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By KEVIN CHROUST

STATS Writer
(AP) -- In a division that produced both conference finalists a season ago, the Arizona Cardinals find themselves in first place.

 

Extending their lead to two games in the NFC West will require a win over one of the league's other one-loss teams, the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

Both bring two-game winning streaks into Sunday's matchup, with the Cardinals trying to stay perfect at home while the Eagles return from a bye with some key names back practicing.

 

The Cardinals (5-1) are 1 1/2 games ahead of idle San Francisco and might be the surprise team of the division. However, coach Bruce Arians is quick to point out his team still hasn't reached the level of accomplishment of last season's conference finalists - the 49ers and Seattle.

 

"We know we're not special. The one thing we've talked about all week was, you never underestimate your opponent and you sure don't overestimate yourself," Arians told the Cardinals' official website. "We haven't done anything yet, except get to 5-1. There's a lot of football left."

 

The latest step forward was Sunday's 24-13 win in Oakland, the Cardinals' third in as many games with Carson Palmer starting at quarterback. Palmer, playing his second game after a shoulder injury kept him out the previous three, completed 22 of 31 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

 

The Cardinals went 10-6 last year in Palmer's first season in Arizona but missed the playoffs after a 3-4 start. Since, they're 10-2 with him as a starter, and his 97.8 rating in that time ranks seventh in the NFL ahead of Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck.

 

"We lost some games that we shouldn't have last year that kept us out of the playoffs. This year we've won those games, so that's a great lesson," Palmer said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg. I think we're getting ready to define hopefully my time here and our time as a team."

 

He'll be going up against a Philadelphia defense that seemed to find its way before a Week 7 bye. The Eagles (5-1) went into the week off riding a 27-0 home win over the New York Giants on Oct. 12, in which they allowed a season-low 254 yards after surrendering an average of 461.3 over the previous three games.

 

That defense could have starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who has returned to practice after missing four games with a calf injury to help handle Palmer, running back Andre Ellington and wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.

 

With Palmer starting, the Cardinals are averaging 361.7 yards of total offense as opposed to 273.0 in their three games without him.

 

"They've got a lot of weapons and they do a lot of different things on the offensive side of the ball to spread the ball around to all of those guys," coach Chip Kelly told the Eagles' official website.

 

The Eagles, now looking up at 6-1 Dallas, might also be healthier on offense. Running back Darren Sproles could play after suffering a sprained MCL against the Giants, something he didn't think would be possible after the injury occurred.

 

"I'm fine," said Sproles, who has returned to practice. "I thought it was bad. I had an MRI and I feel pretty good."

 

In the passing game, the Eagles will be hoping for improvement from Nick Foles. The quarterback has thrown five interceptions in three games and seven for the season after throwing 27 TDs to two interceptions in 13 games in 2013.

 

He might need a particularly strong game through the air to open up the running game. The Cardinals have the top run defense in the NFL, allowing 72.5 yards per game after limiting Oakland the 56.

 

"It's the personnel they have," Kelly said. "Obviously, (defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles) does a really great job with their scheme. Their scheme is somewhat unique in getting in a lot of fronts. They run a lot of looks on the defensive side of the ball, so they can confuse you a little bit.

 

"But also they've got some really, really good football players on the defensive side of the ball."

 

The Cardinals, though, will be dealing with a rested LeSean McCoy who is coming off his best effort of the season. The NFL's leading rusher a season ago had 149 yards on 22 carries against the Giants after averaging 2.9 yards per carry through his first five games.

 

The Eagles beat the Cardinals 24-21 on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia, but seven of the last nine meetings in Arizona - including the conference championship game following the 2008 season - have gone the Cardinals' way.

 

Source: Hosted.Stats.com

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Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) is active for Sunday's Week 8 game against the Eagles.

Campbell may have his snaps limited based on how he feels coming off an MCL sprain, but he presence is big for the Cardinals. They've also activated RB Marion Grice for the first time even though Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor are healthy.
The Cardinals inactives: QB Logan Thomas, LB Thomas Keiser, LB Glenn Carson, DT Alameda Ta’amu, DT Bruce Gaston, G Earl Watford and TE Troy Niklas (ankle).

 

 

 

Darren Sproles (knee) is inactive for Sunday's Week 8 game at Arizona.

 

Sproles would appear to have a good shot at returning for Week 9 as he got in limited practices each day this week. Talented Chris Polk will back up LeSean McCoy Sunday. The Eagles do get some good news as ILB Mychal Kendricks (calf) is active and starting.

 

The rest of their inactives: QB Matt Barkley, WR Brad Smith, DB Jaylen Watkins, C Jason Kelce, OL Dennis Kelly and DE Taylor Hart

 

 

 

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These teams put on a show. Last season's meeting was a good one, today was a nice game. Cardinals 6-1...

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These teams put on a show. Last season's meeting was a good one, today was a nice game. Cardinals 6-1...

Cards are really having a fine year. They're gonna be tough in the playoffs.

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The Cardinals are 6-1 and they're doing it against the best teams in the league...

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Fun game to watch. Obviously I wish the result were different, but I'll gladly take 5-2 after seven games. Also, call me sour grapes, but I don't think the Cardinals are as good as their 6-1 record suggests. This is probably because I don't think the Eagles are that good (being my usual pessimistic self), and therefore by association, Arizona beating Philly isn't that impressive to me. But we'll see.

 

 

One thing is for sure, Jeremy Maclin raped the shit out of Patrick Peterson. Anyone else want to put Peterson in their top 15 players in the league? :laugh:

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Maclin the gawd :rock:

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One thing is for sure, Jeremy Maclin raped the shit out of Patrick Peterson. Anyone else want to put Peterson in their top 15 players in the league? :laugh:

 

Always thought he wasn't as good as most thought.

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