3 keys that could lead the Eagles to a victory over the Cardinals

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Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith celebrates after scoring with quarterback Jalen Hurts during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Eagles have a very daunting task ahead of them. If the goal is to get the number one seed then Philadelphia will need to avoid losing to their biggest enemy, themselves. Philly is preparing to take on the Jonathan Gannon-led Arizona Cardinals in hopes of gaining ground on the 49ers.

While it’s great to attempt to look ahead and focus on the uncontrollable, let’s take a look at the upcoming New Year’s Eve matchup between the Cardinals and Eagles. The Cardinals and Jonathan Gannon are the sole reasons why Vic Fangio is not the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.

After the Super Bowl loss, the Eagles had the impression that Gannon would be returning but Gannon and the Cardinals had met behind closed doors. This was kept away from the Eagles which led to a picks being swapped to resolve the tampering case.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 26: Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) chat during the game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 26, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

So yes, Jonathan Gannon is extremely disliked in Philadelphia after blowing the Super Bowl with his lack of adjustments and potentially blowing this season for the Eagles due to his secretive ways.

Other than that the Eagles have to find a better way of punishing their old defensive coordinator and what better way to do it than by ending 2023 by handing him a big loss? Here are three keys that will lead to an Eagles win on New Year’s Eve.

Run, Run, Pass!

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift scores against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Eagles did well running the ball against the Giants. They rushed the ball 35 times for 170 yards and two rushing touchdowns. When leaning on the run game the Eagles created a flow for the offense early on. They ran the ball efficiently and relied a little on some play-action passes that worked well. 

Unfortunately, they steered away from it which caused the offense to stall at times. It’s time to be disciplined and accept the fact that running the ball is what this team does very well. It’s also been a huge part of their identity for years. If they can run the ball efficiently and stay disciplined then the passing game will open up and be that much easier for Jalen Hurts and company. 

Limit turnovers

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throwing the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

It’s been the theme of the season. From terrible interceptions to horrific fumbles. The Eagles need to find a way to be smarter with the football. Hurts has to be put in a better position going forward. The deep pass is great but that hasn’t been a thing for them as of late. Create some windows of opportunity underneath and allow Browns and Smith to eat up the yards after the catch. 

Moving the ball quicker and efficiently can not only limit turnovers but it’ll also help get the rhythm going for this offense. The playmakers are frustrated with the coaching staff’s current approach which means that it’s time to switch things up to get rolling for the playoffs.

Create turnovers, Create pressure

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Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter, left, runs with the ball while scoring on a fumble recovery as teammate Haason Reddick (7) gestures and Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Terence Steele (78) chases him during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Eagles struggle mightily against Quarterbacks that can run. That ability to extend the play always bites the Philly defense where the sun doesn’t shine. That has to stop, especially with how the league is evolving. Kyler Murray is one of the more elusive quarterbacks when he’s out of the pocket. 

He can extend plays with the best of them. Which could either lead to big plays or turnovers. The Eagles’ defense has to figure out which one will apply to them this Sunday. If you can create pressure, limit the explosive plays, and find ways to force Murray to throw into some bad reads then this could be a big improvement for the Eagles. But if you can’t, then it’ll be another long Sunday. 

AP Photo/Chris Szagola