Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Sep 2012

ESPN Upset Watch: Cardinals over Eagles

This week: How the replacement refs can help the Cardinals surprise the Eagles, and why the placement of cornerbacks is critically important in this game. "Cover Watch" looks at San Francisco at Minnesota. A change this week: From now on, we're only going to cover games where the line is at least three points.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Sep 2012

11 comments, Last at 09 Oct 2012, 2:41am by http://alohascreens.com/retractable-screen-doors


by DavidL :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:10pm

If a team that beat the Patriots wins against a team that needed a last-minute touchdown drive to beat the Browns, is it really an upset?

(And I say this as a Philly fan)

by Dan in Philly (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:13pm

Ditto. I can understand how the Eagles are favored, they seem to have a much better offense, but given how free they've been giving the ball up, would anyone be suprised if the Cards win at home, considering they just won at New England???

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:25pm

Agree. On top of everything else, the game's in Arizona.

by Kevin from Philly :: Sun, 09/23/2012 - 12:33pm

Agreed - to a point. I'm not optimistic about this game. It's the kind of game the Eagles always seem to lose - a cross country plane ride to an inferior opponent, just at the point where they've started to feel a little too good about themselves. On the other hand, both of their wins were in situations they always seem to lose too. Cleveland, an early season inferior AFC squad on the road. Baltimore, another AFC squad (this one, superior, talentwise) on the road off a win. Hopefully, they win this week and go on to the next pessimistic situation - an ealy season NFC East battle at home.

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 12:38pm

Beating the Eagles in an early regular season game is never an upset.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 1:53pm

First I've seen of "Upset Watch." It's an idea I've only heard on early-morning Sunday radio in bad Boston dialects trying to convince you to let them bet your money. DVOA seems like perfect for this kind of stuff.

by Kal :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:01pm

Alternately, this can be titled 'how the fuck do the Eagles pull out yet another late-second win despite 4 turnovers?'

by DavidL :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 5:54pm

15 seconds left, Eagles down by 6. Kevin Kolb lines up the Cardinals in kneel-down formation, takes the snap and suddenly tears off his jersey to reveal midnight green underneath. He throws a screen pass to Nnamdi Asomugha, who easily outraces the Arizona offensive line to the end zone.

In the aftermath, Andy Reid hits Roger Goodell with a folding chair.

by COtheLegend :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 3:12pm

Wow. It is not going to be pleasant to look at that stadium's field this Sunday. I'm still haunted by the 2009 NFC Championship game.

After a week of criticism, it appears Andy adjusted his play calling a bit for the Ravens game, and aside from the turnovers, it appeared to have worked. Now, will he do the same in this game? I'd love to see more of the two tight end sets and designed quarterback draws. I think a real key will be if the Eagles can pass block well without having to go into max protect. With the Cardinals' 2-4-5 formation, if the Eagles have to go max protect just to give Vick time, while Patrick Peterson probably covers DeSean Jackson one on one, I think that's giving the Cardinals exactly what they want.

I respect the Cardinals as very quality opponent this Sunday, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Hopefully FOX broadcasts this game in the NY!

by Rick2 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 5:00pm

Yes, they're turning the ball over.

But those things often happen in batches. Suppose they don't turn the ball over suddenly? That puts Philly in the driver's seat in a big way.

It's a question of 'ifs', like any of these hypotheticals, and some seem more likely (now) than others. I'm willing to bet the turnovers magically disappear this week. Just a guess.

What seems less likely to me is that Philly can provide protection. The last time they lost their center (3 years ago against Denver), the replacement allowed a bunch of sacks in 2 games against Dallas. Is the same thing likely to happen again? Center is the most underappreciated position, and most likely one of the most important.

Without turnovers from Philly, how close would this game be?

Without strong play from a center, how much of an offset does that represent?

by http://alohascreens.com/retractable-screen-doors (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 2:41am

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