The steady play of quarterback Sam Bradford has bolstered the Eagles, who have won five of their last six games Bradford finished. Since the bye week, Bradford has five touchdowns and only one interception while completing 65.9 percent of his passes. The offense has not been explosive with Bradford behind center, but it's less mistake-prone than earlier this season. The Cardinals present a major challenge on Sunday, though.
Arizona has allowed only 322.4 yards per game, which is the fourth best in the NFL. They're keeping teams to 19.4 points per game. It's a strong defense all around, but it's the secondary that might be the best unit. Cornerback Patrick Peterson is one of the elite players at his position, and safety Tyrann Mathieu also has developed into a top player. Safety Rashad Johnson has five of the team's 16 interceptions.
Peterson will cover rookie receiver Nelson Agholor, who found the end zone for the first time last week. Mathieu could be assigned to Jordan Matthews, who has been slowed by a back injury. The Eagles' top target might again be tight end Zach Ertz.
The Cardinals are a heavy blitzing defense, which can disrupt opposing quarterbacks. The blitzes don't always finish with sacks, though. Arizona's 24 sacks ranks near the bottom of the NFL. The best player in their front seven is defensive end Calais Campbell, who will be a tough assignment for right guard Matt Tobin.
The Eagles need to establish their rushing offense. The Cardinals have allowed 164 and 141 rushing yards in their two losses. They have kept opponents to 87.7 rushing yards per game. The Eagles are expected to rotate Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, and DeMarco Murray in the backfield. Mathews, in his second game back from a concussion, could take on a bigger workload than last week. Look for Murray as a popular option on third downs - he is 15 for 15 on third-down conversions.
The Cardinals have the NFL's top-ranked offense, with 417.5 yards per game. They're No. 2 in scoring offense, with 31.2 points per game. This will be the toughest test of the season for the Eagles defense, which needs its secondary to step up on Sunday. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has 4,003 yards, 31 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He is thriving in coach Bruce Arians' system, and he benefits from a receiving trio that is perhaps the finest in the league.
Larry Fitzgerald spends most his time in the slot and has 96 catches for 1,088 yards and seven touchdowns. Expect Malcolm Jenkins to cover him. The Eagles moved Jenkins out of the slot last month, but he returned to that position in nickel and dime situations two weeks ago, and the Eagles have won consecutive games. Michael Floyd and John Brown both average 16.3 yards per catch and are big-play threats. They'll challenge Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe, both of whom are dealing with ankle injuries. Brown caught a 75-yard, game-winning touchdown against the Eagles last season.
The X-plays could be a factor on Sunday. Arizona leads the NFL with 59 passes of more than 20 yards. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis expects them to take six to eight shots downfield.
The Eagles need extra bodies in coverage, so it's key that they pressure Palmer without blitzing. Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry both need to have big games rushing the quarterback. The Cardinals have allowed 24 sacks.
With injuries at running back, the Cardinals will turn to rookie David Johnson. He's averaged 4.7 yards per carry during the last two games. The Eagles allowed 152 rushing yards last week, but the Cardinals don't emphasize the run as much as the Bills. The Eagles will likely play Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks more than DeMeco Ryans on Sunday because of sub packages for the passing game.
On special teams, Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro has hit 25 of 27 field-goal attempts for one of the best percentages in the NFL. However, he's missed three extra points.
11: Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 11 touchdowns in seven career games against the Eagles, including the playoffs. The future Hall of Famer is the only player to catch a touchdown against the Eagles in seven consecutive games. Since 2005, the Eagles defense has not been able to find a way to stop him. Fitzgerald has 47 catches for 802 yards. He averages 6.7 catches for 114.6 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game against the Eagles.
Zach Berman: Cardinals 28, Eagles 20