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Preview: Week 3 At Cardinals


2011 Record: 8-8

Overall Series Record: 54-56-5

Record at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium: 1-1

Last Meeting: November 13, 2011 – Cardinals 21, Eagles 17

Game Recap: Without DeSean Jackson, who was deactivated on game day, the Eagles failed to close out John Skelton, Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals at home. To add injury to insult, Michael Vick would miss the next three games after suffering a broken rib in the game.

Key Offseason Moves

In: CWR Michael Floyd, DE Calais Campbell, WR Early Doucet, T Levi Brown, CB William Gay, C Adam Snyder
Out: CB Richard Marshall, G Rex Hadnot

The Cardinals made no apologies for their pursuit of quarterback Peyton Manning in free agency this offseason, and who could blame them? An opportunity to add one of the best players to ever play his position would intrigue any team. But the problem with a public courting is that it leaves a scent around the incumbent player. That player, of course, is former Eagle Kevin Kolb, who was only able to start nine games last season while fighting through concussions in his first year as a Cardinal.

Kolb is now mired in what appears to be a quarterback competition with third-year quarterback John Skelton, who led the Cardinals past the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field last November. Kolb, though, is the player whom the Cardinals committed to last summer both financially and in terms of football equity, surrendering Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick for Kolb's services. So it would be a big surprise if Kolb isn't under center come late September in Arizona ready to take on his former team for the first time.

Fitzgerald is still in town to hold down the fort on the outside and the Eagles will be acutely aware of his presence at all times after he victimized the Eagles for 146 yards and two touchdowns last season. Kolb could also get some help in the form of the 13th overall pick in this year's draft. Joining Fitzgerald now, aiding Kolb, is first-round pick Michael Floyd, who impressed during his collegiate career as a wide receiver at Notre Dame. Floyd is a physically imposing receiver who should do well in the red zone, which could put pressure on the Eagles' secondary.

It will be a trip to familiar confines for Rodgers-Cromartie, who struggled early in the 2011 season ad-justing to his role as the nickel cornerback. At the end of the season, Rodgers-Cromartie excelled in his two starts at his natural left cornerback position and should be primed for a big year with a full offsea-son in Philadelphia under his belt.

One significant area of need for the Cardinals remains the offensive line, which was abused to the tune of 54 sacks last season, one behind the St. Louis Rams for the league lead.

Defensively, the Cardinals still have plenty of room for improvement, though they were better than given credit for last season. In 2011, they ranked 10th in yards allowed per pass, 11th in sacks per pass attempt and 16th in rushing yards allowed per play. Not world-beating numbers of course, but adequate enough to win with plenty of room to grow as well.

Familiar storylines aside, this Week 3 matchup will be an important one for the Eagles after the lesson of the 2011. Despite their abundance of talent, the Eagles did not make the playoffs last season because they dug themselves too deep a hole in the beginning of the year, falling to 1-4 after five games. The four-game winning streak at the end of the season proved that wins were there for the taking all along, but the Eagles cannot afford another crippling slow start. After two games against the NFC North to open the season, the Eagles will travel to Arizona for what is likely to be a physically demanding game under the hot Arizona sun.

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