The Eagles (4-8-1) are on the road to take on the Cardinals (7-6) in Arizona.
Here are five matchups to watch:
Cardinals WRs vs. battered secondary
It’s a bad week for the Eagles to have serious injury concerns in their secondary. Because they’re about to face one of the best receiver trios in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald … and all three of those guys are healthy right now. It’s a tough task for any team.
But now factor in the Eagles’ injuries. Rodney McLeod is out for the season, Avonte Maddox is out for at least this game, Darius Slay’s status is unknown because of a concussion and Michael Jacquet is still hobbled by a lingering hamstring injury. So the Eagles might be out there on Sunday with Jalen Mills and a bunch of backups. Scary proposition.
Here’s a look at the Cardinals’ receivers this season:
Hopkins: 94 catches, 1,155 yards, 5 touchdowns
Kirk: 38 catches, 512 yards, 6 touchdowns
Fitzgerald: 45 catches, 346 yards
We all know what Fitzgerald has been able to do against the Eagles in his Hall of Fame career but now the Cardinals have the super speedy Kirk and Hopkins, who has the best hands of any receiver I have ever seen.
Kyler Murray vs. Eagles defense
The Eagles did a nice job against Taysom Hill last week, minimizing his rushing ability, but Murray is a completely different animal. He’s much more Lamar Jackson than he is Taysom Hill.
In 13 games this season, Murray has 712 yards rushing, second to only Jackson league-wide. But he also has 10 rushing touchdowns to Jackson’s six.
“He is quick. He’s out there, I see him just outrunning people like off just one quick, little flinch, and, boy, he’s gone,” Brandon Graham said. “I think that we got our hands full, obviously. We got a game plan that Coach is going to put together, and we just got to trust the game plan and go hard at it. We know this week, just like with Lamar Jackson, you got to run to the ball, especially if you think you’re going to get to him. You got to get him to cut back because hopefully the herd is coming.”
Matt Pryor vs. Haason Reddick
In this area, plenty of folks are familiar with Reddick. The Camden native went to Haddon Heights and then Temple and just so happened to have his breakout game last week.
Against the Giants last week, Reddick piled up five sacks after coming into that game with just five all year. Now an outside linebacker in Vance Joseph’s defense, Reddick is really starting to shine. He’ll have a chance to shine on Sunday.
While Reddick works on both sides of the D-line, the easier matchup in this game will be against right tackle Matt Pryor, who is filling in for the injured Jack Driscoll, who was filling in for the injured Lane Johnson. Pryor’s first start at right tackle a few weeks ago didn’t go well.
Jalen Hurts vs. Vance Joseph
Joseph is the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator and he’ll have the job of figuring out how to stop the rookie quarterback in his second NFL start. This matchup really fascinates me. Doug Pederson said earlier this week that the Eagles simply shot themselves in the foot in the second half against the Saints but I think it was more than that. I think the Saints adjusted at halftime and had a much better plan coming out of their locker room. Now, with a full game of tape, the Cardinals have a much better chance to be prepared.
Of course, the Eagles know what they put out on film too. It’ll be up to them to have a counterpunch ready to go depending on how the Cardinals play the rookie quarterback. If they spy him, then that’s one less player in coverage, etc. The Eagles have a lot of smart offensive coaches who have to put Hurts in the position to be successful. So maybe a lot of this story will already be written by kickoff. But Hurts needs to execute and continue to show the same poise he did last weekend.
D.J. Humphries vs. Josh Sweat
Sweat is coming off the best game of his career and he even got a sack on Pro Bowler Terron Armstead. But he’ll have another tough test going against Arizona’s left tackle. Humphries doesn’t have the accolades that Armstead does but he’s having a really solid season for the Cardinals.
Humphries has given up just three sacks all season and is one of ProFootballFocus’s highest-rated tackles in 2020 behind just David Bakhtiari, Trent Williams, Garrett Boles and Andrew Whitworth. So he’s keeping some pretty elite company.
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