Arizona Cardinals: Keys to Beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3
After shocking Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxboro, the Arizona Cardinals look to continue their wining streak and start the season 3-0. Coming into the season with what was likely the most underrated defense in the league, the Cardinals are beginning to earn the respect they deserve from around the NFL.
Let's take a look at a few keys to the Cardinals beating the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
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The impact of the Cardinals' special teams play cannot be underestimated.
They have provided huge momentum swings. In Week 1 against the Seahawks, it was Calais Campbell's field goal block that took points away from Seattle in a tight game. In Week 2, it was Quentin Groves' blocked punt that set up an easy touchdown for the offense.
With an offense that is known to falter and struggle, great special teams play can help provide great field position and easy points. As always, expect a huge Patrick Peterson punt return sometime in the near future. He hasn't had a spectacular return yet, but it's only a matter of time before one of the league's best punt returners takes one to the house.
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Kevin Kolb is playing solid. Nothing more, nothing less.
That's all anyone can expect from him right now. He hasn't thrown an interception and he's doing his job. Solid quarterback play is better than shaky quarterback play and any sort of consistency the offense can get is good.
The running game has been lackluster so far this season, especially up the middle. It will be interesting to see how it looks against the Eagles' unique defensive line as well as which running back will get more carries against the tough Philadelphia defense.
The most important factor for the offense will be capitalizing off turnovers. Arizona did a solid job at this against the Patriots and with Michael Vick averaging three interceptions a game this season, the Cardinals should get several shots at the end zone with great field position.
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This one can't be overlooked.
The defense played as well as any in the league against the Patriots, holding Tom Brady to only one touchdown and forcing an interception. The Eagles have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL with LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, and DeSean Jackson. That's a lot of speed to account for and it will be interesting to see how Ray Horton's defense matches up.
A big key to the game will be how the Cardinals' defensive line exploits the Eagles weakness at center. Philadelphia's starting center, Jason Kelce, will have to undergo surgery on a damaged ACL and MCL, so backup Dallas Reynolds will be the starter on Sunday. He handled the job well when he played against the Ravens, but it's always hard to patch up an offensive line.
The Cardinals know that better than anyone.