points up.

    • GEAGLE

      Screw Fitz…if our front 7 plays up to their potential Fitzy won’t even matter

  • Adam

    I’d really enjoy reading a Q&A with Nate Allen. What he attributes his better play to this year, why he thought he struggled in the past, relationship with the fans, what he thinks about his future in Philadelphia etc.. Maybe he doesn’t talk much to the media, though.

    I know you guys probably don’t take requests but think about it!

    • G_WallyHunter

      Birds 24/7 exclusive interview?
      I can see it coming, especially if Nate keeps playing like this.
      Like you said, he might be a media avoider all together..

    • GEAGLE

      He is a bad interview…curry would be better

    • OregonDucker

      I read an interview with Nate where he commented about how he fixed his poor tackling. One of the D coaches said he needed to keep his head on the body of the runner, not outside. If his head is outside, it’s an arm tackle and that was Nate’s problem.

  • GEAGLE

    Shadys rushing yards is over rated…who cares if they hold him to 30yards rushing, if he has 100yards Recieving?
    ..
    Now if you change it to over understand on TOTAL yards for Shady, that would be much more meaningful

    And Nates stats are bogus. I can remember games like the chargers and Cheifs were he had more than two missed tackles in a game…now few players have improved as mic as Nate, but only missing two tackles is absurd

    • anon

      ESP if the title of your position is called safety

  • GEAGLE

    Kelce: “this is a big test that we as an Oline are looking forward two. They have two of the best interior linemen in the league. If we can handle those two and all the exotic blitzes Nick will be able to do work”….get em KELCE DOGG..

  • TNA

    Arians said that his defense and special teams are playing really well, but I think he’s only right on one of those two counts. I think AZ special teams are vulnerable on both the coverage and receiving end; Smith (or whoever is returning kickoffs could have a huge day).

    Even if Ellington is out or limited, the Eagles LBs, safeties and Boykin will have to have their heads on a swivel. In addition to Fitz and Floyd, Andre Roberts could cause a lot of problems the same way Donnie Avery did in the KC game. Also can’t sleep on Housler.

    The Cards do a good job of being efficient and mixing up the superquick hits and play-action bombs. However, as has been the key all season, the Eagles defense forces offenses to run a lot of short game, which increases the chances that the offense will make a mistake or throw an INT; and Palmer is prone to throw some INT opps because of tunnel vision – Palmer’s spreading of the ball has more to do with the play calls than his vision. This could be a really long day on the field for the Eagles defense, but one in which they could be successful in eventually getting turnovers and limiting points.

    On offense, the Cards may stop McCoy from rushing over 76 yards, but I’ll bet that McCoy does more damage in the passing game, especially on a wheel play. And if the Eagles are doing their quick hike offense, there will inevitably be a numbers advantage on one of the dual triple stack packages in which AZ calls a blitz. They’ve got to successfully execute these opportunities for big gains.

    • Adam

      ^ Good stuff

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    I think the game is a blowout – 37-15. Just not sure who’s getting blown out. Really could go either way.

    • Adam

      Predicting the score but not the winner? That’s uhh.. an interesting way of doing it

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        I did say I thought it would be a blow out. Either guy. hence the no call for a team yet still a score.

      • Richard Colton

        I predict one of the teams will score first.

        • Max Lightfoot

          Who can go wrong with that?

        • G_WallyHunter

          Both Ds are real hot, could see it possibly being a tie 0 0

        • Dominik

          So, no 0-0 tie. That’s a prediction, my friend. What are the odds for that one? I’m gonna be rich.

      • theycallmerob

        I’m willing to put money down that it does not end in a tie

        • Adam

          Alright Donovan

        • nicksaenz1

          That’s a bold strategy, Cotton.

        • Andy124

          I’m not a gambling man, but since we’re all going out on limbs here, I bet the Birds win.

  • BlindChow

    …two-time Pro Bowler…

    Patrick Peterson’s first Pro Bowl was as a returner, not a CB. Just thought I’d mention it here, as the TV announcers never seem to, always touting both Pro Bowls when hyping his skills as a corner.

    Not that his returns aren’t something to keep an eye on, but the last two years the Eagles have kept him in check.

    • GEAGLE

      FOles wasn’t afraid to go after Revis, and I just don’t see a Dialed in Desean getting shut down for an entire game..Patterson is a damn good CB, but all it takes is one play for Desean to do serious damage….I respect the hell out of PP, but I still say Desean has one of those 3 catches, 98yards and a TD games!!!

      Who is the #2 CB for the cardinals? Is not still Toler right?

