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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Cardinals' defense getting greedy

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Pointing to turnovers as a key variable can be a cop-out in place of real analysis. Not so with the Eagles and Cardinals heading into their matchup in the NFC Championship Game.

The Cardinals turned six Carolina turnovers into 23 points in the divisional round. They picked off Jake Delhomme five times. A week earlier, they picked off Matt Ryan twice and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Arizona has 37 points off turnovers in the postseason.

During the regular season, the Cardinals led the NFL in opponents' fumble recoveries with 17, a sign that they hit hard, strip the football well and pounce on it when the ball is free. Two plays against the Panthers demonstrate this point:

Both turnovers came deep in Carolina territory. Both led to quick touchdowns for the Cardinals.

The Eagles are also opportunistic. Cornerback Asante Samuel has seven postseason interceptions, tied with Rodney Harrison for the most among active players. Philadelphia picked off Kurt Warner three times when the teams played in November.