Glendale, Az- As October nears, Arizona’s heat is finally cooling off a little, but the Cardinals have no such plans. After outplaying The New England Patriots in a surprising upset last week, The Arizona Cardinals hope to continue their high level of play against Michael Vick and the über-talented Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams head into Sunday’s game high on 2-0 records after beating the two participants in last year’s AFC Championship Game, Baltimore & New England. With a win this weekend, the Cardinals would have their first 3-0 start to a season since 1974.
Ken Wisenhunt confirmed earlier this week that Kevin Kolb will start again, this one against the team that drafted & traded him in favor of a then-resurgent Vick. After being groomed to succeed Donovan McNabb, Kolb probably has some lingering feelings toward the team that let him go, as if not being the official starter on his current squad wasn’t enough motivation already. Outside of the Bears, the two teams squaring off in this matchup may have the worst offensive lines in the league, so expect each quarterback to run for his life routineley. The way both of these defenses are playing, specifically the pass rushers, I wouldn’t be surprised if bookies are making odds on which QB gets carted off the field first.
Despite not having great interior blocking, the Eagle’s have excellent skill position players. Everyone is familiar with the blazing trifecta of DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Michael Vick, but tight end Brent Celek has been coming into his own as well after literally hurdling over Ed Reed last week. The Cardinals have proven they have the ability to outplay talented offenses, but this will definitely be one of their bigger challenges this year and limiting the huge plays Philly’s known for is key. However, with all of the weapons at his disposal, Vick still shows the ability to turn the ball over in multiple doses. If the Cards can force Vick into a couple of bad decisions they could make this is a much easier game for Kolb and an offense still struggling to put points on the board.
Calling Arizona’s offense a work in progress would be a nice way to describe how it’s looked, the running game has been a major disappointment so far to say the least. Beanie Wells has been ineffective to start the season, but with only 21 carries to date it’s too early to say anything. Arizona is still optimistic about Ryan Williams, but the only real impact he’s made has been from fumbling the ball in each game. With a limited passing attack, getting the running game going is imperative to the Card’s offensive success.
After only having 1 catch for 4 yards, expect Larry Fitzgerald to get the ball thrown his way early and often. The Eagles have some very good corners in Nnamdi Asomugha & former Cardinal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but hopefully Fitz, Andre Roberts, and even Michael Floyd are too physical for them. Philly’s offense may get the headlines but in all actuality it’s been the defense that has won them games so far this season, the offense has turned it over 9 times in 2 games. Both units are effective in terms of yards but The Eagle’s offense gives the ball away while the Eagle’s D takes it (6 turnovers caused). Arizona’s offense isn’t strong enough to lose the turnover battle and still win the game, they need to take care of the ball.
I think this Cardinals defense continues its elite play and forces Vick into making mistakes, their front seven is just too physical for Philadelphia’s weak O-line. If the D can’t hold Andy Reid’s attack below 24 points it will be mighty hard for Arizona’s offense to match, putting enough gains together for a scoring drive is something The Cardinals still don’t like to do yet.
No offense to any of you peace-loving or spiritual people, but revenge is sweet. There’s one or two pretty girls from back home whom I’d love to get even with, I hate rejection, everyone does. Hopefully the factor of playing against the team who rejected him will light a fire in Kolb we haven’t seen before in Arizona, in fact I’m counting on it. Cards start 3-0 with a 23-20 win thanks to more stellar defense.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic