The Eagles/Cardinals rivalry dates back to November 10, 1935, when the Eagles beat the-then Chicago Cardinals 12-3.
These two teams will meet on Sunday afternoon in Glendale, Ariz., for the 116th time. The Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals hold a 56-54-5 record in the series, including a 2-1 playoff edge.
It’ll be the first time the Eagles will have visited University of Phoenix Stadium since they took on Arizona in the 2009 NFC Championship Game, a game they lost 32-25.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid knows heading home 3-0 after the game will not be an easy task, as the Cardinals will pose a tough challenge for he and his team.
“They’re a good football team, they’re well coached and they have good players,” Reid said. “That’s a pretty good combination for things.”
Sunday’s game will be the first time Reid and the Eagles will oppose quarterback Kevin Kolb since dealing him to the Cardinals prior to the beginning of the 2011 season (remember John Skelton got the start against Philadelphia last November at Lincoln Financial Field and led Arizona to a 21-17 victory).
Reid has nothing but respect for Kolb and has taken notice of his play in the first two games this season.
“I think Kevin’s a heckuva quarterback,” Reid said. “I had him here and I know what he’s capable of. You’ve seen here the last couple games how he’s played and managed the game.”
Reid sided with Kolb in the fact that he knows how tough it is for anyone to be uprooted from a team and a system that you’re used to playing in, and be dropped in a totally different environment and have to perform and perform well right out of the gate.
“It takes a little bit of time,” Reid said. “I don’t care who you are, you’re gonna have some ups and downs. You see it throughout the league.”
The Cardinals special teams unit has been terrorizing opposing units for quite a few years now, and has started strong this season, with defensive end Calais Campbell’s field goal block against Seattle, and linebacker Quentin Groves’ blocked punt against the Patriots last Sunday.
Reid knows Arizona’s special teams can cause him to have nightmares if he, his coaches and his players don’t gameplan correctly for them.
“They know how to block kicks and they know how to block punt, so you better be strong,” Reid said. “They are going to find whatever they figure out is your weakness. They are going to find it, exploit it and attack it.”
Reid said they’re not doing any more preparation on special teams for the Cardinals than they would for any other team.
The Eagles offense ranges from top to bottom in the league.
They’re No. 1 in the NFL in total offense per game (471 ypg), but they’re dead last in the league when it comes to turnovers (nine in two games).
Reid sees a vicious and ferocious Cardinals defense that will exploit any mistake a team makes against them. He says the team needs to tighten up the turnover ratio if they expect to have a chance on Sunday.
“You play a good football team like the Arizona Cardinals, and you turn the football over, you are going to hurt yourself,” Reid said. “We’ve got to make sure we take care of the football.”
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has a league leading six interceptions. Reid says Vick has “never been a turnover guy.” He just wants his quarterback to settle down and play football.
“I just want him to be himself,” Reid said. “That’s really what I want him to be.”
Philadelphia suffered a major blow against the Ravens last Sunday, when starting center Jason Kelce partially tore his ACL and tore his MCL in his right knee.
As a result of that injury, Dallas Reynolds – who spent three years on their practice squad – will take over the duties at center.
Reid is very confident that Reynolds will perform well against the Cardinals defense.
“Dallas is capable of doing that. He earned a right to be on the regular team here.”
“Those are good players,” Reid said, speaking of Arizona’s defensive line. “You also have to deal with those linebackers that are good players and the blitz scheme that they present.”