      • theycallmerob

        Jerraud Powers. Honey Badger is their nickel/do-it-all/boykin clone

        • GEAGLE

          Thank you

  • GEAGLE

    Tired of all the Carson Palmer Love. This is a dude who has 16TDs and 15INTs and he has two monster WRs to work with. One of the best attributes of our defense is that we have made some teams with much better RBs than the cardinals one dimensional because we have consistently shut down opponents run game..This average Oline and these average RBs are NOT going to be the team that penetrates our STOUT Run defense…it’s just NOT GOING to happen!!!

    And when you take a teams RBs out of the game, you become one dimensional…when that happens, Carson typically unravels and starts turning the ball over. last years defense couldn’t create a turnover to save their lives…we are no longer dropping INTs…guys are hitting hard, forcing fumbles, catching INTs. our Guys have been making plays, and once we shut down their run game, Carson will give us opportunities to make a play….I say, THIS defense takes advantage and we make those plays…if that happens, we win this game!!! If Cole,Barwin and cox play like they did against Washington, Carson is in trouble

    • anon

      Theyve been one dimensional all year – i’ll be willing to say how legit we are based on this game — this is the first time we’ve played a real +.500 team since Vick went out. Let’s hope they play lots of zone.

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        All for the zone. But they are a man team..even in zone-ish coverage they play man concepts.

    • Justin

      I wanna see Barwin level Palmer like he did Griffin.

      • OregonDucker

        He will. Bet on it!

  • GEAGLE

    Man…I was just looking at teams salary cap situations, and the Seahawks better hurry up and win a Sb because they will have to give out a ton of serious pay raises to a bunch of players. The best part is they have studs like Richard Sherman who are making $500k, and they are going to have to invest $40mil plus to retain, and they have multiple guys in sHermans situation to extend every offseason for the next 3 years, so there will be some really good players that they can’t franchise who will probably hit the market…the dream is to steal away Sherm,Earl or Wagz in the next couple of years…I’m not suggesting we hold our breathe lol

    • anon

      yeah thats why they went all in on that harvin trade. gotta pay the half of ther secondary that isnt gtting kicked out of the league, plus pass rushers and r wilson

      • GEAGLE

        QB
        secondary
        Wagner will cost money
        Pass rushers galore
        They desperately need to upgrade their OTs
        ..
        I like Seattle. I root for them in games that have nothing to do with us because I like the way they play football:
        nasty defense
        Smart QB
        BEASTMODE run game
        And my brother is a Seattle season ticket holder
        ..
        But if they don’t get a SB before this windown closes they will have blown a major opportunity…look what happened to the Falcons:
        Julio blew out his ACL who knows what he will look like
        Roddy’s getting old and body is breaking down
        They play musical chairs at RB
        Gonzo is retiring
        Oline still needs help

        This was a team who was poised to be a serious contender…

    • Justin

      Yeah, I heard that a couple weeks ago. They gotta win it in the next like 3-4 years before all those big money contracts come up.

  • GEAGLE

    Check out the Cary interview where he is talking about tasting his 2nd SB

    • G_WallyHunter

      U srs lol, he mentioned a second SB wtfff

      • GEAGLE

        PE.com video talking about Eagles after the bye week..

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    Like all of my predictions, this and a buck will get you a newspaper. Eagles 20, Cards 17. An ugly win that looks beautiful at the end of the year.

  • theycallmerob

    I get all the hype re: Djax, Fitz, Peterson, McCoy et. al., but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the trenches.
    The Big 3 inside for each team- Mathis, Kelce, and Herremans vs. Dockett, Williams, and Campbell. If our 3 hold up, Foles and McCoy will win this game.
    And I think our defensive streak keeps up (< 21). Big division win at home- to break the streak- before going into the bye? Fans making mixed drink cocktails with everything-that's-left-from-thanksgiving? 1st place race on the line? Big performance, maybe even a defensive/ST TD. Just need a few scores…..

    • GEAGLE

      Yeah I’m with you…trenches will be key…I say our Oline holds up better against their front, then their Oline holds up against our front…. COx was abusing Trent Williams and they don’t have an Olinemen close to as good as him

  • Dr. Killinger

    Early in the season, Allen was playing terribly flat footed. You could see the hesitation in his reactions to read/run plays. Billy Davis and the coaching staff have done an amazing job in addressing his issues. From week 1 to now, he may be the most drastically improved player.

  • Max Lightfoot

    I would love to see Carson Palmer get rolled, as I’ve always felt he’s been somewhat overrated. Their defense is awesome but I’m hoping our O-line fellas can come up huge tomorrow. Foles will need that. Go Eags!

  • mtn_green

    Eagles haven’t stopped a good offense yet, Dallas doesn’t count. Palmer is terrible but the kind of QB that gives eagles d fits. Quick passing vet.
    Turnovers, AZ coughs it up, eagles don’t. Eagles don’t turn it over more than once, WIN.

    • theycallmerob

      why does Dallas not count? does that mean WAS doesn’t count either?