Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (12/31/23)
The Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) host the Arizona Cardinals (3-12) this Sunday (12/31/23) at 1:00 p.m. EST. Betting odds have the Eagles as double-digit favorites at -11 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 48 total points.
This article provides Cardinals vs. Eagles analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the over.
Cardinals vs. Eagles Prediction & Best Bet
Last week was supposed to be a “get right” game for the Eagles, but they nearly blew a 17-point halftime lead against the Giants and survived a game that felt more like another loss.
There are already plenty of alarm bells ringing in Philly right now, but if they can’t put together a much better performance this week against the Cardinals, the chorus of skepticism about this team will grow deafeningly loud.
The Giants are a bad team that is playing better in the second half of the season. That description also fits the Cardinals, but they are a much worse team, especially on defense.
Arizona Cardinals Defense (through Week 16)
32nd success rate
32nd series conversion rate
They probably should have hired a defensive head coach.
— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) December 28, 2023
That tweet is poking fun at Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon, who was the Eagles’ much-maligned defensive coordinator for the last two seasons. As if the Eagles didn’t have enough motivation to put together a solid performance this week, coach Nick Sirianni is not hiding from the fact that the team and their fans would love to dominate Gannon’s team.
“I want him to feel so freaking uncomfortable.”
Nick Sirianni told us he expects a warm welcome for Gannon at the Linc this Sunday pic.twitter.com/asfeq84pUU
— WIP Morning Show (@WIPMorningShow) December 27, 2023
The big question, of course, is whether and when we will finally see the Eagles play the way they are capable of playing for an entire game. If they do that this week, then they should have no problem covering this double-digit spread. But until we see that happen, we simply cannot trust them enough to bet on it, but we also can’t bet against them.
Instead, we like the over as the best bet in this game. We considered the Eagles team total over instead, but that number was either too high or the odds too juiced for our liking, so we’ll go with the full game over instead.
The Eagles’ offense has been out of sync for most of the season, but they are still one of the best offenses in the league (8th in DVOA and 5th in EPA). Aside from a few big mistakes last week, they started to look better and should have no problem against this horrible Cardinals defense.
The Eagles’ defense, on the other hand, has been terrible. Over their last six games, they are 29th in defensive EPA and they’re allowing 28.5 points per game. The Cardinals’ offense isn’t great, but they have at least been competent since Kyler Murray returned. They are 16th in offensive EPA with Murray under center, and 3rd in rushing EPA.
Both offenses have the upper hand in this matchup, making the over the most sensible play.
Cardinals vs. Eagles Prediction & Best Bet: Eagles win 31-20 | Best Bet: over 48 total points
Cardinals vs. Eagles Betting Odds
The spread in this game has seen some wacky movement, as it opened as high as Eagles -12.5 but was also down to -9.5 at one point this week. It has now settled in at either -10.5 or -11 depending on the sportsbook.
The over/under has been steady at 48 and hasn’t moved more than 0.5 points in either direction.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Eagles winning 29-18.
Cardinals vs. Eagles Key Injuries
The Eagles could be getting a few starters back from injury, as LBs Zach Cunningham and Nicholas Morrow and LG Landon Dickerson have all missed at least 1 game recently but are trending towards returning this week. CB Darius Slay is the starter most likely to miss this game, but it’s possible that slot CB Avonte Maddox could return this week.
The most significant injury to monitor for the Cardinals is their top receiver, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who missed the last game with a heel injury and has not returned to practice as of this writing. Two starters on defense – OLB Zaven Collins and DL Jonathan Ledbetter – have both missed practice this week and are worth monitoring.
Cardinals vs. Eagles Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Cardinals vs. Eagles below.
D’Andre Swift vs. Cardinals’ run defense
D’Andre Swift kind of disappeared for about a month of the season, but he has been much better over the last two games, averaging 83 yards per game on 4.4 yards per carry. He has a good chance to continue that trend with an extremely favorable matchup this week.
The Cardinals have been terrible against the run all season, but especially over the last month. They have allowed 188 yards per game on 5.8 yards per carry against the Rams, Steelers, 49ers, and Bears. They are also extremely banged up, with every week 1 starter from the front seven currently injured, including four on IR.
The Eagles should also have matchup advantages in the passing game, but their offense works much better when they are running the ball effectively. They are also likely to be playing with a lead in this game, but they have struggled at times this season to use their ground game to protect their leads in the second half. That’s why this is arguably the most important matchup in this game.
James Conner and Kyler Murray vs. Eagles’ front seven
The Cardinals have been a solid rushing team all season, and as noted above, they are 3rd in rushing EPA since Murray returned in week 10. Overall they are 8th in EPA and 9th in DVOA on the ground, and they are 9th in rushing offense with 129.2 yards per game.
The Eagles had the best run defense in the league earlier this season, but they have fallen off a cliff recently. Over their last 6 games they are 29th in EPA and 25th in success rate against the run and they are allowing 138.5 yards per game. Prior to that they had allowed just 66.3 yards per game over their first nine games.
James Conner is having another solid season, averaging 69.3 yards per game on 4.9 yards per carry. Murray is one of the most dangerous QBs in the league with his legs and is averaging 31 yards per game on 5.5 yards per attempt.
The Cardinals’ best hope in this game is to control the ball with their ground game and keep the Eagles’ offense (and their own defense) off the field. If the Eagles can’t slow down the run, this game will again be closer than they would like it to be.