Packers-Eagles Preview: Can Green Bay Keep Their Season Alive in Philly?
In the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Green Bay Packers enter Monday night’s game as a five point underdog. Since 2011’s 15-1 season, Green Bay has been an underdog 20 times (with tonight being the 21st), winning outright in just 4 contests.
Green Bay has rarely enjoyed their visits to Philadelphia. The Eagles were the only team to defeat Vince Lombardi’s Packers in a championship game – the 1960 NFL Championship Game – and Donovan McNabb’s miracle pass to Freddie Mitchell on 4th and 26 derailed a charmed 2003 playoff run.
This year, a stingy Eagles defense has allowed a league-low 9.5 points at home. They’re ranked as the best unit in the league by the Football Outsiders DVOA metric.
The Eagles defense is coached by former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. After leaving Detroit, Schwartz joined Buffalo as defensive coordinator. In 2014, his defense held Rodgers to a 24.4 QBR and 2 interceptions in a 21-13 Bills win.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz leads a middling offense; Philadelphia has produced 24.1 points per game so far this season, good for 15th in the league. Wentz started hot but has cooled off considerably.
He looked like a polished pro for the first five weeks, but since then he’s been in the bottom third of starting quarterbacks:
- Games 1-5: 91 of 135 (67.41%), 1007 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT 103.5 passer rating
- Games 6-11: 134 of 221 (60.63%), 1332 yards, 4 TD, 6 INT, 72.4 passer rating
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is a familiar name to Packers fans. A backup quarterback to Brett Favre for seven years, Pederson left Green Bay for an opportunity to start for the Eagles in 1999. After his playing career ended in 2004, he spent seven years as an assistant under former Packers coach Andy Reid in both Philadelphia and Kansas City.
But enough negativity.
Tonight should mark the Packers debut of running back Christine Michael, claimed on waivers from the Seattle Seahawks last week. In the 2013 NFL Draft, Michael was selected one pick after Green Bay chose Eddie Lacy. Now, Michael will assume Lacy’s spot in the Packers backfield.
Last week’s game against Washington marked the return of tight end Jared Cook. The talented tight end notched just the fourth 100-yard performance of his career and the first in the past three seasons. With defenses rarely blitzing against Rodgers, Cook’s presence forced Washington to stop double-teaming both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson.
This post originally appeared on Acme Packing Company.