Heading into a surprisingly crucial match up with the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona, one of two this week between 2-0 teams in a league that has just 6 such teams remaining, the Eagles will be without several starters. Jeremy Maclin, who attempted to play through a hip injury last week, before having to leave again, has been ruled out, as have two starters on the offensive line, left tackle King Dunlap and center Jason Kelce, the latter of whom was placed on season ending IR with a torn ACL. However, in spite of this, the Eagles do have a significant advantage in Arizona.
The Eagles lead the league in points per play differential, which is my favorite stat because I feel it does the best job of predicting future success and of judging how teams have played in the past. The Eagles were without Maclin for most of last week, as he played just 44 of 80 snaps, and yet they were still able to total 485 yards against the Ravens in a win. They were also without Dunlap and Kelce, mediocre starters, for most of that game as well.
Demetress Bell, a proven starter in Buffalo, will replace Dunlap at left tackle, while the much less proven Dallas Reynolds will replace Kelce at center. Talent slot receiver Jason Avant and undrafted rookie Damaris Johnson will replace Maclin. They should still be able to beat a Cardinals team, which actually has a negative points differential, with ease.
The Cardinals have a good defense, but eventually they’ll have to do something offensively and right now they rank dead last in points per play. I don’t trust either of their quarterbacks (Kevin Kolb will get the start in this one against a Head Coach who knows all of his tendencies having coached him for several years) and neither of their running backs have gotten anything going on the ground. Meanwhile, their offensive line is still the horrendous line people were worried about before the season.