Week 5-Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals Game Preview
The only undefeated team in the NFL is your Philadelphia Eagles. After a big win in the wind and the rain, the Eagles have moved to 4-0 for the first time since 2004. In last week’s win against the Jaguars, they were able to ride the legs of Miles Sanders and his career-high 134 rushing yards to a 29-21 victory.
This week the Eagles head down to Glendale, Arizona for the first and hopefully not the last time this season.
On Sunday the Eagles will face off against the Cardinals in Glendale, but Eagles fans are hoping it’s not the last time they will make the trip out west as it is the host of Super Bowl 57. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Containing Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray is a difficult player to prepare for if you are Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon because he is extremely dangerous and elusive with the ball in his hands. While he has not been as effective rushing this year, at 22.8 yards per game, it’s not all about him being able to take off and run. Where he can be the most dangerous is by extending plays in the backfield. Even if the Eagles get rushers into the backfield, he is extremely good at moving around inside and outside of the pocket, keeping his eyes down field, and finding receivers who shake free. The Eagles will need to do a good job of keeping contain when the defensive line gets in the backfield to force him to step up in the pocket to create sacks. The Eagles might also use one of their talented Linebackers to be a “spy” on Murray to make sure he is not able to take off.
Murray has also shown the tendency to get very rattled and show his emotions on the field. In the playoffs last year he refused to go back in the game when his team was losing, and multiple times this year we have seen him and Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury get into heated exchanges on the sidelines. Last week the coach and QB disagreed with how the offense should be running in the 4th quarter, which lead to a heated argument during a timeout. If the Eagles can get in his head and frustrate the former Oklahoma QB, there’s a good chance he unravels.
Zach Ertz Facing His Former Team
During October of last season, the Eagles traded Super Bowl hero Zach Ertz to the Cardinals. Zach wanted a new deal in Philadelphia which Howie Roseman was unable to give him because of the emergence of Dallas Goedert. Zach was able to get the contract he was looking for as he signed a 3-year $31.65 million contract in the offseason with the Cardinals. Ertz will be forever loved in the city of Philadelphia as he was the one who caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl 52. Ertz will for sure one day be a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame and maybe even the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Even at 31 years old Ertz is still a productive player. So far this season he is averaging 45.25 yards per game and has 2 touchdowns. He is an excellent route runner that produces a mismatch on any linebacker trying to guard him in coverage, and he has extremely sure hands. Even though he is good at getting open, he is not able to do much after the catch. If the Eagles defense can keep his catches around the line of scrimmage, Ertz will have a quiet day.
Eagles Missing Key Players
After practice on Friday, the team announced that Kicker Jake Elliot, Cornerback Avonte Maddox, and Linebacker Patrick Johnson are all OUT for this game while Tackle Jordan Mailata is doubtful. During the week the Eagles signed Kicker Cameron Dicker who will start in place of Jake Elliot this weekend. This will be the second week that Maddox will miss his ankle injury. The team has not placed him on IR so that’s a good indication that it is not a long-term injury. Against the Jaguars Josiah Scott started in his place as slot corner so it’s safe to assume that will happen again. Hopefully, Maddox can return in week 6 against the Cowboys.
Tackle Jordan Mailata left last Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and did not return. He said in his media availability this week that he avoided a significant injury. While he is currently listed as doubtful he did also talk about this week how he wants to be like Jason Kelce and start every game for the Eagles, so there is still a possibility he plays. If he can’t go they will most likely start Jack Driscoll. Driscoll replaced Mailata last week and stepped in nicely. One player who is off the injury report is Cornerback Darius Slay. Against the Jaguars Slay exited the game early with a forearm injury and never returned. Luckily he too avoided a major injury and will be back in the lineup this Sunday. The Eagles are going to need him as he is expected to be the main defender against Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.