Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sunday, December 20, 2015, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Arizona -4
Current Line: Arizona -3 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Cardinals -175 / Eagles +155
Current Money Line: Cardinals -200 / Eagles +170
The 11-2 Arizona Cardinals have won seven straight games and are the hottest team outside of the 13-0 Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals have already clinched a playoff spot and look to clinch the NFC West title with a win Sunday night at the 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles. Arizona can also clinch a first bye with a win and a loss by the Green Bay Packers at the Oakland Raiders. The Cardinals host the Packers next week.
Philadelphia is part of a three way tie with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins for first place in the NFC East, despite all three teams being under .500. The Eagles close the season with the Redskins and Giants so they control their own destiny for the division title.
Arizona leads the series 58-55-5, and the two teams have been playing since 1935. They were long time rivals in the NFC East before realignment in 2002. The Cardinals have won four of the last five games against the Eagles including 24-20 in Glendale last year. The teams are playing for the fifth straight season.
Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The Cardinals have a home loss to the St. Louis Rams 24-22 and a road loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-13. Arizona has home wins over the New Orleans Saints 31-19, San Francisco 49ers 37-7, Baltimore Ravens 26-18, Cincinnati Bengals 34-31 and Minnesota Vikings 23-20 last week, along with road wins at the Chicago Bears 48-23, Detroit Lions 42-17, Cleveland Browns 34-20, Seattle Seahawks 39-32, 49ers 19-13 and Rams 27-3.
Arizona was a 10 point favorite against Minnesota last Thursday and the total was 46.5. The teams were tied at 10 at halftime. The Cardinals took a 20-10 lead in the fourth, but the Vikings would tie it up with 4:55 left. Arizona kicked the go-ahead 47 yard field goal with 1:23 left to make it 23-20. A Minnesota fumble at the Arizona 31 with 13 seconds left sealed the win for the Cardinals allowing them to clinch a playoff spot. Minnesota had 3 turnovers in the loss. Arizona is 7-6 ATS and the total is 8-5 this season.
Philadelphia is coached by Chip Kelly. The Eagles have road losses at the Atlanta Falcons 26-24, Redskins 23-20, Carolina Panthers 27-16 and Detroit Lions 45-14, plus home losses to the Dallas Cowboys 20-10, Miami Dolphins 20-19 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45-17. Philadelphia has road wins at the New York Jets 24-17 and Cowboys 33-27 in overtime, and Patriots 35-28, and at home against the New Orleans Saints 39-17, Giants 27-7, and Buffalo Bills 23-20 last week.
The Eagles were 1 point favorites against the Bills and the total was 48. Much of the pre-game focus was on Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy returning to Philadelphia after being traded to the Bills in the off-season. The Eagles would take a 17-10 lead into halftime. The teams would enter the fourth quarter tied at 20-20. Philadelphia took a 23-20 lead on a 30 yard field goal with 3:26 left. Buffalo would have two more possessions but the last ended with an interception. The Eagles held on for the win to keep pace in the NFC East. Buffalo had 412 total yards, but was unable to overcome two turnovers. The eagles are 6-7 ATS and the total is 5-8 this season.
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Arizona is outscoring teams 31-19 this season. The Cardinals are #2 in scoring and #7 in points allowed. The Cardinals are averaging 418 total yards per game on offense including 299 passing and 118 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #3 or better in total and passing offense. Arizona is allowing 322 total yards per game including 235 passing and 88 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #5 in rush defense and #4 in total defense. Arizona is 79/170 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 61/177. The Cardinals have forced 24 sacks and have allowed 21 this season. Arizona is +6 in turnovers. The Cardinals have a special teams touchdown and three defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 64.5% of his passes for 4,003 yards with 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 24 rushing yards and a touchdown.The 35 year old is an unlikely MVP candidate after tearing his ACL last year. Drew Stanton is the back-up.
Running back Chris Johnson has 196 carries for 814 yards with 3 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 58 yards. He is out for the season with a broken leg. David Johnson has 76 carries for 330 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 26 catches for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. Andre Ellington has 36 carries for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 13 catches for 136 yards. He is out with a toe injury.
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 96 catches for 1,088 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. John Brown has 55 catches for 895 yards and 5 touchdowns. Michael Floyd has 40 catches for 652 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tight end Darren Fells has 17 catches for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eleven defensive players are listed on the injury report.
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Philadelphia is being outscored 25-23 this season. The Eagles average 352 total yards on offense including 236 passing and 116 rushing yards. On defense, Philadelphia is allowing 386 yards per game including 259 passing yards and 127 rushing yards. The Eagles are #24 or worse in all three categories. The Eagles are 74/197 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 84/195. Philadelphia has forced 37 sacks and allowed 35 this season. The Eagles are +2 in turnovers. Philadelphia has 6 special teams/defensive touchdowns and has allowed 2 defensive touchdowns.
Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford has completed 63.2% of his passes for 2,664 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, along with 21 carries for 33 rushing yards. He missed two games with a shoulder injury and is probable. Mark Sanchez started in place of Bradford. He has thrown for 616 yards with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, and has 22 rushing yards.
Running back DeMarco Murray has 174 carries for 603 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 41 catches for 298 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Mathews has 87 carries for 465 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Darren Sproles has 69 carries for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 42 catches for 296 yards and a touchdown. He also has two punt returns for touchdowns.
Receiver Jordan Matthews has 64 catches for 680 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with a back injury. Tight end Zach Ertz has 45 catches for 501 yards and a touchdown. Brent Celek has 22 catches for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns. Riley Cooper has 19 catches for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. Miles Austin has 13 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown. Josh Huff has 22 catches for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. Nelson Agholor will also get some catches. Eleven defensive players and five offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Kicker Cody Parkey is out for the season and has been replaced by Caleb Sturgis.
Arizona is 12-1 ATS against teams with losing home records, 9-2 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 4-1 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 14-4 after failing to cover, 18-6 against teams with losing records, 9-3 in December, 13-5 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 5-2 in road games, 19-8 against NFC teams, 19-9 after a straight up win, 3-7 in week 15, and 1-6 on grass. The last four games in this series have gone under the total. The Cardinals have covered the last 5 games in this series.
Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 7-3 in week 15, 8-17-1 against teams with winning records, 4-9 against NFC teams, 3-8 on grass, 4-16-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, and 1-7-1 against teams with winning road records. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in this series recently and the home team is 6-2 ATS.
Philadelphia has won straight games against the Patriots and Bills, but I still don’t trust them. This team gave up 45 points to both the Buccaneers and Lions less than a month ago. I don’t see them slowing down the Cardinals high octane offense. I think the Cardinals win this game with relative ease in a high scoring game.