Eagles vs Cards…2008?
Sunday marks the return of Kevin Kolb to Philadelphia. The one-time future of the Eagles franchise is struggling along out in the desert and probably won't play on Sunday due to a turf toe injury.
Lets take a look back at the deal that sent Kolb to Philly and where it has left the Eagles today.
The Eagles sent Kolb to Arizona in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick in 2012. While the Rodgers-Cromartie end of the deal hasn't worked out for the Eagles, they can still add a viable piece with that second-round pick in the draft.
I was never a fan of Kolb, his inconsistent gaudy numbers had many salivating over something other then Donovan McNabb, something, anything, just get rid of McNabb. The preception that Kolb was dead-eye accurate was well - inaccurate.
The two biggest issues I had with Kolb was arm strength and decision-making; a recipe for disaster in the NFL. For every big play Kolb made, it seemed he followed it up with a horrendous interception. While Kolb is a serviceable back-up level quarterback, a Super Bowl level quarterback he is not - something many fans of Philadelphia were hoping he would be.
This week, Kolb will observe from the sidelines as Rodgers-Cromartie gets picked on, like he has all season. The Eagles defense looked like it was finally turning a corner, until the Bears showed the old offensive line coach a thing or two last week. Chicago's vanilla offense was consistently a step-ahead of Juan Castillo's unit, dropping the Eagles to 3-5.
This week, its another "must-win" for the Eagles, they all are at this stage of the season. At 3-5 the margin for error is none, which is about the help that both these teams have gotten thus far from the trade they make back in July.
For the Eagles to win this game it's simple - run the ball.
The Cardinals are in the middle of the pack when it comes to stopping the run, they give up 117 yards per game. LeSean McCoy is just to much of a handful for this Arizona defense to deal with and using McCoy early and often will allow you to set-up something that hasn't happen virtually all season - the big-play.
The Cardinals are 27th in the league in pass defense, just be patient, run the ball, wear them out and hit them over the head with the big-play.
At 3-5 you need to stick to the script and do not deviate from it. Arizona is a team that is playing with a back-up quarterback and already has not shot at making the playoffs at 2-6. If the Eagles can pick-up a win this week and get to 4-5; that sets up a game to turn their season around next week at Met Life Stadium against the Giants.
The Eagles currently sit in 10th place in the NFC standings, two games behind the Bears and the Falcons, who also own the tie-breaker over the Eagles, so to earn the Wild Card, something wild would need to happen.
Here is the upcoming schedule for the Bears, Falcons and Giants; the three teams that really stand-in the way of the Eagles making the playoffs.
Chicago: vs Detroit, vs SD, @Oak, vs KC, @Denver, vs SEA, @GBay, @Minn
Atlanta: vs NO, vs Tenn, vs Minn, @HOU, @Car, vs JAX, @NO, vs TBay
NYG: @SF, vs Phil, @NO, vs GBay, @Dal, vs Wash, @NYJ, vs Dal
Eagles: vs ARZ, @NYG, vs NE, @SEA, @MIA, vs NYJ, @DAL vs Wash
This is the NFL were wild things happen all the time and while the wild card seems like a stretch, you can never say never. I can remember like it was yesterday the Eagles falling 45-21 to the Indianapolis Colts and saying the team was heartless and gutless. They followed that up reeling off five straight wins, including three in a row in the division on the road.
The 2008 Eagles lost a horrible 10-3 game to the Redskins, looking like that would knock them out of the playoffs. They needed help the next week, but got it and played one of the best games that have in the Andy Reid era in dismantling the Cowboys 44-6 in the season finale.
You just never know what team will show up from week-to-week in the NFL. In the past, Andy Reid has done his best work in November and December - and is going to need to this season for it to continue into January. However, it all starts this week, much like it did in 2008, with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Eagles defeated the Cards on a Thanksgiving Thursday night game and it helped get them to the NFC title game. If they can beat the Cards and get some help around the league maybe it can help turn their season around once again.
Stranger things have happened - hey someone in the league gave Kevin Kolb $60 million to be their QB right?
The Pick: Eagles 40, Cardinals 20