The Philadelphia Eagles are no strangers to the lofty expectations that accompany a 3-1 mark at the season’s quarter pole. After seeing their impressive start in 2016 marred by losses in eight of their next 10 games, the NFC East-leading Eagles look to keep their focus on the task at hand Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals.
LeGarrette Blount collected himself after being held without a carry in Week 2 to rumble for 203 yards on 28 carries in his last two. The bruising back had 109 of his 136 yards rushing after contact in Sunday’s 26-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, and aims to feed off a Cardinals club that he has gouged for 190 yards and three touchdowns in two career meetings. While Philadelphia has unearthed a rushing game that ranks third in the league, Arizona has struggled mightily to untrack its ground attack as it ranks dead last in the league at 57 yards per game. The loss of superstar David Johnson (wrist) and a patchwork offensive line has upped the workload of Carson Palmer, who is second in the league in completions (108) and tops in dropbacks (201) and attempts (183) heading into a tilt versus the Eagles’ 30th-ranked pass defense.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -6.5. O/U: 45
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (2-2): Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald teamed up on a 19-yard touchdown in last week’s 18-15 overtime win over San Francisco, and the duo has also done its fair share of damage against Philadelphia. Palmer has thrown for 905 yards passing and six touchdowns in three career meetings versus the Eagles while Fitzgerald has 50 receptions for 845 yards and 11 scores in eight career encounters. The 34-year-old Fitzgerald is showing no signs of slowing down with 199 consecutive games with a reception, the third-longest streak in NFL history. Fellow wideout Jaron Brown had a career-high eight catches for 105 yards while versatile Andre Ellington provided a security blanket for Palmer out of the backfield with nine receptions for 86 yards.
ABOUT THE EAGLES (3-1): Carson Wentz has thrown 75 consecutive passes without an interception and owns an impressive 107.2 passer rating on third down. “In the development of becoming an elite franchise quarterback, that’s something we’ve talked to him about from the start,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “What sets you apart as a quarterback is how you perform in situational football. That’s third down and the red zone.” Zach Ertz leads all NFL tight ends with 26 catches for 326 yards for Philadelphia, which has scored at least 20 points in eight consecutive games - the longest current streak in NFL.
1. Arizona S Tyron Branch has an NFL fourth-best 39 tackles, while Philadelphia’s Jalen Mills is first among cornerbacks with 27.
2. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox is in jeopardy of missing his second straight contest with a calf injury, while RB Wendell Smallwood has yet to practice this week with an ailing knee.
3. Cardinals RB Chris Johnson leads the team in carries (36) and rushing yards (93).
PREDICTION: Eagles 27, Cardinals 21