Big Red Blog: Underdogs ... Again

The Cardinals have thrived in the underdog role so far this year and will look to continue that trend against a favored Eagles team on Sunday.

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Underdogs ... Again

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, September 21 - 9:00 AM

The Cardinals have thrived in the underdog role so far this year, beating Seattle and New England when the experts were predicting a loss. That trend will continue this week as Philadelphia heads to the desert as slightly less than a touchdown favorite.

While the odds makers still have yet to give the Cardinals much respect, they along with many others have legitimate concerns – particularly on the offensive side of the ball. After two weeks, Arizona ranks 30th in the NFL in passing (175 yards per game) and 28th in rushing (74 yards per game). The Cardinals defense has been respectable but the offense needs to take a step forward this week against a 2-0 Eagles team.

Philadelphia has been solid on both sides of the ball, especially in the passing game as it will enter Sunday's tussle as the NFL's top ranked air attack (332 yards per game). One area where the Eagles have struggled is in the turnover battle as they've turned it over an NFC-high nine times. In addition, Philadelphia has prevailed in both games this year by a single point, far from a dominant start.

Back to Sunday's matchup where another storyline will take center stage – Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb squaring off against his former team. Just two years ago, Kolb was expected to be the quarterback of the future in Philadelphia. But following a concussion and the resurgence of Michael Vick his days as an Eagle quickly came to an end. Kolb will be out for revenge but Philadelphia certainly will know his tendencies well.

When looking at the opponents each squad has faced this year, the Cardinals appear to have an advantage over who Philadelphia has lined-up against. New England and Baltimore (who each team beat last week) are a wash but Seattle is superior to Cleveland. This could also be a look ahead spot for the Eagles as they'll square off against the New York Giants and Pittsburgh in the following two weeks.

Given that Arizona has played a tougher schedule over the first two games and that it stands to benefit from a handful of Eagles turnovers, the Cardinals have an excellent shot at pulling an upset for a third straight week. Arizona is playing a pesky brand of football that's frustrating for the opposition and look for that to continue en route to a 3-0 start.

Prediction: Arizona 24 Philadelphia 21

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