Coach of the Year buzz for Chip Kelly and a lot of writers picking the Cardinals to beat the Eagles. Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com is looking forward to Sunday’s matchup:
I love the Arizona-Philadelphia game. It’s a matchup of a classic, traditional offensive coach, Bruce Arians, with a deep-ball-throwing quarterback, Carson Palmer, against a new-wave offensive coach, Chip Kelly, who like to play fast and has a smart quarterback, Nick Foles, to run his offense the way he wants.
Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com goes with the Cardinals, 31-26:
Because it’s important to mention and you really care, I’ve been picking the Cardinals every week since their Thursday night loss to the Seahawks and they haven’t dropped one since. I know they’re traveling across the country. I know they’re playing a team coming off its bye. I know the kickoff will be at 10 a.m. local time for the Cardinals players. And I know the Eagles look like the team we thought we were going to see after their Week 1 smashing of the Redskins. But guess what? I don’t care! The Cardinals defense will keep former University of Arizona star Nick Foles in check and a rejuvenated Carson Palmer will throw all over the Eagles D.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com goes with Arizona, 26-24:
Nick Foles’ interception streak comes to an end. If there is one contest on the Week 13 slate that could go either way, it’s Cardinals at Eagles at the Linc. Who wins likely will be determined by which quarterback makes the big turnover. Foles has been nearly flawless, at least when it comes to ball security. Facing an Arizona defense that has 15 interceptions (tied for third in the NFL) will pose a challenge to the second-year pro. Carson Palmer has been almost error-free over the last two games, and if you broaden that out to four games, his numbers read very well: eight touchdowns with two interceptions and a passer rating well north of 100. This is a game that Chip Kelly might want to go up-tempo, because LeSean McCoy will have trouble against a rested Arizona front that’s allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFC (81.3 yards per game).
ESPN.com’s John Clayton previews the matchup:
Chip Kelly has the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense on track possibly to win the NFC East. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has Carson Palmer clicking at quarterback and Michael Floyd developing at wide receiver. Sunday’s meeting in Philadelphia could actually be a playoff preview. Of the two, the Cardinals might be the hotter team. Their defense isn’t getting enough credit for how good it is. Defenders fly to the football as fast as any team in the league. The defense has star power, and the schemes are creative. But the big story has been Palmer. Over the past three games, he has been almost unstoppable. He’s completed better than 70 percent of his passes over the past two games and has averaged two touchdowns a game over the past three. The key for him has been cutting down on his interceptions.
Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com previews the game:
Everyone talks about Chip Kelly’s creative offense. What about Bruce Arians’ scheme? Philosophically, Arians’ system has the same objective as Kelly’s: to create favorable one-on-one matchups for receivers in open space. The difference is how they go about it. Kelly uses spread formations and short drop-backs, attacking defenses horizontally. Arians uses tight formations and longer drops, attacking vertically. Both are big on pre-snap motion, diverse personnel location and intertwined route combinations. And both have had fine results with their respective systems.
Chris Burke of SI.com thinks the winning coach of this game could generate some Coach of the Year buzz:
Which team needs this one more? Hard to say. The Eagles can join Dallas atop the NFC East with a win; Arizona, at 7-4, sits just outside the wild-card race on account of a tiebreaker with San Francisco. There is the possibility that this is an opening-round playoff preview, since Philadelphia would be the 3- or 4-seed if it were to win the division crown and Arizona almost certainly will not wrestle the NFC West from Seattle.
Oh, and one more topic to chew on: Does the winning team here give its coach the inside track for Coach of the Year?
Burke names eight teams that should be better in 2014. The Eagles make his list:
The Eagles are neck and neck with the Cowboys in the NFC East, so they won’t exactly be starting from scratch in 2014. But if college football has taught us anything, it is that offenses typically need a year or two to transition into a scheme like the one Chip Kelly brought to the City of Brotherly Love (even though Kelly’s O is an animal unto itself).
Philadelphia also would be wise to re-sign Jeremy Maclin, who has spent his contract year on injured reserve. Plop him back into the lineup alongside DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and an emerging Nick Foles, and Kelly’s attack would have a shot to elevate again.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com goes with the Cardinals, 27-23:
The Cardinals are 7-4 and in the thick of the wild-card race. The Eagles are tied for the division lead. How big is this game? Who thought it would be? Carson Palmer has been hot lately, but the Eagles defense is improving. Nick Foles has played well, but will face a good Arizona defense. I think the veteran quarterback will be the one who gets it done here. Upset special.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk goes with Arizona, 27-20:
Former Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles comes home with a much better defense, and one of the hottest teams in the league. Chip Kelly never saw an Arizona team like this when he was at Oregon.