Eagles-Cardinals Keys to the Game

The Eagles will travel on the road for the 3rd straight week to play the surprising Cardinals in the NFC Championship game, for the right to go to the Super Bowl. This will be the Eagles 5th NFC Championship game appearance in the past eight seasons. The Eagles have lost those games before when being favored, so this game should be a very tough one.

One of the main keys to this game is to get pressure on Cardinals QB, Kurt Warner. Getting pressure on Kurt Warner will most likely be the defensive game plan. Jim Johnson has very good success with this Eagles defense when facing Kurt Warner. You can see here that Kurt Warner has not previously had a lot of success against the Eagles. However, if Kurt Warner is given time to pass the ball, he is deadly effective. Warner can pick any team apart when given time, and with the receivers he has now, it is imperative to bring some pressure. Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the game, and has shown the past couple weeks that even when double-teamed, he will still go up and get the ball. How do you stop Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin? You get pressure on Warner, and don’t allow him to be comfortable all game. Warner will make mistakes when pressure, he will throw bad passes, and he will put the ball on the ground. The Eagles front four has not gotten to the QB so far in the playoffs, so the Eagles may need to dial up some blitzes in order to get to Warner. And what better man to devise up some complex blitz schemes than Jim Johnson.

Another key to the game is the Eagles rushing attack. The Eagles had 185 yards rushing in their first matchup against the Cardinals. However, the rushing attack has been grounded in the two previous playoff games. The Cardinals do not have a good rushing defense, and the Eagles will need to exploit that. If Westbrook is not healthy enough to carry the ball 20 times, then Buckhalter, and Eckel should both get multiple carries. This is definitely a game where we need to keep McNabb out of pressure situations, and keep McNabb off the ground. A rushing attack that is effective in this game will also keep the potent Cardinals offense off the field. The Cardinals picked off five passes last weekend against the Panthers, and their cornerbacks are playing better than they have all season. The Cardinals feature some good young cornerbacks, and also a very good safety. Look for their secondary to jump some of the Eagles routes. With an effective rushing attack, the Eagles can effectively use play action, and stretch the field with Curtis and Jackson.

Those are just a couple keys to what should be a very exciting, nerve racking NFC Championship game. As Eagles fans, we have seen our team get this far, be favored, and lose the game. Let’s hope that we after Sunday, we will be in our second Super Bowl in the past five seasons.


No comments: