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Containing The Enemy: DeAndre Hopkins

The Eagles will have another tough task ahead of them this week against the Arizona Cardinals. We did just see the Eagles offense beat up one of if not the best defense in the league in the New Orleans Saints. Their offense will need to put up points consistently on Sunday to help out their defense, who will be facing the high-powered Arizona offense. Kyler Murray is one of the best young and upcoming quarterbacks in the NFL. Murray is able to move the ball through the air and on the ground, and he has one of the best wide receivers in the game to throw to. This week, the Eagles defense will need to contain DeAndre Hopkins to secure a victory.

Hopkins is the Cardinals top target in the passing game and it’s not even close. When looking at the stats, Hopkins is at the top of the list in almost every receiving category. So far in 2020 he has recorded 94 receptions and the next closest on the roster is Chase Edmonds with 46. Hopkins has been targeted 127 times this season, nearly doubling the next highest player (Christian Kirk - 65 targets). Hopkins has 1,155 receiving yards; Kirk is next with 512. These stats show that Hopkins will be used at least twice as often as any other receiver on Sunday. The Murray-Hopkins connection is also known to connect on deep passes, as Hopkins has 14 20+ yard receptions this year.

For the Eagles to win this game, they will need to (try to) keep the ball away from Hopkins. Forcing Murray to move the ball around will help the Eagles defense out since the other receivers are not as utilized as Hopkins. Taking away Hopkins takes away half of the receiving yards on a weekly basis. The Eagles defense can handle guys like Christian Kirk and Dan Arnold if they are the primary targets.

The Eagles will be missing quite a few pieces of their secondary in this game, as Avonte Maddox and Cre'Von LeBlanc will both be out with injuries. Darius Slay is also banged up, so there is a chance that the top three cornerbacks in Arizona could be Nickell Robey-Coleman, Kevon Seymour, and practice squad call-up Jameson Houston. It wouldn't be wise to leave any of these cornerbacks man-to-man against Hopkins, so we should expect Jim Schwartz to use a lot of zone defense.

If the defense can make the Cardinals offense find other ways to move the ball and limit Hopkins' productivity, they will be in a great spot to win this critically important game.

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