Who’s Picking the Eagles?
Here’s a roundup of national media predictions for Sunday’s Eagles-Cardinals game.
The Eagles edge the Cardinals in NFL.com‘s expert picks, claiming three of five analysts.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com is “choosing to put his faith in the Redbirds” noting that Nick Foles has thrown more picks than touchdowns in the past three games:
Perhaps to my own detriment, I am choosing to put my faith in the Redbirds. This is not easily done. You might recall, if you are a sports enthusiast, that the Cardinals franchise has not won a title since capturing the NFL Championship in 1947. To put that dry spell in perspective, consider that Andre Ellington was approximately negative-41 years old when that happened. How appropriate that the team the Cardinals beat that year was, in fact, the Philadelphia Eagles — to whom they lost in the ’48 title game during a blizzard. I am not a meteorologist, nor do I tinker with Doppler radar, but I’m confident it won’t snow in Arizona this weekend.
Ellington is on pace for 1,048 rushing yards, which would make him the third Cardinal since Y2K to cross the 1,000-yard threshold. The Eagles’ run game has, for the most part, fallen victim to injuries up front, though 203 yards against the Giants in Week 6 was a hopeful sign. Nick Foles, meanwhile, has been victimized by general suckage. From Week 4 to Week 6, he completed just 57.9 percent of his passes and threw more picks than touchdowns.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com puts together his Week 8 Viewer’s Guide:
The last time we saw the Eagles, LeSean McCoy looked more like Shady than any other time this season. Philly has averaged 174.0 rush yards per game in their last two outings. However, they face a Cardinals defense ranked No. 1 against the run (72.5 YPG). It will be exceedingly fun to watch how the genius of Chip Kelly (coming off a bye) matches wits with the scheme versatility that Todd Bowles has employed this season.
On the flip side, the Cardinals’ offense has gotten back to its field-stretching ways with Carson Palmer under the helm. Palmer said this week he has not experienced residual effects from his nerve injury. Running back Andre Ellington has carried the load (105 rushes for 393 yards, TD; 25 receptions for, 260 yards, TD). His speed out of the backfield could cause fits for an Eagles defense that struggled to cover the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw this season.
Don Banks of SI.com believes the Cardinals’ home field advantage under Bruce Arians will seal a three-point victory over the Eagles:
Cardinals 30, Eagles 27
It’s impossible to overstate the job Bruce Arians has done since becoming the Cardinals head coach in 2013. Arizona probably thinks the man walks on water by now. (That is, if there was any water to walk on in the desert.) Not only have the Cardinals gone 12-3 overall after starting last season 3-4, but also Arians’ club is 9-2 at home since he arrived, losing only to Seattle and San Francisco in University of Phoenix Stadium.
So that’s what the well-rested Eagles are up against this Sunday in one of the glamor games of Week 8. The first-place Cardinals are 3-0 at home this season and have already beaten San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, developing one of the league’s more reliable home turf advantages and building a 1 1/2-game lead in the tough NFC West.
Over at ESPN.com, the Birds take seven expert picks while the Cardinals grab the remaining six.
CBSSports.com has five of eight experts picking the Cardinals.
John Breech of CBSSports.com believes Chip Kelly used his bye wisely and expects to see Foles leading an aerial-heavy attack:
Eagles 34, Cardinals 27
It’s probably safe to assume that Eagles coach Chip Kelly spent Philadelphia’s bye week watching film from every Cardinals game dating back to 1920. He probably then watched film of himself watching film. While he was doing that, he probably noticed that the Cardinals have given up 325 pass yards per game during the month of October. I’m guessing Nick Foles will need a protein shake after this game.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com is taking the Cardinals’ defense over the Eagles offense:
Cardinals 30, Eagles 24
These two 5-1 teams lead their respective divisions. The battle to focus on here is the Philadelphia offense against the Arizona defense. Can Nick Foles handle all the blitzes Todd Bowles will send his way? I think the Eagles will hit some big plays, but I don’t think their defense will slow down Carson Palmer and his passing game.
Four of seven writers at USA Today are going with the Cardinals.
FoxSports.com yields a split decision with three experts choosing each side.
Pro Football Focus has five of eight analysts taking the Eagles.
SB Nation also has four of seven writers picking the Cardinals.
Pro Football Talk has both analysts predicting an Eagles’ victory:
MDS’s take: Coming off a bye week that followed their most impressive win of the season, I think the Eagles should be playing their best football right now. Arizona is playing excellent football, but the Eagles will upset the Cardinals in the desert.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 21, Cardinals 17.
Florio’s take: So much for the Cardinals wanting to rejoin the NFC East. They face the 5-1 Eagles and 6-1 Cowboys in consecutive weeks, and it could be time for the Super Bowl jinx to begin to kick in. Especially with Chip Kelly having two weeks to get ready for this one.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Cardinals 20.
Pete Schrager of FoxSports.com predicts an overtime win for the Cardinals:
Cardinals 23, Eagles 20 (OT)
If you thought the Arizona Cardinals players were getting big heads or were too proud of themselves, think again. “We know we’re not special. The one thing we’ve talked about all week was, you never underestimate your opponent and you sure don’t overestimate yourself,” head coach Bruce Arians told the Cardinals’ website. “We haven’t done anything yet except get to 5-1. There’s a lot of football left.” Philadelphia’s coming off a bye and got some much-needed rest last week, but the desert is a hard place to win since Arians arrived last year. The Cardinals have the top run defense in the NFL, allowing 72.5 yards per game after limiting Oakland to just 56 yards on the ground a week ago. I’m taking the Cardinals.
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News takes the Eagles as his upset of the week:
Eagles 31, Cardinals 17
When we last checked in on Chip Kelly’s Eagles after a bye, guess who they beat the very next week. Last December, it was these same Cardinals. OK, these Cardinals aren’t the same. They’re not healthy enough to rush the passer, and when former Arizona Wildcat Nick Foles can get comfortable in the pocket, Kelly’s offense hums. Using multiple tight end formations will set up Foles to find more good matchups.
The Cards have stopped the run, but the Eagles have just started flying on the ground with LeSean McCoy. Arizona has the offense to challenge Philadelphia with its own speed back, Andre Ellington, and its ability to stretch the field with Carson Palmer. Both avian teams should have success pushing the ball downfield, but the Eagles win both the vertical and horizontal battles
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.