NFL 2017 Week 5: Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles Preview and Prediction

The 2-2 Cardinals meet the 3-1 Eagles in a game between NFC contenders.

The Cardinals won an 18-15 thriller over San Francisco in overtime on the game’s final play to even their record at 2-2. For a while it looked like nobody would do any better than a field goal, as the game was tied 12-12 after regulation on four three-pointers apiece by the Cards Phil Dawson and the Niners Robbie Gould. In the overtime, the Niners received the kickoff and worked off nearly eight minutes of clock before another Gould field goal gave them the lead. Facing time constraints, Carson Palmer, who threw for 357 yards, led a drive that ended when he hit Larry Fitzgerald from 19 yards out for the winning score with just 32 seconds left.

The Eagles built an early lead and then held tight late for a 26-24 victory on the road over the Chargers, moving to 3-1 in the process. For the second straight week, the Eagles built a powerful running game. LeGarrette Blount rumbled for 136 yards on the ground, while fellow running back Wendell Smallwood picked up 79 total yards and a key running touchdown. The Eagles watched as a 13-0 lead was eventually cut to two late, but they were able to run the clock out with several key first downs late.

Running Eagles

Coach Doug Pederson has rededicated the offensive game plan to the running game, and the results have been impressive. Using the three-headed backfield of LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement, they have been able to control the clock effectively and move the ball without having to rely so heavily on Carson Wentz through the air. The Cardinals have been susceptible to the run at times, so don’t look for the Eagles to change

Palmer passing

One of the reasons that the Eagles may have switched to the run-oriented approach might be because of their issues on defense. They’ve struggled to stop the pass so far this season, especially in the last two weeks. The Cardinals, since David Johnson went out for the year, have become a pass-heavy team with Carson Palmer and a variety of receiving weapons. This is one game where being one-dimensional might not be such a bad thing for Arizona.

Who can get to the quarterback?

Each of these defenses is in the lower half of the league in terms of sacking the quarterback. The one difference-maker on the pass-rushing units of these team is Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones, but he’ll spend a lot of the day trying to get past Eagles stalwart offensive tackle Jason Peters. The bottom line is that both of these quarterbacks should have time to hurl.

Eagles TE Zach Ertz vs Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu

Ertz has been by far and away the most reliable receiver so far for Wentz. In fact, he’s been one of the finest tight ends in the league to this point in the season. Mathieu, meanwhile, is once again healthy and making plays as he did when the Cardinals were a playoff team a few years back. This should be an entertaining tête-à-tête.

Fantasy Football Tip: Eagles RB Corey Clement

This one is largely dependent on the availability of Smallwood, who is questionable to play with an injury. If he should sit out, Clement immediately becomes the recipient of many more touches. If the Eagles do indeed stick with the run, it could be a breakout game for Clement, who makes for a decent flex option.

Betting Line

The Cardinals are getting 6 ½ points, largely because they tend to struggle when they play games early on the east coast. But based on talent alone, they shouldn’t be getting that many, so take the points.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 23-26 Philadelphia Eagles

It should be a tight one, but if the Eagles stay with the run, they could be tough to knock off.

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Jim Beviglia


Jim is a freelance writer concentrating on music and sports. He is the author of four books and writes for several online and print publications. He lives in Old Forge, Pennsylvania with his wife Marie and his daughter Daniele.