Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles: Why the Arizona Cardinals Could Be a Trap Game - Bleacher Report

After barely squeaking by the lowly Cleveland Browns, the Eagles managed to bounce right back, winning in impressive style against the Baltimore Ravens. The Birds showed impressive heart, overcoming mistakes and turnovers with an electrifying Mike Vick-led game winning drive to win the game.

With Arizona coming up next, the Eagles look to be starting the season 3-0.... Right?

Not so fast. Despite their hot start, everyone seems to be writing off the Arizona Cardinals, seeing their 2-0 record as merely an anomaly. However, the Cardinals haven't been just a fluke. Ken Whisenhunt has assembled a pretty talented football team.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying Arizona is an elite team or that it can realistically contend for the Super Bowl. The truth is the Cardinals are very flawed and it's a shock that they are undefeated going into Week 3. The offensive line is shaky and the team has a gaping hole at running back.

However, this defense can cause a lot of havoc. Led by Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett and Patrick Peterson, this is an underrated defensive unit. Particularly its secondary, which blanketed the Patriots receivers all game long, limiting Brady's effectiveness.

Like the Cardinals, the Eagles are a flawed team despite being 2-0. This is largely because they have shown themselves to be turnover-prone. Part of that is because Vick takes chances that he probably shouldn't, often attempting to force passes to his receivers rather than taking what the defense gives him.

This Cardinals defense has big-play capability and can pick off passes if Vick throws them carelessly into coverage. Even a pass that is thrown only slightly off can be tipped and land in Patrick Peterson's hands due to his great football instincts.

What will be the outcome of the Eagles vs. Cardinals game?

What will be the outcome of the Eagles vs. Cardinals game?

  • Eagles Blowout Win

  • Eagles Close Win

  • Cardinals Close Win

  • Cardinals Blowout Win

Secondly, the Cardinals have much-improved quarterback play. After repeatedly failing when given chances to shine, Kevin Kolb seems to have finally taken advantage of his opportunity to start and is performing admirably. While Kolb is still far from perfect, as he has a knack for overthrowing receivers, he looks much more calm and collected in the pocket this season.

And against the Eagles, Kolb will more than likely have a chip on his shoulder. After all, Andy Reid had Kolb sit patiently on the bench for three seasons, promising that he would someday be the franchise quarterback. One concussion later, that promise was completely revoked due to Vick's resurgence as a star player.

Reid did nothing wrong; there was no question Vick was the right option for the team. As a head coach it was his responsibility to make the decision to start Vick at Kolb's expense for the good of the football team. But it's hard to imagine that there aren't some hard feelings between Kolb and the Eagles organization.

Just like McNabb sought to do as a Redskin, Kolb will likely be out to prove to his team that it made the wrong decision to trade him. And with Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal, that goal will be much easier to accomplish than it was for McNabb. 

Nnamdi Asomugha may have returned to being one of the better corners in the NFL, but even he will be hard-pressed to shut down Fitzgerald. While Asomugha has shut down Fitzgerald in the past, he is no longer the same player he was as a Raider. All it takes is one bad angle for him to be out-jumped for a red-zone touchdown. 

Overall, this is still a game that the Eagles should win. But this is a team that found a way to hold Tom Brady to just one touchdown pass. Don't be surprised if the Cardinals find a way to frustrate Vick and the Eagles offense.

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