5 Key Players for Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals

1 of 6

5 Key Players for Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals

Eagles
Robert Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

As the season enters its final stage for the Philadelphia Eagles, every game will count exponentially more as they attempt to solidify their place at the top of the NFC East. The play of “big stage” players will ultimately have a greater effect on the outcome of games, and their consistency in producing to the best of the their ability will be key in putting together the kind of run the Eagles need to finish the 2013 as a playoff team.

Regardless of the opponent, players on both sides of the ball will be looked upon to step up their output each week and make game changing plays. Many times these players are the spotlight, star performers, which the team counts on to carry the load and take advantage of the weaknesses the opponent presents. However, stars are made in times of need, and making a true run at the playoffs, when you were meant to be in a rebuilding stage, can definitely provide opportunity for players to make a name for themselves when the game is on the line.

The Eagles should be able to look to their key contributors to carry the team as far as they’re looking to go, but don’t be surprised if some young faces step up and create a buzz by making plays and changing the outlook on games. As the expectations in Philadelphia have changed throughout the year so has the inexperience of a defense who can now be counted upon. The offense has always been at the forefront and will continue to be under Chip Kelly, but surprisingly in the end there may be some defensive names who make lasting impressions on the Eagles' claim to glory.

Bob Francis is a Philadelphia Eagles contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rfrancisjr, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

2 of 6

5. Connor Barwin

Eagles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Since joining the Eagles as a free agent, Connor Barwin has become an intricate part of the defensive movement occurring in Philadelphia. His contributions to an inexperienced group as a veteran player have been immeasurable. He leads the team in sacks and has made numerous game changing plays, especially more recently during the Eagles' win streak. Barwin will be counted on to help pressure Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer who can be inconsistent and turn the ball over when forced. In addition, he will be asked to continue and contribute to the Philadelphia run stop which has continued to improve throughout the year.

3 of 6

4. Bradley Fletcher / Cary Williams

Eagles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest question mark entering the season for the Philadelphia Eagles was the almost entirely new secondary. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher have done an acceptable job in covering the opponents' most dangerous aerial weapon, at times giving up big plays but containing the damage more often than not. This week will be no different when they split duties and take on one of the league’s best in Larry Fitzgerald. Keeping Fitzgerald under wraps, as well as keeping Michael Floyd at bay, will be a key to the defense being successful and the Eagles gaining another needed victory to keep pace in the NFC East.

4 of 6

3. DeSean Jackson

Eagles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

On pace to have his best season as a professional, DeSean Jackson is capable of keeping defenses honest on any play. His blazing speed and big play capabilities make him a tough matchup and must cover for any opponent. The Eagles will need his production, as well as his creativity, in making things difficult on one of the league’s better defenses in Arizona. In addition, Jackson will play to win the individual battle against the Cardinals top receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. Jackson could also play a part in special teams on returns which will add to his intrigue and importance.

5 of 6

2. LeSean McCoy

Eagles
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Facing one of his most daunting tasks to date, LeSean McCoy will be responsible for making the ground game work against one of the best run defenses in the league. He has had some very productive days against some of the better defenses the Eagles have faced, but more often than not he is a dual attack back. Creating problems both on the ground and through the air, McCoy can help to open avenues for other players and give Nick Foles more time to make decisions behind center. His ability to find holes and open the game up will have a direct effect on the ability of the Eagles offense to find success.

6 of 6

1. Nick Foles

Eagles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Saying that Nick Foles has come a long way in a season would be an understatement. Foles has spent the better part of his opportunity in 2013 impressing anyone who’s watching. He has become part of the record books, achieved things that the best in the game have not and currently has the Eagles looking like everyone had hoped on offense. He has been the answer to so many questions that the season began with, but now comes the real challenge. Foles’ play over the next weeks will determine if he can handle the pressures of big time football, if the Eagles make the playoffs and if he will become the franchise quarterback of the future in Philadelphia. Foles has the opportunity to lead and his production, beginning against the Arizona Cardinals, will probably have the greatest effect of any player on the field as to exactly where the Eagles end up.

Related:

Are The Philadelphia Eagles A Legitimate Contender in NFC?

Cardinals vs. Eagles NFL Week 13: TV Schedule, Betting Lines, Prediction


Around the Web