Game Predictions & Player Projections - ARI vs. PHI

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: ARI 20, PHI 27

(Line: PHI by 6.5, O/U = 45)


UPDATE: Wendell Smallwood never practiced this week and is not expected to play despite being listed as questionable. I have removed him from the projections and added in Corey Clement. Kenjon Barner could also see some work. J.J. Nelson and John Brown were limited in practices and questionable on the injury report but both are expected to play.

The 2-2 Cardinals are 1-1 on the road and travel to face the 3-1 Eagles who are 1-0 in home games. The only road win by the Cards was the three point victory in Indianapolis. So far their defense has been great when facing weak teams and surprisingly bad when against good offenses, let alone on a road game. The Eagles defense hasn't been that great but the schedule has been rough so far. The offense is getting better and should be enough for this home stand.

Arizona Cardinals

1 @DET 23-35 10 SEA ---
2 @IND 16-13 11 @HOU ---
3 DAL 17-28 12 JAC ---
4 SF 18-15 13 LAR ---
5 @PHI --- 14 TEN ---
6 TB --- 15 @WAS ---
7 @LAR --- 16 NYG ---
8 BYE xxx 17 @SEA ---
9 @SF ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 250,1
WR Brice Butler 2-20,1
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-60
WR J.J. Nelson 4-70,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 3-30
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals remain much too limited on offense since the departure of David Johnson. There's still no passing to the tight ends and while Andre Ellington recent stepped up as a receiver, this offense depends almost entirely on connecting with the wide receivers. And the lack of scoring will continue to prevent the Cards from staying in most games. As a team, they are only averaging only 1.5 touchdowns per week and haven't scored more than 18 points since the opener.

QUARTERBACK: Carson Palmer is very consistent with around 320 passing yards per week and one touchdown. The hopes and dreams of the offense are now pinned on him and that's reflected in his higher yardage. But he's matched his five touchdowns with five interceptions and has been sacked six times in each of the last two games. Teams don't respect the run and blitz the quarterback more.

RUNNING BACK: Chris Johnson stays at around 12 carries per game for about 30 yards. The only notable development has been Andre Ellington stepping up as a receiver. He had five catches for 59 yards in Week 3 against the Cowboys and then a team-high nine receptions for 86 yards in the win over the 49ers. The Cardinals still have just one rushing touchdown that came back in the season opener.

WIDE RECEIVER: Is it your turn? Once David Johnson was lost, it was up to this unit to win games. And each week there was a 100-yard effort. The problem is that so far it has been a different player each time. Week 2- J.J. Nelson (5-120, TD). Week 3 - Larry Fitzgerald (13-149, TD). Week 4 - Jaron Brown (8-105). But on their other weeks, the receivers are not playing well. Nelson has no more than 43 yards in any other game. Jaron Brown only managed two catches for 25 yards against the Cowboys. Fitzgerald's big game sandwiched weeks with only 21 and 32 yards. It could be John Brown's turn but he's been unable to play until last week and hasn't topped 47 yards or scored.

TIGHT END: No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Eagles played one home game so far and that was when Eli Manning threw for 366 yards and three scores. But while Palmer regularly throws for 300 yards, he's been stuck at one or two touchdowns each week. The Eagles gave up three scores to tight ends but the Cards never use theirs as receivers. Expect the big yardage from Palmer but anything more than two scores would be hard to see in a road game.

Have to like Nelson for one of the scores. His two touchdowns were in road games and Fitzgerald hasn't done much away from home. Which of the other three wideouts would score would be a coin flip if it even happens.

Ellington is a deep flex play in a PPR league in a game that they'll need to throw more often. The Eagles are great against the run and the only back with more than 35 yards was Kareem Hunt who was limited to 80.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 13 19 2 29 12 17
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 27 4 30 25 11 22

Philadelphia Eagles

1 @WAS 30-17 10 BYE xxx
2 @KC 20-27 11 @DAL ---
3 NYG 27-24 12 CHI ---
4 @LAC 26-24 13 @SEA ---
5 ARI --- 14 @LAR ---
6 @CAR --- 15 @NYG ---
7 WAS --- 16 OAK ---
8 SF --- 17 DAL ---
9 DEN ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Wentz 250,2
RB Jay Ajayi 70 2-10
RB Corey Clement 40 3-20
WR Nelson Agholor 4-50,1
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-50
WR Mike Wallace 3-40
TE Zach Ertz 6-80,1
PK Jake Elliott 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Eagles are one trip to Kansas City from being undefeated and even then they only lost by a touchdown. The offense isn't as prolific as it was for the initial two weeks but the rushing effort stepped up and is now carrying its weight. The Eagles are succeeding with a balanced approach and there have been no real stars on the roster. But the overall team effort has gotten the job done and this team is getting harder to defense against.

QUARTERBACK: After opening with two 300-yard efforts with two scores in each, Carson Wentz has settled down with no more than one score in each game and as low as 176 yards facing the Giants. The next three defenses should all be tough enough to keep the passing stats lower. The schedule still has many good defenses left to play and usually in their stadium.

RUNNING BACK: LeGarrette Blount dominated the box score last week mostly because he ran for 68 yards on one play. He finished with 16 carries for 136 yards and has been very different in all four games this year. He did score once on his 12 runs for 67 yards in his only other home game this year. Wendell Smallwood played more snaps last week and scored once on his ten runs for 34 yards in the win over the Chargers. Smallwood also added four catches for 45 yards and is starting to get more use as a receiver finally after the loss of Darren Sproles. Cory Clement had a season-high ten carries for 30 yards but remains the No. 3 option.

WIDE RECEIVER: The lower passing stats of the last two weeks had an obvious effect though Alshon Jeffery recorded his second score on the year when he caught three passes for 29 yards versus the Chargers. Nelson Agholor scored in the first two games but only totals six receptions over the last three weeks. Torrey Smith only managed one catch on Sunday and dropped what could have been a long scoring play. The reduced passing depresses the stats but at least the touchdowns are still coming this way. The Eagles still lack any 100-yard receiver this season.

TIGHT END: Zack Ertz scored in just one game this year - the other home venue. He's been good for ar least five catches per week and averages 82 yards each game. He remains one of the top scoring and most consistent tight ends this year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Cardinals lost OLB Markus Golden with a torn ACL so the pass rush should be less. The Cardinals defense has allowed six passing touchdowns and all but one went to a wide receiver. CB Patrick Peterson would match naturally onto Torrey Smith but that would be a waste. He's more likely to shadow Alshon Jeffery but it just depends on what the Cards want to do in coverage. Peterson did a good job against their opponent's No. 1 wideout so far but it is less clear here with Jeffery being just marginally better.

The Cardinals have been very good against tight ends but have not faced many good ones. Jason Witten was held to only one catch but that game was more about rushing the ball with Ezekiel Elliott anyway. Ertz is always a strong start and more so at home.

The Cardinals have allowed well over four yards per carry to the better backs that they faced. But it gets sliced and diced in this backfield and there is no single back more likely to score - all three of the main rushers have one touchdown. Blount and Smallwood can be considered for moderate yardage though either has more upside this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 10 9 20 2 2 5
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 21 6 26 4 19 28

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