JEFF MCLANE Record, 1-1.
Week 3: This has all the makings of a trap game for the Eagles. They just came off an emotional win over the Ravens and have an NFC East tilt against the New York Giants next on the horizon. It would be easy to overlook a Cardinals team that is a dubious 2-0 with a quarterback that looks like red meat. But Arizona is coming off an unexpected victory of its own – winning at the Patriots. The Cardinals won on the strength of a stout defense that flummoxed Tom Brady and the New England offense. Kevin Kolb, meanwhile, did what he had to do and that was manage the offense without committing too many turnovers (he had one fumble).
The same formula could work this week against the Eagles, but I don’t see it. If the Birds offense can limit its turnovers to, say, just two, they should have enough firepower to score more than the Cards. If they deliver a turnover-free effort, the Eagles could win going away. That being said, there are reasons to worry. The offensive line is hurting. Center Dallas Reynolds and left tackle Demetress Bell will have their struggles, as will running back LeSean McCoy as a result. No Jeremy Maclin (and its starting to look that way) will put additional pressure on DeSean Jackson.
Even if the Eagles can’t score more than 20, I don’t think the Cardinals have the offensive muscle to score more than that. The running game is anemic. If they couldn’t find holes last season against the Eagles’ leaky front seven, what chance does Beanie Wells have with DeMeco Ryans now at middle linebacker? Larry Fitzgerald is the X factor. He’ll get open. The question is: will Kolb be able to get him the ball? I don’t think he’ll have much time even if the Cardinals protect him with quick throws. Kolb is in the crosshairs. He’ll get sacked at least four times. Eagles 20, Cardinals 13.
What goes right: A combination of Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Brandon Boykin keeps Fitzgerald in check.
What goes wrong: McCoy has trouble finding running lanes.
Week 3: This is a tough game in a difficult venue, but look for a strong performance by the Eagles. Michael Vick will play his best game yet, limiting turnovers and unleashing two long runs. Bell will ably fill in at left tackle and won’t surrender that job. The Eagles will have more success running to the left side than they have in the previous two games. Kolb won’t make many mistakes, but the Eagles’ pass rush will become too daunting. This will be another close game, but Vick will save his best performance for the fourth quarter for the third consecutive week. Eagles 24, Cardinals 21
What goes right: Vick's big plays outnumber his turnovers. Trent Cole terrorizes Kolb.
What goes wrong: Vick endures too many hits. Fitzgerald catches a touchdown.