I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Sadly, the day didn’t go well as far as the Eagles were concerned. Both the Lions and Cowboys won, and the Eagles will likely be battling both of those teams for a playoff spot. That makes Sunday’s game against the Cardinals much more urgent.
And nothing says urgency like wearing an alternate jersey! For the first time since 2009, the Eagles will be wearing their black jerseys. Some people seem to like the black jerseys, but I am not a big fan. Maybe I have too many memories of the Eagles playing really poorly in them. In fact, one of the worst games in the Andy Reid era took place in those black uniforms.
If they really want to use an alternate jersey, why not go back to the throwback uniforms that they wore in 2007? Yes, those jerseys were ugly. Yes, the yellow and blue color scheme doesn’t exactly make you think of the Philadelphia Eagles. But do you remember what happened the last time they wore them? This happened.
I’d like to see that kind of day happen again. I realize that those throwback jerseys wouldn’t ensure a repeat performance (Keep in mind that they played the Matt Millen-era Lions that day), but it certainly couldn’t hurt, right?
What’s the Deal with the Cardinals?
The Cardinals come into town on a roll, having won four straight games. While the first three wins were over bad teams, last week they easily topped the Colts. That’s a quality win that means the Cardinals have to be taken at least a little seriously.
The strength of the Cardinals has been their defense, led by coordinator Todd Bowles. Yes, the same Todd Bowles who oversaw the train wreck that was the Eagles defense in the second half of the 2012 season.
Apparently, if you give Bowles a full offseason to prepare (Rather than naming him coordinator in mid-season), don’t force certain defensive concepts upon him (Like Jim Washburn and the “Wide Nines”), and give him some top notch defensive talent (As opposed to a washed up Nnamdi Asomugha), Bowles can actually lead a good defense.
The Cardinals’ strength may be their defense, but their offense hasn’t been too bad either. Quarterback Carson Palmer has shown that if you give him good protection and some good receivers, he can still be effective. They’ve also gotten a huge boost from rookie running back Andre Ellington.
Featured Cardinals Player: Tyrann Mathieu
Many people remember Mathieu from his college days at LSU, where he gained notoriety as the blond hair-dyed “Honey Badger.” Mathieu was a standout on the field, but he had some issues off of it. The problems all seemed to stem from his fondness of the marijuana.
Despite being one of the most talented defensive players in college football, Mathieu was kicked off the LSU team after multiple failed drug tests. I’m guessing that Mathieu was a HUGE pain in the butt for his coaches, because the school apparently didn’t even attempt any sort of a cover up. That’s almost unheard of at a major college football program.
Mathieu later spent a night in jail due to marijuana possession, and if he wasn’t immensely talented, that would have been the last we ever heard of him. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the NFL, it is that character doesn’t mean nearly as much as talent.
The Cardinals drafted Mathieu in the third round, and he now supposedly has his life turned around thanks to support from his former college mentor and now secondary-mate with the Cardinals, Patrick Peterson.
Time will tell if he’s really past all of his off-field issues. But on field, he’s adapted quite well to the NFL, and he’s one of the leading candidates for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Key Eagles Storyline
Throughout much of the season, teams have been stacking the line of scrimmage against the Eagles, hoping to shut down LeSean McCoy and the Eagles running game. Partially because of that, there have been some opportunities in the passing game, and Nick Foles has been taking advantage.
Unlike previous opponents, the Cardinals may not have to sell out against the run, as they rank second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. If they can stop McCoy without extra help, then Foles might not be seeing quite as many open receivers as in weeks past.
Foles was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for November (Which seemed odd since there were still games left to play in November, but whatever) and the Eagles starter for the rest of the season. He hasn’t proven he’s the franchise quarterback this team needs, but he’ll get a chance to do so down the home stretch.
Elsewhere in the NFL
Remember when I said that the Packers weren’t just Aaron Rodgers carrying a group of lousy players? Apparently I was wrong. The Packers made the Lions look great yesterday, and as the past ten years have shown us, it is extremely difficult to make the Lions look good on Thanksgiving.
Chappelle’s Show Skit that Relates to this Week’s Game
Tyrann Mathieu could have avoided all of his problems if he simply tried O’Dweeds instead:
The Week in Andy
After 13 years together, many Eagles fans are feeling some Andy Reid withdrawal. I’ve decided to help them out by providing a weekly look at what Big Red is up to in Kansas City.
The scene: Chiefs general manager enters a conference room to find offensive coordinator Doug Pederson addressing the offense (with beer can in hand, of course) while Andy Reid is asleep in a chair on the side of the room.
Dorsey: Hey, And- Wait, what’s going on?
Pederson: Dorkey! What are you doing here?
Dorsey: I wanted to talk to the coach.
Pederson: Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.
Dorsey: (Looks at the sleeping Reid) Um, is he okay?
Pederson: Yeah, he’s fine. Just taking a little nap.
Dorsey: Shouldn’t he be the one talking to everyone?
Pederson: In case you haven’t noticed, today is the day after Thanksgiving. Dude’s in a tryptophan coma.
Dorsey: He hasn’t recovered from last night’s dinner?
Pederson: Oh, he recovered from that. But not from breakfast this morning.
Dorsey: He had leftovers for breakfast?
Pederson: Leftovers? No. Coach has a Thanksgiving tradition where he eats a turkey every day of the weekend.
Dorsey: That’s awful. How does he manage to coach like that?
Pederson: C’mon, Dorkey! Everyone knows that coach doesn’t actually coach the game on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a tradition that one of the assistants handles things that weekend, while coach just kind of chills on the turkey.
Dorsey: And he left you in charge?
Pederson: He didn’t leave anyone in charge, I just took over. Sutty over there (Indicates defensive coordinator Bob Sutton sitting in a chair) thought he was going to do it, but I put him in his place. Hey, Sutty! Think fast! (Finishes the beer and throws the empty can at Sutton who meekly shields himself)
Dorsey: Well, this is just unacceptable.
Pederson: Well, you could try to wake Coach, but I wouldn’t recommend it. One time, they actually made him coach on Thanksgiving weekend, and Coach was all sorts of screwed up. He called for an onside kick to start the game, and we almost lost to the crappy Redskins. Luckily, someone slipped him some white meat at halftime, and he dozed off, and we were able to come back.
Dorsey: This is…I..I just don’t know what to say.
Pederson: How about you get the hell out of here, then? I got some coaching to do!
Final Take and Prediction
I think this is going to be the biggest test that the Foles-led offense has faced. I don’t think they’ll be completely shut down, but I can see them having some difficulties at times. On defense, the Eagles have never stopped Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald before, and I don’t think they’ll be able to do it this time either. If Carson Palmer is given time, he can find his receivers, and sadly, the Eagles’ pass rush isn’t that good.
Cardinals 24 – Eagles 13