Originally posted on Eagles Eye  |  Last updated 9/22/12
This is a big match-up, seeing as one NFC team is coming out of this desert showdown at 3-0, and the other at 2-1 (barring a tie game, of course)...

I'll keep it simple for you good people--- I'll bring in special guest Matt Chando of the South Jersey Times to do the preview honors...

Chando has been around. He's covered the Eagles for more than 20 years as a professional sports journalist. I thought he would be more into the complexities of the sport in this away-game, but in breaking down the Cardinals-Eagles game coming up on Sunday, Chando keeps it very basic...


Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy runs the ball as Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, #52, pursues, during a game last Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The Arizona Cardinals are expecting at least 25 touches from Shady McCoy on Sunday...it will be interesting to see if Eagles OC Marty Mornhinweg can work with that Cardinals' expectation and use it to decoy the Arizona defensive coverages. The stage is set for a real juggling act regarding calling Shady's number,---no pun intended.

Here's how Matt Shando sees it shaping up...
 
Week 3 intra-conference match-up: Philadelphia at Arizona...

When: 4:05 p.m., Sunday.

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, (63,400 max capacity, grass surface).

Records: Philadelphia Eagles (2-0); Arizona Cardinals (2-0).

TV/Radio: FOX: Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick and Laura Okim; WIP-FM 94.1 (Philadelphia), WIP-AM 610 (Philadelphia), WTTM 1680 AM (Philadelphia, Spanish).

Latest lines: Eagles, minus 3. Over-under, 43.

Coaches: Eagles- Andy Reid (14th season, 128-81-1 career); Cardinals- Ken Whisenhunt (6th season, 42-40 career).

Last time they met: DeSean Jackson was benched prior to the game for a violation of team rules. The result was a watered down Philadelphia offense and a 21-17 Arizona victory. The Eagles blew another fourth-quarter lead, capped off by Larry Fitzgerald beating rookie safety Jaiquawn Jarrett for the go-ahead touchdown.


Key match-ups: Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie vs. Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Eagles fans will remember Fitzgerald skying over then-rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett to catch a game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter last year. Unless by Sunday the Eagles re-sign Jarrett and every other of their defensive backs goes down, that Fitzgeraldy success won't happen again. Fitzgerald has averaged 6.5 receptions, 114 yards and two touchdowns per game against the Eagles (four total games). Last week Rodgers-Cromartie shadowed the Ravens' best down-field threat (Torrey Smith). He allowed one long pass play, but otherwise was very effective shutting him down. It looks like the Eagles view DRC as their No.1 man-to-man corner. Look for him to shadow the prolific Fitzgerald for most of the game.

Another key matchup-----Eagles defensive end
Trent Cole vs. Cardinals left tackle D'Anthony Batiste.

Batiste struggled mightily against the Patriots' Chandler Jones last week, allowing four quarterback hurries and a quarterback hit. In the season-opener, he allowed five hurries and a sack. Cole has a sack, a forced fumble, two hits and two hurries in the first two games. He's been the Eagles' best defensive lineman so far this season and should feast upon Batiste. Given Kolb's propensity to let the pressure affect him, Cole could play a major role.

Noteworthy stat:  Philadelphia 20.5 points per game/ 417 yards per game vs. Arizona 20 points per game/249 yards per game...

Arizona and Philadelphia have averaged almost the same amount of points per game in the first two games of the season. But Philadelphia is the first-ranked offense in the league with 417 yards per game, while Arizona is 30th with less than 250 yards. The truth behind those numbers is Arizona doesn't move the ball well on its regular offensive set, but makes the most of their opportunities as the game drags on...Meanwhile the Eagles have no problem gaining yards and first downs, but have wasted opportunities with turnovers. Something's gotta give...

Looking ahead: The Eagles play their first NFC East game when the New York Giants come to Lincoln Financial Field for a date on Sunday Night Football. The Cardinals, meanwhile, host the Miami Dolphins.

Matt Chando's prediction: "In more than 20 years of watching the Eagles, everything in my body tells me Arizona wins this game. Philadelphia has been walking a thin line with two wins despite nine turnovers – a big reason being the dominance of its defense. It's a cross-country flight and tough environment to play in. "

The Cardinals defense is for real. They've registered seven sacks in two games, which is tied for fourth in the NFL, and are fifth in points allowed per game. The secondary is big and physical and minus Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles' receivers are easier to defend.


Here's where Matt Chando comes to his senses--- or drinks my frosty kool-aid, according to Moonbeam Amadeus....

"The only reason I pick the Eagles is because I honestly don't know how the Cardinals' offense will move the ball. I think the Eagles' offense and Vick will make enough plays to outscore a limited Arizona offense, which can easily be defended by a vastly improved Eagles' defense."

Eagles 17, Cardinals 16

2012 prediction record: 2-0.

 

Contact Matt Chando at 856-845-9478 or mchando@southjerseymedia.com

Thanks, Matt...more updates to approaching gameday to follow...

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