The Philadelphia Eagles sit at 3-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They are coming off the heels of a thrilling but strong victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Los Angeles by a score of 26-24. The ground game led the way for Philadelphia, as they ran 42 times for 214 yards and their best running attack since Doug Pederson took over in Philadelphia. The defense wasn’t great; but with key secondary players out, they made plays when it counted and the offense took the load off them.
This week, the Eagles welcome Carson Palmer and the 2-2 Arizona Cardinals to town. Arizona is coming off an overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is off to one of the greatest starts of his career. The Eagles will attempt to extend their division lead Sunday afternoon. Here are the keys to victory for the game.
Week Five Philadelphia Eagles Keys to Victory
Limit The Cardinals Passing Attack
Led by quarterback Palmer and wide receiver Fitzgerald, the Cardinals passing game is strong. Already a couple weeks into this season, they rank second in the league in passing yards per game (292.2). Along with Fitzgerald, Palmer has a solid group of wide outs. Complimenting Fitzgerald is J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown, and John Brown.
One way to slow down the passing game of the Cardinals is for the Eagles front seven to get aggressive again. In the first two weeks of the season, they racked up eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Since, they only have two sacks and nine and a half tackles for loss. Putting pressure on Palmer and wreaking havoc in the backfield should hinder the passing game and force the Cardinals to run more.
Get Agholor and Smith Heavily Involved
Cardinals star cornerback Patrick Peterson should be shadowing Alshon Jeffery all game. This should leave more targets for Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith. Agholor has been a pleasant surprise out of the slot so far. He has 12 catches, 173 yards and two touchdowns. He has corrected many of his catching problems and has been reliable so far. Smith has gotten off to a slow start, with just 10 catches for 134 yards and no catches over 30 yards.
It’s critical that these wide outs step up if Jeffery has a down game. If they can’t get going, it will be a long day for quarterback Carson Wentz.
Keep The Run Game Strong
After the first two weeks of inconsistent running, the Eagles have broken out their run game the last two weeks. They have had games of 193 and 214 rushing yards respectively and have climbed to third in the league in rushing yards per game (143.0).
Dominating the run game allows a team to dictate the tempo and the Eagles did just that last week, holding the ball for 39 minutes. Establishing another strong ground game, led by LeGarrette Blount, will help keep the ball out of the Cardinals hands and run the Doug Pederson offense he’s comfortable with.