Usually, the familiarity of two teams meeting on a regular basis is reserved for divisional rivalries. But the Eagles and Cardinals have certainly become familiar in recent years and have plenty of history.
This will be the 117th regular season meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals hold the series lead by just one win with a 56-55-5 record.
The first meeting between the franchises goes back to 1935, as the then Chicago Cardinals defeated the Eagles 12-3 at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. The Cards had moved to St. Louis, playing their home games there from 1960-1987, before heading out to their current residence in the state of Arizona.
The clubs were division rivals from 1950-1966 and then again from 1970-2001. When the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002, the NFL realigned the Cardinals from the NFC East to the NFC West, ending their annual twice-a-year meetings. However, the realignment has not stopped the two from facing each other on a regular basis. Sunday will not only mark the eighth regular season game in 14 seasons, it will also mark the fifth meeting in as many years.
The Eagles have competed well against the Cardinals, but are just 1-3 in the last 4. The one-sidedness is in large part due to Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has gone off for 38 catches for 650 yards and eight touchdowns in his six career games against the Eagles.
In the 2011 meeting, the Eagles blew two fourth-quarter leads at home of 14-7 and 17-14 respectively. The Cardinals Early Doucet’s touchdown reception from John Skelton with a 1:53 left in the game gave them the lead for good, 21-17.
Fitzgerald had his typical day of 114 yards and a touchdown, but it was the Cardinals defense that man-handled the Eagles in the 2012 game in Arizona. Five different Cardinal defenders recorded a sack and forced three turnovers. One of the turnovers took place when the Eagles had the ball on the Arizona 1-yard line attempting to get a touchdown to make it a 10-point game going into the half. On third down with six seconds left, defensive back Kerry Rhodes sacked Michael Vick back at the six forcing him to fumble the football. The loose ball would be picked up by Rhodes’ teammate James Sanders and taken all the way back for a 93-yard touchdown. The touchdown before halftime would put the Cardinals up, 24-0, and they never looked back, cruising 27-6.
2013 marked the first matchup of the head coaching bouts between Chip Kelly and Bruce Arians. During a Week 13 battle, Nick Foles made it a tight end day by throwing three TD passes, one to Brent Celek and two to Zach Ertz while the defense sacked Carson Palmer five times and forced three Cardinals turnovers in a 24-21 Eagles win at Lincoln Financial Field.
The rematch took place at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2014. Foles threw the ball a whopping 62 times going for 411 yards including two touchdowns to Jeremy Maclin, who had 187 yards receiving. The score would be decided when Cardinals receiver John Brown ran right by Eagles defensive backs Cary Williams and Nate Allen for a 75-yard touchdown reception from Palmer with just 1:21 left, making it a 24-20 Cardinals victory.
There is a considerable good luck charm the Eagles will be using this week. In their last two wins against the Cardinals, the Eagles wore their black jerseys dating back to their regular season victory over the Cardinals on Thanksgiving night in 2008.
Sunday night is calling for a blackout, so the Eagles will be decked out in all black. If the black jerseys continue their streak of luck, the Eagles will even up the long-standing score.
Ryan Shute is a contributing writer for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @ShutemUpSports.