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Sunday, December 1, 2013
Three things to watch: Cardinals at Eagles

By Josh Weinfuss

TEMPE, Ariz. – Just like that, the Cardinals find themselves in a battle for the wild card with the Philadelphia Eagles. A win, and Arizona can put two games between them and Sunday’s foe – and a smile on Dallas’ face. A loss, however, ties Arizona and Philly at 7-5.

Here are three things to watch for Sunday:

Stats do lie: According to the numbers, the Eagles have the worst pass defense in the league, allowing 300 yards per game, but don’t listen to that, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.

“I would throw the statistics out with their defense,” he said. “They had a couple games early on in the season where they gave up a ton of yards and everything. The last month, they’ve been playing outstanding defense and if you just look at the last four games, they would probably be ranking in the middle of the league, not last. This is a very good defense.”

Arizona is averaging 245 receiving yards per game.

Cold punts: It’s been two years since Patrick Peterson last returned a punt for a touchdown and Sunday could be his next best shot. With chilly temperatures expected in Philly, the ball will be colder which means it won’t travel as far.

Peterson said it may help but he’s not expecting much. Arians said the Cardinals could use a return right about now.

“Yeah, we really do and no better time,” he said.

Arians also said the weather Sunday will dictate whether he uses Peterson and rookie Tyrann Mathieu together on punt returns.

No. 1 vs. No. 2: No, this isn’t the BCS. It’s the Eagles’ top-ranked rushing game against the Cardinals’ second-ranked rush defense.

Philadelphia is averaging 150.6 yards per game on the ground, just 0.4 more than No. 2 Washington, but the Cardinals are allowing just 81.3.