The Eagles (4-8-1) are in Arizona to take on the Cardinals (7-6) on Sunday afternoon.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (6-7)
The Eagles are 12-5 in December over the last four years, the best December record in the NFC and 3rd-best in the NFL, behind only the Chiefs and Ravens. Doug Pederson knows how to win late in the season, and he knows how to navigate the challenges that mounting injuries and underdog odds bring. Like we saw on Sunday. The Cards are just 2-4 since their 5-2 start. I don’t know how the Eagles are going to stop Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Kenyan Drake without half their secondary (if not more), and I’m not sure Jalen Hurts is quite ready for the challenge this Cards defense presents. Nonetheless, I’m going with a hunch this week:
Eagles 29, Cardinals 24
Dave Zangaro (5-8)
I expect Jalen Hurts to continue to show poise in his second start but I’m just not sure the Eagles will be able to keep pace with the Cardinals’ offense, especially as they face a battered Eagles secondary. If Darius Slay can play, that would help but the Eagles will still be without Rodney McLeod and Avonte Maddox as they face one of the best receiver trios in the NFL. There’s a chance DeAndre Hopkins will kill the Eagles but even if he doesn’t, there’s still Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. And Kyler Murray looks pretty healthy now so he can hurt the Eagles through the air and on the ground. Tough matchup here.
Cardinals 28, Eagles 23
Ray Didinger (6-7)
The Cardinals came to life on Sunday recording eight sacks and forcing three turnovers in a 26-7 beat down of the Giants. Haason Reddick had five of those sacks but Giants quarterback David Jones, playing on a gimpy leg, was easy prey. Jalen Hurts will be a more elusive target.
The key matchup is likely to be the Eagles battered secondary against the Arizona receivers, in particular DeAndre Hopkins. The Eagles were burned repeatedly by Michael Thomas, Davante Adams and D.K. Metcalf (28 catches on 33 targets) so how do they hope to contain Hopkins with this assortment of backups?
Hurts versus Kyler Murray will be fun for awhile but...
Cardinals 28, Eagles 24
Barrett Brooks (5-8)
Eagles vs. Cardinals back when I was drafted in 1995 was a NFC East division game. There were five teams in the East back then. I had some great battles against some great players. I can remember playing against my cohost Seth Joyner and even Hall of Fame corner Aeneas Williams. I battled DE Simeon Rice coming around the corner, while I protected the blind side of my QB, Randall Cunningham.
Like my early divisional years, the team with the better defense will win this game. I believe both offenses will score points. I have faith that rookie QB Jalen Hurts will play even better in his second start and Cardinals’ QB Kyle Murray will be a thorn in the back of the Eagles’ defense. With Rodney McLeod out for the remainder of the year with an ACL tear, rookie K’Von Wallace will be another rookie starting for the first time this year. DB Jalen Mills will move back to CB and slot CB Nickell Robey-Coleman will likely start on the outside this game. Will this patchwork secondary be enough to stop three very good WRs in Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald? As I stated earlier, defense wins this game and I don’t see how the Birds’ secondary can stop this very good WR trio! This will be a high-scoring game and our secondary will not have enough stops to win.
Cardinals 32, Eagles 24
Mike Mulhern (7-6)
One week in and I’m officially all aboard the Jalen Hurts hype train. I know I should be more rational about one game, but I can’t help myself! The case will be made that the Saints had no tape on him, and it was their third straight road game. You’ll tell me his rushing workload isn’t sustainable, but I’m putting a finger in each ear and humming to drown out that noise. Heck, I’m even ignoring the rash of injuries that hit the Eagles last week.
Maybe Hurts is just this good this soon, undervalued because he got benched under the brightest of lights in college. Perhaps he was docked some more for following in the wake of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray (his counterpart this week) as transfer reclamation projects in Lincoln Riley’s high-powered attack at Oklahoma. Downplayed further because he was drafted by a team that didn’t seem to need him at the time. Maybe he’s just built different, literally and figuratively. He’s got the frame of a power running back and can squat 600 pounds. His focus seems unflappable. Leading comes naturally. The poise is off the charts.
Doug Pederson went to Hurts to light a spark. I’m ready for an uncontrollable blaze.
Eagles 27, Cardinals 24
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: