The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday, after four straight losses. Despite their 4-8-1 record, their 24-21 win is keeping playoff dreams alive — for now.
The Eagles head to Arizona this week to play the Cardinals, who are not only 7-6 but are fighting for a wild card spot in the NFC.
The biggest pro right now for the Philadelphia Eagles is the glimmer of hope they have after last week’s game.
Rookie Jalen Hurts made his debut as starting quarterback over Carson Wentz. He finished the game with 167 passing yards, 106 rushing yards, and one touchdown. Not only was he confident in his ability to play, but he was quick and agile.
Hurts struggled a bit, completing only 56.6% of his passes, but he ran the ball well against one of the league’s top five defenses. With a downgraded defense for the Cardinals, Hurts should put up better numbers this week.
Last week’s game was not only distinctive due to the quarterback switch-up, but the rest of the team just seemed to play better. Or at least from my standpoint, they did. The Eagles finished with 413 total yards (358 yards for the Saints) and possessed the ball slightly longer than New Orleans.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter for the first time since his return this season. More notably however, was running back Miles Sanders who ended New Orleans’ 55-game streak of not allowing 100 rushing yards to an individual player.
What the Eagles will not have this Sunday are healthy players. During last week’s game against the Saints, Malik Jackson and Darius Slay were evaluated for head injuries, and Rodney McLeod and Avonte Maddox incurred knee injuries.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 18, 2020
McLeod is now out for the remainder of the season. He follows Lane Johnson and Jason Peters who both announced the end of their seasons in the previous two weeks. Jackson, Slay, and Maddox remain questionable.
The Eagles are also still missing DeSean Jackson, who has barely touched the field this season and last. His return for this week against the Cardinals still remains undecided.
Right off the bat, the Cardinals have a more seasoned quarterback in Kyler Murray.
This season, Murray has accrued 3,231 total yards and 23 touchdowns. Compared to the Saints’ quarterback, Taysom Hill, Murray is faster and a better passer, which creates trouble for the injury-depleted Eagles’ defense.
His go-to, DeAndre Hopkins, has been a top-five fantasy wide receiver in four of the last five seasons. He has 1,155 receiving yards this season, averaging 12.3 yards per reception.
And if we’re going to talk about Philly’s spark, then we need to mention that of the Cardinals. They took home a win last week against the New York Giants after three straight losses. They aren’t just playing the Eagles to boost their record, but for a playoff spot, adding a new level of incentive.
One of the biggest cons the Cardinals will encounter is that of Eagles’ Jalen Hurts. He’s played six quarters in his NFL career, leaving Arizona with very little footage to work with in preparation for Sunday’s match-up.
Although they enter some unknown territory, Arizona has already played against better quarterbacks. Namely, Russell Wilson, who ranks third this season.
WAGERING IN ON THE GAME
According to TheLines.com, DraftKings has predicted the Eagles to be 6-point underdogs to the Cardinals, and sadly, I agree.
It comes down to who wants it more, and the answer is the Cardinals. They have more on the line, and the Eagles are navigating too many challenges going into Week 15. Philadelphia needs to figure out where to go next, and unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll find out until 2021.