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Week 3 NFC Notes

September 18, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



As the NFL enters Week 3, six teams find themselves undefeated at 2-0. Two of those clubs will meet at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon (FOX, 4:05 PM ET) when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Both teams are coming off exciting Week 2 victories by a combined total of three points. The Eagles defeated Baltimore 24-23 and the Cardinals knocked off the Patriots in New England, 20-18. Combined, the two teams have won all four of their games this season by a total of eight points (Arizona +6 and Philadelphia +2).

 

The Eagles, who scored a late touchdown to win 17-16 at Cleveland in Week 1, are the first team in NFL history to start 2-0 and win each of its first two games by one point.

 

“When you boil down the first two wins for Philadelphia, their mental toughness prevailed,” says NFL Network analyst MICHAEL LOMBARDI. “They haven’t let bad play affect them and they go on to the next play. That’s been critical. That’s really been the testimonial to why they’re 2-0 right now.”

 

Philadelphia is the first team since the 1983 Los Angeles Rams to win its first two games despite turning the ball over at least nine times.

 

“They’ve had nine turnovers but they’re still undefeated,” says NBC analyst TONY DUNGY about the Eagles. “Wait until they learn how to take care of the ball.”

 

The Cardinals are looking for the franchise’s first 3-0 start since 1974 when the team won its first seven games. Last week, Arizona handed the Patriots their first loss in a home opener at Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002.

“Going to New England and getting that win can definitely propel our season to the next level,” says Arizona cornerback PATRICK PETERSON, who had an interception in the contest. “Some guys in the locker room described it as a statement game. But we’ll have to wait and see what the rest of the season has for us.”


Defensively, the Cardinals limited the Patriots to 18 points, snapping New England’s streak of 25 consecutive home games with at least 20 points. It also marked just the second time in his past 37 starts that New England quarterback TOM BRADY lost a regular-season game at home.

 

“The Cardinals have Pro Bowl players on every level of their defense,” says Lombardi. “This is a tough defense. There is nothing easy to get from them. They have great speed and they have great size.”

 

Over the past 11 games dating back to last season, the Cardinals are tied for the best record in the NFL at 9-2.

 

“We have a lot of games left,” says Arizona head coach KEN WHISENHUNT. “We still have a story to tell as far as who this team is going to be.”

 

Sunday’s contest will also mark the first time these two teams have met in Arizona since the 2008 NFC Championship Game, which the Cardinals won to advance to Super Bowl XLIII.

 

A trip to the Super Bowl isn’t on the line in Week 3, but a victory would give one of these teams an impressive 3-0 start.

 

“We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us this week against Arizona,” says Eagles head coach ANDY REID. “They’re coming off a big win at New England. They’re playing good offense, defense and special teams so we have to make sure we prepare ourselves right this week.”


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