With Denver/San Diego having already played on Thursday Night Football, the best game this weekend might just be Eagles (5-1) at Cardinals (5-1).
“I think it certainly could be,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I’m interested to see what Chip Kelly has up his sleeve after a bye week, and man, Arizona – they just win football games. I tip my cap to Bruce Arians. He just gets it done. It’s not necessarily always pretty, and it may not aways look identical each week. They’re not one of those teams where you necessarily know what you’re going to get – other than they’re going to pretty much win 66 percent of the time they play. I mean, that’s what Bruce Arians has done as a head coach, so that’ll be an interesting game.”
The Cardinals, of course, hope to maintain their divisional lead over San Francisco (4-3) and Seattle (3-3), while Philadelphia tries to keep pace with the red-hot Cowboys (6-1). The Eagles have been better offensively in recent weeks, but their defense ranks 23rd against both the pass and the run.
“I think the Eagles offensively are just hitting their stride,” La Canfora said. “They’re going to get healthy on their O-Line, and that’ll be big. Defensively, I don’t believe in the Eagles at all – and if that offense doesn’t get back to where it was, then I don’t anticipate them having a long postseason run.”
One team we thought would have a long postseason run is the New Orleans Saints (2-4), who are barely staying afloat in the worst division in football. Sunday night’s game against Green Bay (5-2) isn’t necessarily a must-win game for New Orleans, but it’s pretty darn close.
“It’ll be interesting to see what New Orleans does (with its back) against the wall,” La Canfora said. “I think their issues are primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Rob Ryan’s not fooling anybody anymore. All the money they spent and the draft picks they’ve used to upgrade their defensive personnel, it’s not paying many dividends right now. They can’t get a pass rush. They can’t stop the run. They’re getting gouged with big plays.”
They also can’t make plays when they have to. The Saints have lost three games by a combined six points this season, including last Sunday’s meltdown in Detroit, during which New Orleans coughed up a 13-point lead with less than four minutes to go.
“Drew had a horrible fourth quarter the other day,” La Canfora said, “but let’s face it: Jimmy Graham was a glorified decoy. The young wide receivers they’ve drafted aren’t fully invested in that offense. They don’t necessarily know what they’re doing. You’re not seeing them show up downfield. All their passes are to running backs and tight ends. And when you lose the tight end, you become super one-dimensional. You don’t think they could use Darren Sproles right now?”
It also doesn’t help that Pierre Thomas could miss two to three weeks with a shoulder injury. Thus, the Packers can expect a heavy dose of Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson this Sunday in New Orleans.
“I think they’re going to try to run the ball down Green Bay’s throat,” La Canfora said. “I think that’s really their only way to win this game.”