Eagles Wire managing Editor Glenn Erby gives us some insight to the team and the matchup this weekend. His answers to a few questions are below.
What happened to Carson Wentz this season? Is there any way he recovers and can be the Eagles' guy in 2021 or beyond?
Wentz is dealing with a combination of insecurity, bad drafting, injuries to key players along the offensive line, and bad play that has been enhanced by an inordinate amount of sacks and hits taken by a quarterback over a 14 week period. He'll recover, but the question of whether he regains his form here in Philadelphia or elsewhere is the No. 1 question that needs to be answered during the offseason.
After one start with Jalen Hurts, is everything fixed? What can we expect to see from the rookie? What does he offer that Wentz was not giving the team?
Things improved with Hurts in at quarterback, but they're still are lingering issues that his athletic ability and improvisational skills will help mask. Hurts isn't the runner or passer that Kyler Murray is, but what you'll get is an efficient signal-caller, who won't put his team in the negative or turn the ball over, something Wentz was unable to do. For Hurts, the biggest asset and the one thing Wentz struggled to do was avoid huge turnovers or negative plays.
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Just how bad has the injury bug been this year for Philly? How will the past injuries affect the team in Week 15?
Every position accept quarterback has been impacted by injuries but none more significant than the offensive line. The Eagles had a top-5 offensive line last season and three of PFF's top-10 highest-graded offensive linemen overall. Brandon Brook's injured Achilles, Lane Johnson's ankle issues, and Andre Dillard's torn pec have played a huge role in Carson Wentz's regression as a quarterback.
Strengths and weaknesses
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What are the strengths and weaknesses of this team? Was the win over the Saints turning the corner or was it just a good game after four losses?
Strengths on offense start with running back Miles Sanders and tight end Dallas Goedert. Zach Ertz hasn't been himself this season, but his resume speaks for itself. With Hurts inserted, the Eagles' ability to control the pace with a stout running game can now be considered a strength, along with a disruptive defensive line that is able to wreak havoc while only rushing four. The major weakness would be at linebacker and in the secondary where injuries have disrupted the cornerback position as well.
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Which matchups will most favor the Eagles? Which ones will most favor the Cardinals?
When the Eagles are on defense, Philadelphia's defensive line will have a decided advantage over Arizona's offense front and that'll be a matchup to watch. On defense, DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Kenyan Drake are by far the favorites in their matchup with the Eagles linebackers and defensive backs.
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Who wins, why and how?
The Eagles are back in the playoff hunt and Doug Pederson rarely loses with a backup quarterback that runs the offense to his preference. I look for the Eagles to pressure Kyler Murray while living with huge performances from DeAndre Hopkins or Christian Kirk on the outside. The Eagles put pressure on the Cardinals defense with a mixture of Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders, allowing Philadelphia to come away with a 31-28 road upset.