Eagles at Cardinals
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale
TV/Announcers: FOX/Joe Buck; Troy Aikman
Radio: KTAR (620 AM)
Records: Eagles, 11-6-1; Cardinals, 11-7
Series: Dating to 1935, the Eagles lead, 55-54-5. The Eagles have won six of the past 10, including Thanksgiving night in Philadelpha, 48-20.
Line: Eagles by 3.5
Three things to watch:
1. Keep protecting Kurt Warner. The Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is a master at coming up with blitzes from all directions. The Cardinals’ offensive line needs to keep Warner on his feet and in the game.
2. Stay no worse than even in field position. This figures to be a close game. Opportunities to pin the Eagles back deep in their end will be precious. New punter Ben Graham has been doing a good job so far; he can’t afford to start punting the ball in the end zone.
3. Win the turnover game. The Cardinals don’t have a physically dominant defense. But they’re quick and aggressive and – at their best – come up with the ball. Their edges in this area over the Falcons and Panthers helped seal the deals.
Questionable: WR Anquan Boldin (hamstring); TE Ben Patrick (knee); DE Travis LaBoy (ankle)
Out: G Shawn Andrews (back); Probable: T Jon Runyan (knee); RB Brian Westbrook (knee); WR Jason Avant (knee); S Brian Dawkins (back); DE Victor Abiamiri (foot); FB Dan Klecko (shoulder)
Scouting the Cardinals: They’ve added a decent running game, led by Edgerrin James, to the mix in the past couple of weeks. This makes them less predictable. But they still live off a passing attack led by Kurt Warner. The addition of Anquan Boldin will make the Eagles’ routine of blitzing the quarterback more difficult as receiver Larry Fitzgerald is at the top of his game. On defense, look for star rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to cover the Eagles’ best receiver, DeSean Jackson.
Scouting the Eagles: They have a pass-oriented offense that relies on screens and other short tosses to Brian Westbrook, the elusive running back. DeSean Jackson is the top threat at wide receiver. They don’t have a power running game, which has hurt them in goal-line and short-yardage situations. On defense, they have a terrific line, an elite cover cornerback in Asante Samuel and a top safety in Brian Dawkins. Like any team, they love to blitz from different directions. They just do it better.