Keys to the game for both the Cardinals and Eagles
PHOENIX — Following Arizona’s overtime victory over the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers last week, which was the Cardinals’ second OT victory in a span of three games, they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in Week 5.
This week’s game marks the 117th all-time regular season meeting between the two teams. The Cards lead the all-time series 57-54-5.
The Cards-Eagles rivalry dates back to 1935.
Quarterback Carson Palmer has 905 pass yards (301.7 per game), six touchdowns & two interceptions for a 91.4 rating in three career meetings. He has 290 career touchdown passes in his career and needs two to surpass Hall of Famer Warren Moon (291) for 12th most all-time.
Palmer has been sacked a league-high 17 times, and leads the league in quarterback hits with 43. The offensive line continues to struggle, so it’s likely they do another lineup change with Earl Watford at left guard. Alex Boone will be a game-time decision still dealing with a pectoral issue, and he didn’t practice on Friday. Watford was signed earlier in the week and is familiar with the system. He was released by the Jaguars at the final cut.
The possible offensive line starters: LT John Wetzel, LG Earl Watford, C A.Q. Shipley, RG Evan Boehm and RT Jared Veldheer. Assume they will also have OT-OG Will Holden and OC-OG Daniel Munyer active.
Running back Andre Ellington had 85 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in their meeting on Oct. 26, 2014. He had 104 scrimmage yards (86 receiving, 18 rushing) and a career-high nine catches in Week 4. He’s become the replacement for David Johnson in the passing game and is playing a lot on third downs.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had the game-winning 19-yard touchdown catch in overtime last week. He has 50 receptions for 845 yards (105.6 per game) & 11 touchdowns in eight career meetings (including playoffs). Fitzgerald has 199 consecutive games with a reception, the third longest streak in NFL history.
Fitzgerald needs one catch (200) to join Jerry Rice (274) and Tony Gonzales (211) as the only players in NFL history with a reception in at least 200 consecutive games. He has at least one reception in 206 out of 207 career games dating back his rookie season in 2004.
The Cardinals have done a much better job of throwing the ball downfield to Fitzgerald this year. I’ll take my chances on those 50-50 balls.
Jaron Brown had a career-high eight receptions and 105 yards last week, his first career 100-yard game.
He played 82 offensive snaps and another 17 on special teams. He tore his ACL last year on Oct. 24 and had to wait a few weeks before the swelling went down. Considering John Brown and J.J. Nelson are nursing injuries, Jaron Brown is taking advantage of his opportunity in a contract year.
Outside linebacker Chandler Jones has six sacks and two forced fumbles in his past four games on the road. He’s tied for fourth in the NFC with four sacks.
Now that Markus Golden (ACL) is out the rest of the season, it puts more pressure on Jones to be more consistent across the board. Kareem Martin will get the start with Haason Reddick in sub-packages. He’s played 184 snaps on defense, including 150 at inside linebacker and middle linebacker.
The man with the hardest assignment in the game, Patrick Peterson has once again been as difficult as it gets to complete a pass on, allowing just 41.7 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught, and seeing fewer than half the total targets of the other top Arizona cornerbacks.
Reports out of Philadelphia say Alshon Jeffery could play in the slot vs. the outside.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson on Jeffrey, “We’re going to continue to find creative ways to get Alshon open, even in the middle of the field. Big body, big target in there, and he actually loves being in that slot position. We’ll keep him moving around. Just defensively I think that whoever is on him, if it is Patrick, then he just has to be aware of where Alshon goes once he breaks the huddle.”
Quarterback Carson Wentz aims for his third game in a row at home with a 90+ rating. In his past five, he has 1,303 pass yards (260.6 per game), eight touchdowns and two interceptions for a 91.2 rating.
Philadelphia has scored 20+ points in eight consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The Eagles have rushed for 407 yards in their last two games (214 last week vs. the Chargers).
Running back LeGarrette Blount has 190 rush yards (95 per game) and three touchdowns in two career meetings. He led the team with 136 rush yards in Week 4. He has 30 rush touchdowns since 2014, the most in the NFL. Blount has become the bell cow in the running game.
Tight end Zach Ertz has 13 receptions for 146 yards (73 per game) and three touchdowns in two career home meetings.
Deone Bucannon could draw the assignment on Ertz, who is the safety net for Wentz. Other options are Bethea and Branch.
In the past four at home, Ertz has 33 catches (8.3 per game) for 339 yards (84.8 per game) and three touchdowns. He leads NFL tight ends with 26 catches & 326 receiving yards.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox had six tackles and a sack in the last meeting. He has 8.5 sacks since 2016, the third most among NFL defensive tackles.
The Cardinals offense catches a break as Cox (calf) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Some of the numbers are courtesy of NFL Media and the Arizona Cardinals.