A battle of two unbeaten teams takes place late Sunday afternoon in Arizona as the surprising Cardinals take on Mike Vick and his enigmatic Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cardinals are a hated team right now among NFL circles, after likely killing many survivor pool entries with last weekend’s stunning victory over the favoured New England Patriots. Now Arizona will return home to try and keep the momentum going as they take on an explosive, but inconsistent Eagles squad. The key to Arizona’s success this year has been stellar defense, and facing a quarterback like Mike Vick will certainly be a valid test for this emerging unit.
Philadelphia meanwhile also sits comfortably with a 2-0 record, though they could just as easily be 0-2 at the moment. The Eagles narrowly escaped in Week 1 at Cleveland, and pulled out a last-minute victory in Week 2 against Baltimore. Vick’s play thus far has been a microcosm of his team’s, inconsistent. Add in the fact that Jeremy Maclin won’t serve as Vick’s safety-net this week as he’s out with an injury, and it’s clear that it won’t be an easy week for the Eagles.
Eagles vs. Cardinals Spread & Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles -3 (-120)
@ Arizona Cardinals +3 (+100)
Over 42 (-110)
Under 42 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Cardinals Pick:
An intriguing storyline will unfold in this contest as former Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb will take on the man who replaced him in Michael Vick. Kolb has stated that he’ll prepare for this contest just like he would any other game, but you have to think there’s a little extra incentive for Kolb to show his former team that he can play at this level.
As far as how the battle on the field will play out, expect a defensive and low-scoring affair. Both defenses are playing exceptional at the moment, and yards and big plays will certainly be limited on Sunday. The key for Philadelphia emerging victorious in Arizona is staying focused and playing their game. The Eagles have a pair of pivotal contests coming up after Arizona, but they can’t afford to overlook the Cardinals. Every win is vital in the NFC East, and this clash will be no different. For the Eagles to emerge victorious, they’ll have to limit the amount of silly mistakes this team has been making. Against the Brows and Ravens, Philly was guilty of committing far too many turnovers and against an unforgiving defense like Arizona’s, the Eagles won’t have many second-chances. The Cardinals possess playmakers at key positions on defense that can hurt Vick and limit the effectiveness of LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. Expect huge games out of Darnell Dockett, and Patrick Peterson. Dockett should put pressure on an iffy Eagles offensive-line, and get to Vick with regularity forcing him into some of the bad decisions he’s been making of late.
Most outsiders are surprised by the Cardinals play of late, myself included. However, I’m equally surprised to see just how much the Eagles have struggled this season. They’re a very misleading 2-0 and have played sloppy football throughout. The Cardinals will still be hard-pressed to make the playoffs, but on home field with their energetic defense, you have to like them in this spot getting the points.
Both defenses should be steady in this game, but I foresee the Cardinals’ defense getting all over Michael Vick. The former Virginia Tech Hokie has looked uncomfortable this season and has turned the ball over with regularity. Expect a couple of turnovers forced from Arizona en route to a stunning 3-0 record. While the Eagles are likely the better team with better chances at playing in a Super Bowl, expect Arizona to be the better team come Sunday evening. They’ll ride the momentum of beating New England to another upset of the explosive Eagles.
PICK = Arizona +3 (+100)