The Arizona Cardinals won’t be welcomed guests when they land in another nest this weekend.
Yes, Bruce Arians’ squad is peaking on a current seven-game win streak but Sunday night’s opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, seem to be a team on their own mission after being left for dead just a few weeks ago.
“[Owner] Jeff Lurie gave out t-shirts to his team this past week,” SI.com senior NFL writer Peter King told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview. “’53 Angry Men.’ They have done a really good job internally of creating an us-against-the-world environment.”
Chip Kelly’s Eagles (6-7) are far from a finished product but no one can ignore their road win over the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots or last week’s clutch win over Bills. The former Oregon Ducks coach has drawn his share of criticism and rightfully so but King believes most of the players are still buying in with a playoff berth well within reach.
“Chip Kelly has made his share of personnel mistakes and coaching mistakes,” he told Cesmat. “They’re not the kind of team that’s going to steamroll anybody but…you’re going to see a team that isn’t going to beat itself and you’re going to see a team that is more efficient in the passing game every week.”
On paper the Cards (11-2) appear to have an advantage at nearly every position but as time has shown the NFL offers no guarantees, especially playing a desperate team on the road like the Eagles whose post-season future essentially hangs in the balance over the final three weeks of the season.
“This is a tough game for the Cardinals without any question,” King said. “I like Arizona almost every week but this is going to be a tough game. The Eagles will be better on defense than people in Arizona will think.”