Free Expert NFL Picks: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/23/2014
There are some pretty good matchups worth looking at Sunday in Week 8. Bears-Patriots looked like a marquee matchup back in the preseason, but now it's desperation time for Chicago. I pondered that one but am sure will have to look at Broncos-Patriots next week. It's federal mandate to preview a Peyton Manning-Tom Brady showdown. Seahawks-Panthers also has some allure as it was unthinkable entering this season that Seattle would ever lose three straight games. Some didn't believe Seattle would lose three all year. Ravens-Bengals is for first place in the AFC North, and it's the last time those two play in the regular season. Colts-Steelers and Packers-Saints also have good story lines.
However, purely from a records standpoint the clear game to examine is the only FOX TV late-afternoon matchup: Eagles at Cardinals. Could this be an NFC Championship Game preview? I'm certainly not ready to go there, but these are two of just three one-loss teams in the NFC along with Dallas. Thus, it could have big playoff seeding implications. Obviously, if both the Eagles and Cowboys make the playoffs, one has to be a wild card.
I'm not surprised the Eagles are good as I projected them to repeat as NFC East champions. Still think they will even with a loss here. However, Philly is now the +120 second favorite to Dallas (-150) at Bovada. I expected little from the Cardinals this year but am starting to think Bruce Arians is one of the NFL's best coaches. Arizona leads what was supposed to be the NFL's best division, the NFC West, by two games in the loss column over Seattle and San Francisco. As noted above, the Seahawks could lose again Sunday. The Niners are off this week. Arizona is the co-+150 favorite in the division with Seattle.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Betting Story Lines
The Eagles come off their bye week, and they might have preferred it come later in the season. The offense looked terrible in a Week 4 loss in San Francisco and a Week 5 close win over St. Louis, but Philly put together by far its best game in Week 6, a 27-0 rout of the Giants. Nick Foles threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns, although he did have two more picks. That's seven already this year after just two in 2013. I told you that was a fluke.
After a slow start to the season, 2013 rushing champion LeSean McCoy has started to resemble that guy. He has carried 46 times for 230 yards combined in the two-game winning streak. In one respect the bye came at a great time because running back and pass-catching stud Darren Sproles was hurt in the Giants win. He wouldn't have been able to play last week. He has a good chance of playing Sunday. There is an outside chance center Jason Kelce could return from a sports hernia, but this would be well ahead of schedule.
Arizona has bounced back nicely from a Week 5 blowout in Denver -- no shame in that, ask the 49ers -- with double-digit wins vs. Washington and last week at Oakland in a potential trap game. Carson Palmer started both of those after sitting since the opener and was solid in each, throwing for around 250 yards with two scores. Running back Andre Ellington briefly left the Raiders game with a rib injury but will play Sunday.
The Cardinals don't really win with offense, they do it with defense. That unit held Oakland to 220 yards and 13 first downs. Throw out the inhuman Peyton, and Arizona hasn't allowed more than 20 points yet. It also ranks No. 1 against the rush, as it did last year. There's a chance that one of the team's best defenders, end Calais Campbell, could play this week. He has been out since getting chop blocked in the Broncos game.
It may feel familiar to Eagles fans to see their team coming off a bye and facing Arizona. That was the case Week 13 last year, and Philly won 24-21 at home. Foles threw three touchdown passes. I remember that well because Foles had yet to throw a pick all season, and I recommended a Bovada special that he would against Arizona, even saying Patrick Peterson would be the guy to do it. That happened late in the fourth quarter, but it was negated by a penalty on the Cardinals. Palmer threw for 302 yards and three TDs for Arizona but had two interceptions and lost a fumble.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals NFL Week 8 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Arizona is a 2.5-point favorite (-115) with alternate lines of -3 (+110) and -2 (-120). The Cards are -140 on the moneyline, with the Eagles at +120. The "over/under" is 48 points. Philadelphia is 4-2 against the spread this season (1-1 on road) and 4-2 O/U (1-1 on road). Arizona is 4-2 ATS (2-1 at home) and 2-4 O/U (1-2 at home).
The Eagles have covered only four of their past 15 vs. teams with a winning record. Arizona is 7-1 ATS in its past eight against the NFC and 8-2 ATS in the past 10 following a win. The under is 5-2 in Philly's past seven against teams with a winning record. The under is 6-2 in Arizona's last eight vs. the NFC. It is 6-1 in the Cards' past seven after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
Philly has won 14 of its past 15 games out of a bye week. It was 13-1 under Andy Reid in that scenario and then the win last year in Chip Kelly's first season. Now that's what I call a trend. However, Foles has been rattled often this season, and that Arizona secondary is one of the NFL's best. I don't think the Eagles will be able to run, so we could be looking at a few interceptions of Foles. Turnovers are usually the difference in football. No need for an alternate line here, give the 2.5 points and go under.
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