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Eagles' game against Cardinals gets flexed to prime time

PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL did the Philadelphia Eagles no favors when the league decided to change the kickoff time of their game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Dec. 20 game, originally set for 1 p.m. ET, was moved to 8:30 p.m. That will give the Eagles another exposure on prime time -- on NBC’s "Sunday Night Football" broadcast -- but it will also give the Cardinals a little bit of an edge.

Teams traveling from West to East have a challenge. For the Cardinals, a 1 p.m. kickoff would feel like 10 a.m. to their body clocks.

Last year, the analytics website Sportsinsights.com found that West Coast teams did significantly worse as they traveled East. They won 68.8 percent of the time against the point spread in the Mountain time zone, 45.7 percent of the time in the Central time zone and 43.6 percent of the time in the Eastern time zone.

Considering that the Eagles are 5-7 and have lost three of their last four games, the earlier time might have leveled the playing field a little bit. The Cardinals are 10-2, including 6-1 on the road.

The Cardinals’ only road loss was in Pittsburgh, which is the furthest East Arizona has traveled for a game.

The Eagles have played the Cardinals in each of coach Chip Kelly’s seasons in Philadelphia. In 2013, the Eagles beat the Cardinals, 24-21, at Lincoln Financial Field. Last year, in Arizona, the Cardinals won, 24-20, when Carson Palmer threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to John Brown with 1:21 left in the fourth quarter.

The NFL flexed the Eagles-Cardinals game the day after the Eagles’ 35-28 upset of the New England Patriots. That win kept the Eagles alive in the NFC East race and clearly kept them relevant from the league's perspective.