By Annie Ross
The Eagles and Arizona Cardinals are both 5-1, but they’re worlds apart.
In fact, Philly should be the favorite here.
The Cardinals run a good defensive system, but it isn’t producing results or stopping opponents’ passing games to the level we’ve been used to over the past couple seasons — that’s understandable because of the injuries the unit has had to deal with. We’re siding with the Eagles, taking the points, off their bye.
The surprising Cardinals (5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS) go for their seventh win and cover in their last eight home games when they host the rested Eagles (5-1 SU and ATS) on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX). Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer appears to have put his shoulder problem behind him, and his team is 3-0 SU and ATS with him as the starter. The team is averaging 361.7 total yards with him, 273 without him.
Philly had a bye to revel in its 27-0 dismantling of the Giants in Week 6. Although quarterback Nick Foles has been erratic at times, the Eagles rank third in points per game (30.5) and seventh in passing yards (262.3)
These teams met last December, the Eagles winning 24-21 but failing to cover as 3.5-point road favorites.
The Line: Cardinals -2.5, Total: 48
Line movement: The Westgate opened Arizona -2.5, which seemed to have been the right number, as the book stuck there through Thursday. The Wynn opened -3 (even) and moved off the key number to -2.5 early in the week.
The line now is 1 1/2, and in Philly most books have it as a push.
Trends that matter: The OVER is 8-3 in the Eagles’ last 11 road games. The Eagles are 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 games against winning teams. The Cardinals are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games against the NFC.
McCoy back on track: Philly’s LeSean McCoy, the NFL’s 2013 leading rusher, finally broke out in Week 6 with 149 yards on 22 carries. McCoy particularly thrived when Foles was under center, and the Eagles will do more of that Sunday. But they’ll face a stiff test against Arizona’s top-ranked rush defense, which allows 72.5 yards per game.
Overcoming injuries: Despite being battered by injuries, the Cardinals’ defense has been impressive, ranking third in points allowed (19.8). Defensive end Calais Campbell could return this week after missing two games with a strained MCL. It should be noted, however, that Arizona has beaten up on bad teams the past couple weeks (Washington, Oakland) and got blown out by three touchdowns when it visited Denver in Week 5.
Injuries that matter: Cardinals running back Andre Ellington is dealing with sore ribs and a season-long foot injury, but should be good to go Sunday. He was not wearing a boot Wednesday, which coach Bruce Arians called “a nice thing.”
Eagles running back Darren Sproles is practicing this week and has a chance to play despite being projected to miss the game after spraining his MCL in Week 6. Starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks is expected to return from his calf injury, boosting the front seven. Stud center Jason Kelce is practicing as he tries to return from sports hernia surgery.