Game Preview: After bye week, Eagles face Cardinals

The Eagles last appearance on the field was their best, a 27-0 win over the Giants. But that was two weeks ago and the Eagles return from the bye week is not an easy one.

The Arizona Cardinals, at 5-1, lead the NFC West, an impressive feat to this point considering their division foes. The Eagles narrowly survived a game with the Cardinals last season. This season, the matchup moves to Arizona.

Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. from University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Eagles used the bye week to get healthy. While several of the injuries on the offensive line will have to wait a couple more weeks, it was simply an opportunity for the regulars to get rest.

Two regulars that may have needed the break are Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy. Foles has struggled this season despite the Eagles 5-1 record and has been in search of a complete game all season. McCoy just put together his best game two weeks ago against the Giants.

In addition to the criticisms of early season struggles, Foles and McCoy are also two of the most battered Eagles still playing. Foles took many hits in Eagles first six games and McCoy suffered an injury scare as well.

The Eagles receivers will also return with a clean bill of health. Zach Ertz, Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews are three to focus on.

Defensively, the player to watch of late has been Connor Barwin. He’s been the Eagles biggest force on the pass rush and will likely be the player who can disrupt the Cardinals pass offense.

The Cardinals come in follow a win over the Raiders last Sunday. Despite being in the lower half of the NFL in total offense, the Cardinals have also secured five wins.

Carson Palmer has been a big part of that. He has thrown for 807 yards and six touchdowns in the first six games, but has just one interception in that time.

Andre Ellington has been the driving force of the running game, with 393 yards on 105 carries.

Michael Floyd has dismantled Larry Fitzgerald as the top receiver in the Cardinals offense. Floyd has 19 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns this season. Fitzgerald is second with 283 receiving yards on 23 catches. He has one touchdown.

But Fitzgerald has been known to cause fits for the Eagles secondary, so even in decline in the last few seasons, he could still put together a huge game at any time.

A lot this game defensively will come down to who plays. The Cardinals top defensive lineman, Calais Campbell, is questionable. Dan Williams is the nose tackle and would be the leader of the line if Campbell is somehow not able to play.

Sam Acho and Larry Foote lead the linebackers and Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie are players to watch in the secondary.

Game Notes

  • The Eagles are 55-57-5 all-time against the Cardinals, including a 27-30-2 record on the road.
  • The Eagles have yet to win at University of Phoenix Stadium. One of the losses was in the 2008 NFC Championship game, a 32-25 loss.
  • The two teams have split the last 10 meetings between each other. The Eagles won on Dec. 1, 2013, 24-21. The Cardinals had won the previous three meetings, two of which were in Arizona.
  • The Eagles have 13 sacks from linebackers this season, second-most in the NFL.
  • The Eagles have seven touchdowns on defense or special teams this season, one shy of a franchise record and three shy of matching the NFL record.
  • The Eagles have also forced at least one turnover in 19 straight games.
  • Milestone Watch
    • LeSean McCoy needs 100 yards to pass Brian Westbrook for second on the Eagles all-time rushing list.
    • Jeremy Maclin needs one touchdown to move into 10th all-time in Eagles history. With two, he will be tied for eighth.
    • With one field goal of 50 yards or more, Cody Parkey will become the first Eagle since 1984 with three field goals of 50 or more yards in a single season.

Injury Report

Eagles
Out

  • WR Brad Smith (groin)

Questionable

  • RB Darren Sproles (knee)
  • LB Mychal Kendrick (calf)
  • C Jason Kelce (hernia)

Probable

  • RB Chris Polk (hamstring)
  • LB DeMeco Ryans (groin)
  • CB Jaylen Watkins (wrist)

Cardinals
Out

  • TE Troy Niklas (ankle)

Questionable

  • DE Calais Campbell (knee)

Probable

  • WR John Brown (ankle)
  • RB Andre Ellington (foot)
  • S Julian Johnson (knee)
  • DT Frostee Rucker (calf)

Where to Watch

TV: FOX (Broadcasters: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale)
Radio: 94 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)
National Radio: Westwood One (Tom McCarthy, Rod Woodson)

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.